Game Diary: Oblivion

That habit I’ve spoken of before of never finishing games, never has it been more prevalent than with games made by Bethesda.  Evidence for the prosecution items #1 and #2, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  As you might except, most sane people leave out the pre-colon part of the title.

(And, yes, it’s true that I have finished Fallout 3, another Bethesda game, but I have no excuse for that.  Possible reasons: A) It was released after I had my change of dedication; B) In general, Fallout 3’s world seems much smaller and, therefore, much less daunting to explore; C) Creatures are easier to defeat and quests are easier to complete – and keep track of completing;  & D) It takes places in the world of Fallout which has always been my favorite post-apocalyptic pseudo-fifties environment.

So perhaps I do have excuses.)

Here’s a sense of Oblivion.


That guy has some attitude, no?

Granted, that’s not a screenshot from the game, and perhaps that’s why he’s annoyed.  Instead of playing a part in the cinematic wonder that is Oblivion, instead he has to model for some destktop wallpaper.

But, back to the issue at hand (sorry Damon Knight), which is my return to playing these Bethesda games.  Actually, I’ve never even tried to handle Oblivion before figuring that I should complete Morrowind first.  Ah, but here’s the deciding factor.

Megan has played Morrowind, and she’s beaten it.

We thought it would be fun to have us play through Oblivion together, so we bought a copy of Oblivion for the Xbox so that we can play simultaneously.  Which is what we did most of last night (besides watching Conan the Barbarian).

This experience is significantly different from playing a game through with a person, where you have one shared computer and you switch off the person who is actively controlling.  That method worked well for Resident Evil (where the experience was in the fear) and with Thief (at least when I was playing with Bryan) and with virtually any point-and-click adventure game.

The problem with Oblivion and its ilk is that so much of the game is combat and/or running around so that the person whose not playing simply gets to wow at the beautiful scenery.  But with both of us playing, even though we aren’t watching each other’s game, we hear what the other person is doing through the open door and talk, constantly, about our experiences and annoyances while playing.

So that’s the deal.  For the next few weeks or months or however long it takes, we’ll be working our way through Oblivion and, every once in a while, you’ll get an update here on the philosophies inherent in playing games, the differences in writing stories for an open-world environment, or anything else I can think of that’s not simply a rehash of the gaming experience.

Hmm… hash.  I think it’s time for breakfast.

Rehashed hash, anyone?

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