The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

It's all about carrying spoons.

I’ve been what I would consider a gamer for about 28 years now. Considering that I’m 33, that’s… well, that’s a lifetime of gaming. I’ve played all genres, enjoying something from all of them. I’m beginning to think I might be losing my patience for some games, though… and Skyrim is a prime example.

I rented Skyrim instead of buying it, because most games are at least $60 and it was no exception. I have far too many games that I’ve purchased, played for an hour, and then shelved. I don’t necessarily have a collection as much as I have a bunch of regrets that will fit neatly into green DVD cases. Skyrim is the reason I reactivated my GameFly account, too. See, I knew I wanted to play it, but I didn’t know if I’d want to keep playing it. I’ve never played Oblivion, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into.

I popped the disc in, giddy that I got it so quickly after release. I first became bored as I was making a character. I honestly don’t remember a single thing about that section of the game, because I wanted to get right to the action. Loaded up, looked around, and I have to say — the game is amazingly beautiful. This is one stunningly gorgeous game.

That’s… pretty much the nicest thing I can say.

I played for about an hour that first time, until I finally quit out of boredom. I’d read to expect a somewhat slow start, and I did, but that didn’t help to soothe the pain I was feeling. An hour into the game, and I was not a hero. I wasn’t much of anything. I had passed my time in the game picking up everything that I could find. It’s a problem I have, I’ll admit… I never know when I might need something, you see. I did the same thing in Fallout 3 and apparently it’s just one of those OCD things that I do. I’ve never actually be diagnosed with OCD, but… come on, who else picked up everything they could? If you did, please let me know… we might need to start a support group.

I resolved after that first hour that I was done. No more Skyrim for me. It just wasn’t my kind of game. The internet had other plans, though; everything I read had something to do with what a great game everyone thought it was. If it wasn’t a legit news story it was a meme about getting an arrow to the knee. Skyrim was inescapable. I thought to myself that maybe I just didn’t give it enough time. I decided to try it again… to give it one more try.

It was no use.

I was no badass… I was running around with the contents of a pantry.

 Fear the mighty warrior, armed with a massive array of vegetables, spoons, and  bowls!

I never even killed a dragon, which I’m given to understand at some point becomes such a regular occurrence that it’s not even a big deal anymore, it’s just a thing you do – the Skyrim equivalent of checking your Twitter feed.

As bad as it sounds, I’m thinking that I might have to turn in my gamer card. I seem to be the person that didn’t think that the game was a shred of fun. I keep reading and being told “You have to wait! It gets really good!” Hmm. How can I put this? Fuck that. I play games to have entertaining experiences, and as a husband and father, I don’t have all weekend to play Skyrim and eat pizza rolls. I gots shit to do, you know? I can stand for a movie to take a little while to get started; we’re talking about a 2-3 hour experience, there. I played Skyrim for a total of just over 2 hours and managed to A) kill a chicken and have an entire village come down on me with the wrath of Old Testament God, and B) not give a single shit about anything they wanted me to do in the game.

Am I doing it wrong? I feel like I must have been. It seems to me that if every other gamer in the world is enamored with this game to the point that it must be something that I didn’t get. I’ve since returned the game and have been send Portal 2, which is — I’ll just ballpark this figure here — roughly 6,000 times more enjoyable. I still have that nagging feeling that I didn’t give it enough time. That I should have cheerfully waded through the boring as hell beginning, somehow earning the right to access content that was fun. I thought about it so much that I’ve considered ordering the game from Amazon, so that I’d force myself to play it.

So what am I missing here? If you’ve played Skyrim and enjoyed it, please feel free to key me in on what it is that you found fun about the game, and how long you had to play it to reach that point. If you’re like me and didn’t think it was fun in the slightest, let me know… because I think I’m the only person on Earth that feels that way!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Round 1)

World of Warcraft


I’m lucky enough to get two weeks of vacation a year, and this week was one of them. Right now I’m trying to put that in perspective, and think about not only how awesome it is that I get two weeks of vacation each year but also that I have a job. Kind of a big deal in grown-up land. I know the question you’re asking now. “Interesting man, what did you do with this mountain of free time that the fates saw fit to perch you atop?”

