When Skyrim first came out, I knew nothing about it because I was really new into gaming at that time. I was able to play it a bit on Ian’s Xbox, but I didn’t like it because I’d never used a controller up until that point. I found the interface and controls confusing and frustrating, and I made the mistake of trying to kill an annoying brat in the first town. The townspeople did NOT like that, and I had to leave the town forever. Ian explained to me that you can’t kill kids because it gives the game an AO (Adults Only) rating, which is the kiss of death in the video game industry. He thought it was hilarious that I tried to kill the kid, but in my defense, the kid was fucking annoying. Anyway, while I liked the world of the game–I’ve always been more fantasy than scifi–and the trailers drew me in (the link is to the live action trailer, which is incredible. The official trailer is below. I watched the ‘FUS RO DAH’ part of it hundreds of times. The Dragonborn trailer is pretty epic, too. The music in the game is so stirring. Here is Lindsey Stirling playing it on violin while cosplaying), the gameplay on Xbox was a barrier to me actually playing it.
I shrugged and set it aside. There were so many other games to play, why get hung up on one? Admittedly, it was showered with accolades across the board, but still. I also didn’t want to have to kill dragons*, which is a pretty hefty part of the game.Fast-forward five years and countless games later. Imagine me sitting in front of my computer, feeling a bit lost because I’d just put in probably close to a hundred hours into The Witcher 3** and was looking for my next epic open-world adventure. At this point, I’d played Dark Souls (and beaten it. My biggest video game triumph to date.) and The Witcher 3 with controller, so that was no longer an obstacle to me enjoying games I wouldn’t have played before. I tried a few games, but none of them stuck. I stayed obsessed with Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (and then Afterbirth), but I needed an RPG to scratch my wanderlust itch. I looked over my pile of shame and my eye kept landing on Skyrim. I loved the world, and I now had experience with a controller, plus I had faster internet and a newish desktop PC that could run The Witcher 3 with ease, so why the hell not? I had played an hour or so of Oblivion in the meantime, but it was too unwieldy for me to handle. Still, something about Skyrim intrigued me, and I decided to try it again.
I installed Skyrim and created my character. As usual, I chose to be a Dark Elf, female, and a magic caster. I named my character Mulan because I always name my characters Mulan, and I was off and running. I started using keyboard/mouse, then I tried it with controller, and I felt like the former was a better fit for me. Even though I’m more comfortable with a controller these days, every game has a different setup for its buttons, and while keyboard/mouse commands aren’t always the same, you can usually rebind those. By the way, whomever at Bethesda decided that the left hand should be controlled by the Escape key and the systems menu should be mapped to the Mouse 2 (right click) button should be demoted. That is the most counter-intuitive shit in the world, and I quickly changed that to left hand being M1, right hand being M2, and Escape being the systems menu like every other goddamn game in the world. I started on Apprentice (the second easiest mode), but quickly changed to Adept (third easiest) after I killed a dragon without it even touching me. I may bump it up to Expert, but I don’t really want stressful combat as I’m exploring the wintry realms of Skyrim, so I may keep it on Adept.