Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I remember my avatar's last location. The sneaky Argonian still sits crouched in the shadows in some ancient dungeon, atop a walkway looking down at Draugr corpses I had quickly dispatched moments ago. That poor character has been waiting atop that stone path since New Year's day, over two months.
I never became bored of Skyrim per se. Sixty hours in, I was having a blast. It handily earned a place in my top three gaming experiences of the year, and even though I have since abandoned its majestic Nordic lands, I have no regrets about my decision. I love the expansive world, the massive sense of scale, the persistent sensation that although my character is dragonborn, she is still a small fish in a very large pond.
Unfortunately, this same sense of scale has made my eventual return daunting. I struggled so hard to narrow my narrative focus and engage in story lines to completion before moving on to new adventures. Even so, my memory has grown foggy and the idea of delving back into a jumble of story arcs is overwhelming. Before I left, I also had such grand plans. I was saving money to buy something big, maybe a new home somewhere, in some city I had researched beforehand. I was also investing in a certain skill tree and planned on upgrading ... blacksmithing was it? Or maybe enchanting? I think I had a system going...
I left for good reason. The holidays were ripe with gaming options, and I happily consumed a myriad of triple-A and indie games at my leisure. But the farther and farther I roamed from Skyrim, the harder I imagined my eventual return. I will play Skyrim again, to be sure, but when I do, I will have to commit myself again, devote another sixty hours into the experience, and who has that kind of time? Mass Effect 3 just hit store shelves today, and I have another galaxy to save. Soon, Journey will grab my attention, if I can even pull myself away from multiplayer gaming. I have failed. Skyrim's hero has abandoned her. I only hope absence makes the heart grow fonder.