Back in early December, Tracy Allvis gave me a six-month anniversary (semianniversary?) present - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for XBox360. Now, I had never played an Elder Scrolls game before. I had heard through various geeky channels that Skyrim was a massive, gorgeous fantasy RPG with insane customization and a nearly infinite world of places to go and things to do. I'd also heard it was thoroughly addictive. Tracy was told as much when she purchased the game for me, warned she would become a "Skyrim widow", one of many significant others of nerds who found more and more of their time spent in Skyrim (the name of the continent on which the game is set, as well as the subtitle of the game itself).
The rumors were right. This game is ENORMOUS, and it is extraordinarily addictive. While I am able to limit my play time enough to not shirk work or boyfriendly duties, I have nonetheless logged many, many hours of my free time into Skyrim in the past couple of months, and have really only done 1/4 to 1/3 of the things to do in this game. This is partially because of the sheer amount of stuff to do, but also because of the way the game gives you minimal prodding to do anything in particular. If I want to spend 20 minutes trying to glitch-hop my way up a mountain for no reason, the game lets me. If I want to run around stealing food items and cooking them into different food items, I can. What's that? Dragons are attacking and there's a civil war and the world is in jeopardy? Sorry, no time for that, I'm trying to catch this firefly now.
As part of the immense openness of the game, there are numerous NPC's with whom you can form various relationships. Including romantic relationships. In Skyrim, I am a married man. This is hilarious. Not because marriage is inherently hilarious (it's not), nor even because video game marriage is inherently hilarious (it is), but because this game's conception of romance is ludicrous. Here is my tale of hearts intertwining (photos are not screencaps of my actual game and characters, but rather shots pulled from the web that were close enough).
My wife is a merchant. I like her because she has red hair and is not racist to the cat people. When we met, she was having trouble finding mammoth tusks. I found her some mammoth tusks. From that point on, every time I saw her in town, she would flirt with me and/or buy Sleeping Tree Sap from me. Later, I bought a necklace at a church in a different town. The next time I spoke to her, while wearing the necklace, she pretty much immediately asked me if I wanted to ask her to marry me. Just like that. I went back to the other town, set up the ceremony, slept at an inn until it was time, and headed to the church.
|Ysolda, AKA the future Mrs. Remus the Breton|
It was time for the wedding. About 10 real-world minutes after the engagement. Which occurred after a grand total of probably 15 interactions, most of them business. Here is what I wore to the wedding:
|I spent hours crafting and enchanting this shit, like I'm gonna take it off for some WEDDING!|
|Darth Vader + Boobs = My Best Man|
|SAY "YICE" TO THE ICE!!! BEST MAN #2!!!|
|Death on four hooves|
Sometimes Frost died too, and I would reload and save him. But recently, the magical college in which I am enrolled went all wonky and the neighboring town was attacked by magic ghost comet things. I forgot I had left Frost in the town, and when I rushed back to fight these dudes, which were FAR harder to kill than they looked, I noticed like half of them weren't there in the town (I had to kill 10, 5 were unaccounted for). I followed my radar thing to the road out of town.
Frost was bravely, desperately fighting all 5 of them himself. It was a hopeless battle, and he fell. It had been way too long since my last save, so I finally opted to not reload to get him back. I was sad, and I mournfully avenged my loyal horse warrior by destroying the magic ghost comets with a vengeance. RIP Frost, you died as you lived: kicking the living shit out of bad guys.
Oh, but the messed up part? When I checked his corpse to make sure he was really gone, the game gave me the option of removing one horse hide from his inventory. "Where was he carrying a- oh, no. No way." I opted not to skin my horse friend. His body lies in state, frozen and ageless on the road out of Winterhold. I'll visit some time and try to set up a shrine of dropped belongings. This is what passes for respect for the dead in Skyrim.