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Small Scale Adventuring in a Big Game

Something occurs to me this morning as I am busy with a hundred and ten things. Games such as Skyrim have a major bonus win over many of the other games out there. When you build a character in Skyrim and send them off on an adventure, you can go for hours, even days, adventuring across the vast landscape of the game world. Or… you can walk 5 minutes down the road and pause the game for hours or even days.

I have fallen back on playing Skyrim a lot the past few days, but I have only actually played it a very little bit. In five days my character has walked from his home in Falkreath up to the gold mine outside Markarth and cleared one small dungeon along the way. This is probably a 4 hour walk in game time, but it has taken me 5 real world days to get my character from Lakeview Manor to Markarth. Why? Because I am too busy to play the game. I play for a few minutes while I am eating lunch or dinner, then pause the game. I might sit down for a 5 minute break and in that time I sort my character’s inventory to see what they can trade off with Vilkas (their current traveling companion) and see if the items found in the last surprise encounter might be better than what they are currently using.

And if I make it through the next couple of months and get to where I can sit and spend a few hours before bedtime actually playing the game, then I know there is a lot of world out there to explore. So, thank you, Bethesda, for creating the perfect at-home mini game rather you knew you were doing it or not. Skyrim has all the features of the full-scale RPG game it is, but it also, blessedly, has all the short term entertainment value of smartphone mini-games that make such games perfect for playing while waiting for appointments or riding a bus or whatever. Skyrim is perfect for the busy gamer at home who only has a few minutes at a time to sit down and game. Very well done Bethesda.

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