January 7, 2013

I inadvertently became acquainted with the popular skyrim video game roundabout the year-switching period. That is not the primary excuse for my continued infrequent, excuse-filled updates; I was in an unusual place and trying to complete an unusual drawing that could ideally become a useful update and so had difficulty being productive all around.
I have not forsworn any “low-tech” principles in playing the Skyrim video game; that never was a “principle,” that I played old timey video games. I just did not find the widely advertised new ones at all enticing and could not justify the purchase of a modern game system based on the price, the amount of games I had the faintest interest in or the free time I had.

My non-interest was validated when I had a chance to play the also popular Portal last year and found it wholly underwhelming. Nothing could be done to make the control feel natural to me and I couldn’t help becoming aware of all the bland, internet running non-gags that must have been inspired by it. It seemed like a never-ending tutorial session for a “real” mission that never showed up. That I still couldn’t win did not inspire me to draw many pink cubes in non-portally contexts.

By chance, somebody else at the unusual location happened to come into possession of just such electronic devices amitz my visit but did not exclusively use them in the periods when I also might have, and after observing a bit I deduced that Skrymy was mostly unlike Portal and that I might take an opportunity to see how it went. The control was just as unfortunate; I am hopeless at blocking enemy attacks and am likewise offensively impotent against any foe that attempts to block attacks and from whom I cannot cowardly run away and then turn around to start throwing stuff at once they get tired of following. Fortunately, there is still plenty for a deficient player to do, and without feeling like “I guess I’m decrepit! My future shall contain naught but jewel-matching and bird flinging.”
Undoubtedly Skyrimpf has its own share of dreadful memes, but having gradually re-outcast myself in the two years on either end of its release, I avoided becoming aware of them. I have no friends, but I have a tolerable high profile and recent video game. Or I did for a few days. That is likely all I am owed.

I suspect the wide amount of visitable areas to visit in the game is nothing new; I remember the Ultimas I tried in past years were somewhat like that, though Ultima was deliberately, it seemed, hard to approach sometimes, and I never completed any of them. You could go anywhere you pleased, but figuring out just who needed your help, and who you could help at your initial power level was even a matter of guessing. S’krim has none of that; any direction you go in, for a long time, there is something to be done that you are fully capable of doing. I imagine the homogenous medieval environments and total lack of whimsy common to the “serious” western approach to fantasy and video games would irritate me after a while, but it did not occur soon enough and I am sad to say I spent rather too long fiddling with this thing.
I do prefer medieval homogeneity to the modern society homogeneity of grand theft auto types, in which no creature or structure is going to appear that does not exist in contemporary reality. I would rather battle boring old skeletons than really boring new street gangs. Neither group is interested in making friends.

In attempting to write a brief digression I realized I have a complicated, peculiar and sometimes painful relationship with Ultima, and the digression began looking to do the same thing to this post as the games did to me, which is totally contrary to my point that my experience with Skyrim was comparatively pleasant. It remains approachable despite being the fifth game in its series, whereas Ultima was an illogical mess from beginning to end whose ability to endure so long defies basic logic, so really we are not so different.

However, my life does not make a good video game! I am glad to know at last that I needn’t necessarily experience American role-playing games in terror.

Peculiar, but not painful, is to what degree being able to choose to play as a stupid lizardoid enhances my feeling of involvement in the thing. it is likewise peculiar to have most other characters not notice that it is a lizard, and be immediately able to tell if it is male or female and choose all the corresponding words, like man or woman, him or her, even though the male and female lizard-folk look almost exactly the same, and be they male or female they are hardly women or men. They are some things that nobody bothered to make a word for. Citizens of the land are literally more concerned that the beast is wearing leather armor than that it has a tail and the head of a snake. Nobody says oh yikes a lizard! I’m getting out of here! Intermittently, an incidental bit of dialog acknowledges that it is one, but nothing important, from what I have seen. The presence of such beings may seem to contradict my remark about a lack of whimsicality, and maybe that is why everybody works so hard to pretend it is normal. They NEED to accept this to maintain order.

All these tough guys who look like Triple-H and Boromir and won’t shut up about mead are totally comfortable being around the ludicrous reptiles despite my not having encountered another after investing more hours than I would like to think into the expedition. Even the natural environment is bafflingly tolerant; the stupid tail should be knocking things over and making noise all over the place. Why do lizard-folk start with extra “sneak” points? Anybody should notice one of those is coming and challenge its freedom to do so. Although I did make sure to give it the smallest and wimpiest-looking body possible, I also arranged for the nose to be of maximum length, and the tail size is non-negotiable. Even with an acknowledged local dragon attack problem, nobody in Skyrim-land accuses the lizard of being in collusion with them, which you know as well as I do real people eagerly would. This remains the case even if it breaks into someone’s house or starts attacking people (it always loses, of course). The worst punishment is having to pay a fine, and probably less money than the crumbum stole, and then all is immediately forgiven. There is no lasting stigma or notoriety. Although, also unlike Ultima, the game explicitly identifies which items people will have a problem with me stealing. Evidently potato theft is legal so long as it occurs outside.

I like that mistakes, apart from crime, are not heavily penalized, though. I hate when something like Breath of Fire 2 lets me make a seemingly unimportant decision with a permanent effect that I couldn’t possibly have guessed and that I don’t realize until later. I don’t want to go through half this stupid game again the exact same way just so I don’t invite the wrong dork to live in my treehouse village* because I didn’t realize he was the wrong dork and that I would not be able to invite additional dorks or evict the ones filling the space. Skyrim, and presumably others of its type, seem to have enough things to do multiple ways that additional playthroughs would be probable whatever the case, so this is not as big a factor. All the same I’m not looking to acquire more of them or devote my life to them (I am no longer visiting and no longer have access to the game, in fract), since I would never truly be able to finish, either. I am here to make peace, not love.
*2-24-2019 edit: I recently learned that even choosing the tree house village over the boringer regular house village condemns you to less-than-ideal circumstances for no reason that should logically follow from that decision

My mother claimed to have predicted that I would play as a lizard. However, I predicted that she would claim to have predicted that and decided against defying fate on this occasion.

I do not “relate” to lizards. I do not think I am one. This questionabloid does many things that I would not, such as stealing potatoes out of barrels and peoples’ gardens or selling valuable potatoes. Two other people sharing the residence at the time I visited had also played the game, and neither had chosen to be a lizard. I liked the idea of nobody wanting to be one. The perceived lack of appeal made it appealing. The truth is that I relate to things that have no business being on the premises.

Unless an unapproachable, affluent entity paid for it to be there out of spite.

Or whatever this is. Specifically, what it is, that is; I can place it in a general category of “things that should not be here.” I prefer to place it out of my sight.

4 Responses
  1. 1
    9:31 am, January 8, 2013

    PurpleSpace sez:

    I am curious to know what name you gave to your potato-thieving lizard?

  2. 2
    1:36 pm, January 8, 2013

    Heapinfrimp sez:

    I believe it was Germerduwurugu or something with the same approximate matching of vowels to consonants.

  3. 3
    12:40 am, January 9, 2013

    Concerned NPC sez:

    But will Germerduwurugu become pantless?

  4. 4
    12:52 am, January 9, 2013

    Heapinfrimp sez:

    That might be one of the light armor perk bonuses but I didn’t advance enough levels to gain access to it. However, really without trying I discovered evidence of a “nude argonian patch” while looking for baffling fan-work on the deviantart website (the lizards are called argonians despite coming from a place called Blackmarsh).

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