Well, since you’ve twisted my arm, I’ll tell you.

The first thing I need to get off my chest is somewhat of a confession. Until recently, I was a pretty avid World of Warcraft player. I’d played for years, put a lot of time into it, so on and so forth. When the Small Boy came into being, his mother and I both realized that we wouldn’t have time to devote to the game anymore, in addition to the fact that it stopped being even remotely enjoyable to play. This is the first vacation time that I’ve taken in which the week wasn’t essentially one long day of playing that stupid game. If I had posted this a year ago, it would have been pretty short. “What did I do? Played Warcraft. The end.” Fortunately that’s not how this week went down.

One of the things I got accomplished was installing a subwoofer in my Jeep. I’m big into music, and I like the fact that subwoofers recreate sounds that you feel more than you hear. In the past I’ve had two 12″ subs in a very large speaker box with a very large amp. These days, I find that I don’t want my music to be as easy to enjoy if you’re not inside the vehicle. I installed an Infinity BassLink II instead, and I’ve been pretty happy with it so far. It’s small and performs exactly how I want. The bass doesn’t seem louder than the rest of the music; everything just sounds more balanced and full. It’s exactly what I was going for.

We hung some pictures in the house as well, which is a large step for us. You have to understand, my wife and I are both perfectionists in the worst possible sense. If we can’t visualize exactly how something will look, we don’t attempt it. We don’t buy decorative things very often, because we can’t look at an item and know exactly where it’ll go. It’s kind of a pain. As a result, most of the walls in our house are somewhat… well, beige. It’s a nice color and all, but one would think that hanging items in front of it would make it an even nicer color. So I finally got out way more tools than I actually needed to hang a picture (I am a man. Observe my tool collection.) and got some stuff up on the walls. It’s nowhere near done, but it’s a great step. It’s made me loosen up a bit about hanging things up, and I’m kind of looking forward to filling the walls up with things that represent us, both as a family and as individuals. Still need to find a shelf for my Spawn figures…

Of course some yard work was done, which is to be expected from vacation time. Between you and me, I’d pave the lawn and paint it green if she’d let me. 😉 There was also a fun family trip to Whole Foods, which is something we don’t get to do very often due it the closest one being about an hour away, but is always an enjoyable experience. We finished up Rock Band 3 and I played Skate 3 a bit. I meant to spend some time with L.A. Noire, but I just can’t get motivated to play it much more. It’s a nice-looking yet intensely dull game, L.A. Noire.

That was essentially how I spent my summer vacation.

Round two is coming up in a few weeks. I’m quite thankful that I’m in a place to take the time off to spend with my family. I know a lot of guys would kill to get that, and I’m going to do everything in my power to walk into work tomorrow with that fact in the back of my mind and to really appreciate the job I have.

A Week Without Warcraft

Hand I'm bored

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been a week now since I canceled my World of Warcraft account after almost 6 years of playing.

It’s been kind of a strange week.

I canceled my subscription because I realized that the game had become a crutch more than anything else. I didn’t enjoy playing anymore, it was just what I did. It was what there was to do when there was nothing else to do. I didn’t look forward to logging in, and I didn’t have much in mind to do when I did. The last expansion was fumbled horribly, and it lost the main component that one should look for in a video game, which is to say shit wasn’t fun. I simply haven’t been having a good experience with it lately. After leveling 5 characters to 85, I had seen all I wanted to of this brave new world, and trudged through the 80-85 content 4 more times than it deserved. The old world, the place that I kept coming back to because of the familiarity and memories, is gone. Guilds have gone into two camps: raiders and idiots. Not having the time or desire to raid and also not being an idiot, that leaves me with the “lone wolf” option, which, in a genre that explicitly states that it is massively multiplayer, doesn’t feel quite right.

Maybe I’ll be back next expansion.