Whoa, what?! Surely that can’t be right!
*rubs eyes and looks again*
Good gravy, it’s true! The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is 10 YEARS OLD as of today! Where did the time go?! (Hint: a lot of it to playing Skyrim :P) I’ve long espoused Skyrim as being my favorite game of all time. While it’s predecessor TES IV: Oblivion is what truly addicted me to the series, it was Skyrim that took it the extra mile and made it a necessity of my gaming time even up to the present year.
I remember the intense lead-up to Skyrim’s release after its initial announcement at the end of 2010. While there wasn’t much revealed at the time, Bethesda Game Studios released a short series of video walkthroughs the following summer that showcased the gameplay and elements that players could expect from this new game. Dragons?! Dual-wielding weapons and magic?! A fantastic, gritty world inspired by Scandinavian mythology?! I devoured the footage like a Thanksgiving feast. And then again. And then once more. In truth, I lost count of how many times I watched those videos. It was often enough to be embarrassed, yet not enough to make me stop.
Up to that year of my life, I had never attended a midnight game release- the celebration of a new adventure brewed up and ready to experience fresh from the cauldron. Skyrim changed that. I joined ranks alongside many floormates from my first two years of college, and we swapped excitement for our coming journeys in the cold autumn air, huddled outside our local GameStop. The anticipation was palpable. And once the chime struck midnight, we flowed like a river to claim what was ours. It was a speedy drive home.
I doubt that a full minute elapsed from the time I opened my apartment door to the time that disc was pulled into my Xbox 360. Yes, it was well past midnight. And yes, it was even a school night with a test the very next day. But I had accounted for this and studied well ahead of time. Not even college was going to impede my inaugural night with Skyrim. In hindsight, perhaps not my finest moment…
But I couldn’t help myself.
From that first cart ride into Helgen, I became a permanent resident of the cold north. My starting character was a Nord Warrior- the obvious choice for my first foray into this dangerous land. I spent the entire night exploring the forests of Riverwood, delving into the caves and ruins near Whiterun, setting my feet firmly within the ranks of The Companions, and learning my first Thu’um of the ancient Dragon language. Before the sun had risen and bid me actually go to my 8 a.m. class that day, I had already secured myself a Skyforge Greatsword and a full set of Wolf Armor.
I left my apartment with nearly 8 hours of play time under my belt and not a wink of sleep to be had, and on the morning of that tough Sociology test. I could barely keep my head up as I sat in my first class that day, and then I went on to take that fearsome test- as terrifying as the fire-breathing dragon Mirmulnir I had slain just hours before! Once that ordeal was behind me, I ran back to my apartment and eagerly dove back into Skyrim until sleep forced me to close my eyes later that night. I would also point out at this time that I ended up scoring a 98% on that Sociology test 😉
Those first hours in the land of Skyrim captured my heart in a way that no other game has managed to since. Anders, that first Nord Warrior, was only the first tale of dozens I would go on to create over the ensuing years- characters from each of the ten races and every play-style imaginable. Even in 2021, I still craft new files and characters and stories to journey back into this frozen land of myth. I still listen to it’s incredible soundtrack nearly every week, and I was lucky enough to find the full thing on vinyl record as well. I’ve purchased the game on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Switch, and will likely eventually get the Anniversary Edition that launches today with all the DLC and previous Creation Club content.
I simply cannot get enough of Skyrim.
Perhaps there are better games. Maybe there are adventures out there with better graphics, better combat, etc. But none of them hold the same magic to me as this ancient tale of heroes and dragons.
Watch the skies, traveler.