Skyrim. It's a beautiful game, both in audio and visuals...and in gameplay. The opening soundtrack is a harmonious piece reminiscent of the classical odes sang in the Lord of the Rings series. The control scheme is simple enough and the splash / interface screens are more than adequate. The character generator is robust, offering a plethora of options to customize your character's appearance. Within the first few moments of the game you realize why it earns a mature rating. Let's just say heads will roll. The scope of the world is breathtaking, with wonderfully crafted towns and convincing landscapes. Combat is straightforward and offers quite the armory of ranged weapons, melee weapons and magical powers. Finish your opponent off and you are often treated with a short cut scene depicting the final blow.

There are giants, powerful and foreboding beasts that you're probably better off avoiding, especially at lower levels. Perhaps the best part of the game...dragons. Wonderful creatures, dragons are. Although I've only encountered them a few times, they are incorporated into the game such that when you see them it is truly a "shock and awe" moment. Seeing one late at night, flying through the star studded black sky...all quite the magical experience. Even though the game doesn't seem to incorporate it, I almost feel the dragon fear set in each time I see them, as I just want to sit there with a stunned look of disbelief. There are so many different characters roaming the villages and country side, each uniquely different in appearance and dialogue (at least so far). It is truly, beyond a shadow of doubt, a remarkable game, and as mentioned in a previous blog, a contender for Game of the Year.

So, why does the title suggest that I hate it? Well, perhaps "hate" is a bit too harsh, but certainly having played or watched family members play the game, I had a revelation why I'm not as mesmerized by Skyrim and games like it. In fact, it might actually help to explain why I like some genres more than others, or ultimately, why any gamer prefers one genre over another.

I'm not what you might call...a very social person. I manage a fair amount of people at work which satisfies any "interaction with the same species" requirement that may exist. Otherwise, I pretty much keep to myself and my family. With the exception of a few people I chat with online, (like some of you all on Twitter) I don't talk with a lot of people...and I'm fine with that. Talking with people often leads to personal drama or worse, that friendly little competition that never feels all that friendly.

Now, whenever you admit you don't like talking to people, many would assume it's because you're an introvert or shy or there is some other mental disorder or condition that precludes you from wanting to participate in normal human interaction. Not me. I do it all day long in my line of work. But in my off time, I'm just a very reserved and private person. A man of few words. I don't want to talk to real people and I certainly don't want to talk to video game characters. I'd much prefer to shoot them, or at least shoot at them.

Anyway, back to Skyrim...

To truly appreciate Skyrim, you almost have to carry on conversations with the denizens inhabiting the world of Skyrim. And not just a simple, "Hello, How are you, Yes I will go on your quest" conversation. It's more like, how long do you want to talk to me before you finally just pick the option that abruptly ends the conversation. A lot of time, energy and creative writing went into the dialogue; that much is obvious. One little boy who was getting bullied by a slightly older girl prattled on and on and on after I intervened in the situation. Apparently you run into him several times, and each time he is whining about something. That might seem a bit harsh, and I agree it probably is.

But this component of the game is why I don't enjoy games like this, and probably why I like the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre. Some say the FPS genre is for simple minded unintelligent gamers because that's all you have to do is shoot stuff. Maybe that's true, maybe not. I don't know, but what I do know is we play games we like and I don't like sitting around having long winded conversations with video game characters...heck I don't even do that in real life.  I suppose you could argue I don't go around shooting anything that moves, so why am I interested in the FPS genre, to which I would respond, "If we ever have an alien invasion, zombie apocalypse or Russians invade the United States, you better bet the house that's what I'll be doing." I certainly wouldn't be trying to talk to them.

Now remember, I'm not faulting Skyrim (or other games) for this. I think it makes the game even more captivating and believable. As you recall, I have nothing but praise and admiration for the game and still think it is a solid contender for Game of the Year. Just because I might not like a particular feature or component of a game doesn't mean I can't think games that have it can incorporate it well. Such is the case with Skyrim. It's done very well, it's a great feature...but I'm just not a big fan of it. Less talk, more fight.

The dialogue and conversation pieces, both in content and audible representation are rather detailed and convincing; it is truly one of the best features of the game to immerse the player in the story.

To give another example, I love Mass Effect as much as the next. Science Fiction is right up my alley and Commander Shepard is a brilliant character. The Normandy is a beautiful ship. The whole series is one of my favorites. But I finished high school a while ago. My days of studying history, geography and astronomy are over. I appreciate the level of detail the developers programmed into the game, but seriously I can only scan so many planets and read their overview and mineral composition before I want to fire up the reactors of the Normandy until they are super critical and then lawn dart the ship into the nearest planet and make it look like Alderaan.

Don't even get me started on the dialogue in Mass Effect 2...more proof why I don't like to talk to people, real or otherwise. Through normal conversation, I tick Jack off to where she won't even talk to me anymore. Just sits there in the engineering spaces giving me attitude, telling me she doesn't want to talk. I'm the skipper of the biggest, baddest, best ship in space...I'm Commander Shepard...and YOU'RE going to give ME attitude. I don't think so, sweetheart. You're #### right I'm nominating you for the first assignment sure to result in your death. That decision was too easy. Then I have Kelly...oh sweet Kelly. Flirting with me, telling me she's going to baby sit my fish when I'm planet side...hinting that she's interested in me...and then giving me the cold shoulder. I'm sure there is a fraternization investigation pending once I finish saving the universe. Apparently we're just friends...that's all. Why won't she buzz me on the intercom?!?

"I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman." -Commander Shepard

Of course I'm mostly joking with this blog and stand behind Mass Effect and Skyrim as wonderful games, but it does call to question why gamers prefer a certain genre over others and the motivation behind this personal preference. Alas, that's a blog topic for another time.

Until then, it's game time.

Do I play Skyrim, and spend half my time volunteering for quests, OR...

Do I pick Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3 and save the country from impending doom as soon as the game loads...

Yeah...that's kinda what I thought too.