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The Curious Case of Bethesda's Skyrim

Skyrim. Many things come into mind when one says that word. Skyrim is many things. And most of them are beautiful ones.

But something that Skyrim absolutely nails is the feeling of a living, breathing world.

Where some people see a very long and addicting game, I see the closest representation of what I would call nature in a videogame.

Where some people see a map full of quests and dungeons to explore, I see a never-ending amount of places, people and nature to see and discover.

Where some people see only a game...

... I see the most rich and beautiful nature simulator in the digital arts.

As I write and type these words, and as you are reading the letters of my creation; I have a very specific and special song playing inside my head. This is a very special song I will talk about later on, but it's the very reason this blog decided to exist.

And as I continue these paragraphs I can't help but distract myself on thinking Skyrim's world is still flowing and carrying on. For, you see, once I exit Skyrim's world the world doesn't cease to exist there, but instead it keeps on living. I merely just stopped participating in it, but the world and people carry on without me.

The same as the moment I close my eyes and delve deep into my own dreams. The world just keeps on going, the people and towns as we speak are continuing its usual activities.

The world doesn't need my presence to carry on.

With or without me, the world keeps on going.

Just like real life.

If you've played, experienced or even seen TES V: Skyrim in action (outside buildings of course) we can agree Skyrim, no matter what platform version, is a technical marvel. The amount of detail is sometimes mind-blowing. May it be from the grass, to small rocks, to various types of bushes and flowers, to those beautiful particle effects coming from your magic spells; Skyrim is full of detail that sometimes I don't even notice. Or, from so many detail and things going on, manage to notice later on.

For me, it is clear that the thing I most love from Skyrim is exploring the nature surrounding it. I don't like and don't want to enter into boring-looking dungeons. I want to keep getting marveled at Skyrim's enormous map full of all kinds of different flora and fauna. There's just so much variety of both of them (although some fauna can be quite creepy) all around the world, and while some are found underground and not everyone will be able to marvel at them, Skyrim is what I would call a the most living world in the history of videogames to date.

I wouldn't want to think about how much time was put into the outside world of Skyrim, or even less how much it cost to do so.  Even the normal blizzards found on some parts of the map, although I'm marveled from them, it just makes me want to think how deep the budget bucket had to be for this game. That bucket must have been quite bottom-less.

For instance, GTA IV, one of my favorite games of all-time; featured to that date the most realistic, breathing-living world in a videogame. The amount and attention to the streets and pedestrians was shocking. The graphics back in the day were amazing, (makes me so sad how ugly the game can look now sometimes) The city didn't felt like a place, but that of as a character. You wouldn't toy in it in quite the same sadistic way, you'd live in it.

But I have gone off-topic here, what I wanted to mention is that GTA IV's development costs were above 100 million dollars (!) Leaves you thinking when seeing Skyrim how much money must have gone into it. Of course, Bethesda must be sitting in a mountain of money as we speak. The game must have sold incredibly well. The game was a verified success.

But -gah- I have deviated from the main topic.

Skyrim's world has its own characters, too. All with their own houses, activities, jobs, families, couples, sons, etc. They feel quite alive for sure. This aspect only adds to Skyrim's overall magical feeling of exploration. Of taking part in a world where itself convinces you that it's not that far away from reality. That it shares so many similarities and applies them in such a convincing and magnificent way that Skyrim feels like another living world. 

As we speak, my Skyrim world; yes mine, is continuing its daily activities. The citizens, the animals, the monsters, the necromancers and vampires waiting to be decapitated my unbelievably good One-handed skills. Every player's Skyrim world is different, and feels different too. The way they explore, the paths they take, the people they meet, the ones they they talk to, the ones they decide to help and the ones they simply ignore. This has been said hundreds of times before but, no Skyrim world, character or playthrough come even close of being similar.

Skyrim is still full of experiences yet to be encountered. For everyone.

The world is so expansive and big I simply cannot believe someone has already explored and completed everything. Talked to every single person in all of Skyrim? Including those in dungeons, caves or campfires around the nature, too? Yeah, right. Skyrim feels like a never-ending game that will keep surprising players. And I believe, just like with Fallout 3, I will never get to visit or see every single thing in the game's map. It takes truly a dedicated in-game explorer to visit all the possible places in Bethesda's games.

That Special Feeling

Skyrim may have had a side-effect or impact on my every day routine for me.

