On 11/11/11, a masterpiece was released. There was a problem, though. I was leading our senior high fall retreat.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim was released for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC’s on that Sunday, and I had it pre-ordered. I had been eagerly awaiting Skyrim’s release for months. And yet, I didn’t start playing the game until this last December, over a year after its release.
There are several reasons why I waited thirteen months to play a game that I was thrilled to play.
1. I was working on the day it came out. I was so eager to play Skyrim on its release day, but I knew I couldn’t. So I had to accept the fact that I’d have to wait to play the game. After I accepted this, I lost the need to start the game immediately. Therefore, I wanted to wait for the right timing to start playing it.
2. The game is massive. This is why the timing of when I started the game mattered. I knew that once I started Skyrim, it would be the only video game I played for a matter of months if I wanted to play it to completion. So I had to make sure that I was finished with any shorter games I had already begun because I wouldn’t get back to them in quite a while.
As it turned out, I had several shorter games that I wanted to finish before starting Skyrim. So I tried to play through all of those before getting into it. However, I’ve been incredibly busy in the past year so I haven’t played as many games as I would like. It took my over a year to get through shorter games in my collection before I felt like I could start Skyrim.
Finally in December of 2012, I started to play Skyrim. And, as I had imagined, it is massive.
To walk from one side of the world to the other would probably take close to an hour, not that I would know because I’ve never done it. There are too many distractions along the way that I always get sidetracked.
An inviting bandit hideout here, a dragon chasing me through the woods there, or a person giving me an enticing quest to start just after I’ve eluded the dragon. Heck, I could spend a ton of time picking flowers and looking for various plants to use when mixing potions later on.
Bethesda has created an entire world with its own cultures, books, legends, and various architectural styles. One can easily get lost in the world of Skyrim for hours without advancing the main story at all.
In that past, I’ve loved this style of game. I still do, but I simply don’t have the time to immerse myself in this type of world like I used to.
In order to play through the majority of the quests in Skyrim, I would probably have to log between 100-150 hours of playing time. Playing an hour a day, (something that I often can’t do) it would take me five months to beat the game.
As intricate of a world Bethesda has created, the story of the Skyrim doesn’t compel me to spend that amount of time in it. I could play five other full-length, engaging games for that same amount of time.
Or better yet, I could play three different games and write another 30,000 words of my novel with the other 60 hours.
I never thought I would say this, but sometimes in a game, more isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s better to have a succinct, solid story.
In world where we have a finite amount of time and an almost infinite amount of ways to spend that time, it’s important to consider how certain activities make us feel.
Life is too short to play video games that aren’t compelling from start to finish, especially when they are 100+ hour games.
Where have you seen the idea that less is really more?