I have to say the things I've seen around Skyrim are really memorable. From the nature itself to the music. It's all something that has glued to my gamer mind. Permanently.

One of the most recalled memories I have from Skyrim in my initial hours is my discovery of the game's own Auroras. Those colorful and beautiful light spectacles going on on the arctic regions of our world are present in our Skyrim.  I have to say, from all kinds of different natural phenomena that I know; I didn't expect those beautiful blue-ish and greenish light shows to appear in my Skyrim travels.

A sunny day in Skyrim, or the greatly detailed clouds splashed all over the sky also form part of my Skyrim visual memories. And this is where the funny and curious thing comes in.

The natural phenomenons in Skyrim seem so real and feel so real that when I look up to the sky, in real life, I'm not only remembered of Skyrim's beautiful natural spectacles, but I can't always seem to find a big difference in both. You see, Bethesda achieved such a detail in their game that I have stopped differentiating between real life and, what I would call Skyrim, virtual life. Now I am performing such a transcendental action.

I no longer differentiate between both vistas.

But I compare.

And yet,

I confuse.

Now easy there. I'm not exactly saying Skyrim has bucked up my cognitive abilities to differentiate between what's real and what's not.


Skyrim's world achieved such a magnificent and gorgeous natural status that when I look up to the sky, may it be day or night, while seated on my car one word instantly comes to mind. As if it were a reminder of some sorts. I look up and think: Skyrim.

Skyrim left such an impact on me that now I can recall places, memories and vistas from the game in our own reality.


Quite creepy actually. When you think about what the future technology in games will be able to provide us, and the way Bethesda will put it into use, and mentioning how Skyrim is already amazing-looking, well; it is f*cking creepy.

The Happiest Memory in the World

Now unto that song I mentioned early in the introduction.

There's this certain memory. This certain event that happened to me in Skyrim. One that was so beautiful and yet so powerful that I haven't been able to forget it. I can remember it with exactitude. Both visually and audibly. And the beginning seconds of the song have become also my favorite in all of Skyrim's soundtrack. And also one of my favorite soundtracks in a game.

It was my 2nd day in Skyrim. I can't exactly remember where I was headed. But it doesn't matter.

I'm alone at night. Both in the game and in my house, for everyone in my house was already asleep. It almost seemed like the time in both circumstances were exact.

No sound at all on my house. No barking from my neighbor's dogs. No car sounds. Nothing. Just the sound coming out from my TV. The volume is in a decently put spot.

And then it started.

That one song began.

And as it begin to marvel my ears and invade all of my silenced room.

I look up.

My first Aurora Borealis is present there. As I'm slowly amazed and marveled, I turn my sight in-game to the front. I see I'm entering a forest.

And suddenly, leaves start shedding from the trees and are being carried away by the calm and serene wind.

They are coming towards my face.

I turn my sight to the right as I hear some steps on the grass. It's a deer passing by as I'm walking. He turns his head towards me but he keeps walking without any worry. And then I turn up again, I see her.

It's the first time I see her and she's wrapped in all of her glory.

The Moon.

And then they all left.

The night, the stars, the aurora, the leaves, the moon and the deer.

No trace of any of them. It's a complete different environment now.

In a snap,

It all ended.

All of this happened in a matter of seconds.

And ended in the same time.

I don't know why, but that's my most cherished and precious personal memory from Skyrim so far. No other moment has come even close to that one.

It was such a perfect chain of events. So unique. I feel like if I had just experienced Skyrim's peak.

Like if that certain chain of events was the most beautiful things I could experience from the game.

It was perfect.

And it's true. No other moment has come close of that one night alone in the woods. And alone in my room.

It was all so perfect.

Masser & Secunda

Whatever you do in the following months, and whether you are or not a TES fan, and if you consider yourself a gamer or even consider gaming as more than just a passtime,

Skyrim is an obligation.

I, myself, am not a TES fan. I know very little of its universe and lore. But that didn't stop me from immensely enjoying Skyrim.

Be warned, though. The moment you get Skyrim, the way you see videogames will be changed. Forever.

Skyrim is one of those games that paying more than 300 dollars for it would still feel worth it. Because it's just that great.

Once you delve into Skyrim prepare for a chain of beautiful feelings. What makes Skyrim is its world. The feelings you get from it are just indescribable. The breathtaking beauty of the world of Skyrim will hit you. Hard. Like no other game has ever done before.

Because Skyrim is more than just a video game.

It's more than just an experience.

Skyrim is the closest thing to a second life.