The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, A Boundless Fantasy World to Devour You Whole

Are you playing Skyrim right now? Approximately 66.7% of the humans I know are, right at this very instant. My copy was delivered at 9:04 am by a UPS employee darting furtively toward my front door. He clearly understood the gravity of the situation. After all, every RPG-minded gamer I’ve met has lost a sum total of three years of their life to previous Elder Scrolls games, and with good reason, I’d like to think.

For the uninitiated, Skyrim (out now for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC) is a sprawling role-playing epic that stays the course of its predecessor’s penchant for awe-inspiring vastness and wide open gameplay. While I missed the boat on every-single-other Elder Scrolls game due to being thrust into a gaming dark age of sorts, I’m not missing it this time around — hell or high water.

From the sound of it, and from the early buzz I heard while bopping around E3 in LA earlier this yearSkyrim pushes the bounds of gaming as we know it, peeling back the surface layer to reveal just what gaming can do as a medium for something more.

In Skyrim, this is accomplished through my personal number one gaming feeling: Open world exploration. At their finest, video games can rouse our slumbering imaginations, inspiring a kind of lust for the unknown that’s all too uncommon in our virtual day and age. You don’t merely play an amazing game — you tunnel right into the core of it, stake out a virtual outpost in your own imagination and make camp.

Joystiq really hits the nail on the head about this kind of transcendent gaming purity we’re talking about in their Skyrim review:

Whether or not you know it, that same wanderlust that whispered into the ears of your ancestors and led them into the forests, into the oceans, still calls out to you. In those moments when all seems at peace, all seems safe, it’s that persistent, ceaseless call of “Yes, but what else?”

This is the deepest, loveliest world ever created for a single player to explore, and one that no one should deny themselves. This is a game about following Emerson’s advice, leaving the trail and finding that the most powerful force on Earth or Tamriel isn’t fire or sword, but the ever-insistent desire to know what lies beyond.”

While I haven’t had a chance to dig into the game myself yet, you may have! (But if so, what are you doing reading this article?!) If you haven’t, or you still don’t know what the fuss is about, check out the goods below.

Are you playing Skyrim? If not, what’s been spinning in your tray this fall, so to speak?

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Taylor has written 136 articles for us.


  1. Started this game on PS3 the other day (it was a fine line between PS3 and PC, and I know a lot of people who opted for the better graphics on their computers!), and I am loving every minute of it. I was so worried about the PS3 controls, but they certainly are quite fluid for me.

    Who else is playing it goody-two-shoes, or at least trying not to get caught stealing anything? ;)

    • I find myself being guilt tripped by the red text too :/ Ah well, a Nord warrior goddess has no use for petty theft ^.^

    • Seeing how I’ve only been playing the game since Friday and I’ve already joined the thieves guild and Dark Brotherhood, er, not me.

      • when the dark brotherhood first tried to assassinate me i shat brix.

        even though i should have totally expected this given ive played other elder scrolls games…. SKYRIM MAKES IT SO MUCH SCARIER

  2. I love that there’s an article on Skyrim on Autostraddle. My room mate is currently playing it, but I want to wait till it starts snowing in NYC so I can justify hibernating in my apartment on weekend nights to play it.

    Also, I just finished Arkham City. Playing two games with wonderful virtual worlds to explore in the space of a month might be spoiling myself.

      • Arkham City was sensational. I though they did a great job of making Catwoman feel different to play as than Batman. The story left a little to be desired for Batman-aficionados though…

        Also, I lied. Just started Skyrim. Decided to be a Dark Elf.

  3. oh girl dont even get me started on this game. i haven’t even done the first main story quest becuase im too busy combining random shit at alchemy tables.

    What race are you guys playing as? I’m Altmer

      • That gave me a good laugh…

        My roommates has been raiding houses and staging elaborate crime scenes… So awesome :P

    • I’m Nording it. I know. Boring. I will probably run through as a Dark Elf to enjoy some more Magicka once I have worn out my warrior fists. :P

    • Bosmer female warrior with healing magic and a love for the bow, shield and axe.
      Don’t feel bad. I have been doing a ton of miscellaneous quests but also spending a lot of time smithing and hunting. I even hunt while running to my next quest area.

      I have no idea how much of the main quest is done. Dont even care lol

    • I am a Wood Elf who uses lots of destruction magic and war axes and I have been smithing a lot (Only up to Orcish so far). I am also a Companion, and people who have gone that route or read spoilers will know what that means. :)

      My boy is a cat and in trouble for stealing a horse. He is the Elder Scrolls fan, but I am liking this so far.

    • I’m a Nord, and a Companion to boot. Use enchanted swords with shields, heavy armor and smithing it up. I stole a horse when no one was looking, after I killed the only person around… BUT THAT’S THE ONLY EVIL THING I’VE DONE, I SWEAR

      • i apparenly have a 1000 gold bounty in a city for murdering someone even though i have no fucking clue when i murdered ANYONE other than bandits. FML. atleast im a rich bitch so i can pay em off anyways.

    • Shooting game number 2673 is quite fun, but I fail to see a 60$ worth of difference though. Sorry. :/ Still fun though.

    • You can alter them a great dealfrom the presets: take time to familiarise yourself with the numerous feature sliders, perhaps even try starting them all off in the middle. You can go back and forth between them all. Bethseda’s artists seem to favour exaggerated appearances and the elven races are obviously more unusual, but if you’re really dissatisfied why not try an Argonian/Raptor for something completely different?

  4. I fail at video games. I have no interest in any gaming consoles after the original NES. POV-type games (like first person shooter games) actually make me dizzy and motion sick.

    The only game I really play regularly is Kingdom of Loathing a free online game, which is both fun and hilarious! Any other Straddlers on KOL?

      • Yay! Do you have a clan yet? I’m in KOL Addicts and it’s a great clan. We have a full basement, a big clan stash and fun trivia games in chat every Friday!

  5. Thats really a great game indeed. I had a copy and started playing, and really enjoyed. But do you guys know that there is a Infinite money glitch in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. yes, it is. Check this out

  6. I need this game! Right now. On a non related note, I’m playing my ps2 again rather than my xbox 360 and I am so confused. Life is hard.

  7. Bah this sounds so fun! Open world exploration is awesome. But I can’t afford a video game console so I am going to slink off into a corner and play Lego Harry Potter for iPhone :3

    • For some reason I am absolutely terrible at any Lego game. Games on phones are seriously addictive though, once I had The Sims on my phone but then I dropped it and the game no longer works. Great times.

  8. Holy shit! I’m trying to shield my eyes from Skyrim until my copy finally gets here. Haha I was expecting an article here…

  9. Oh my. I had to take a break from it but will resume after this comment (seriously). Normally, I play rpgs on my PS3 but decided to get it on Xbox and so far the game has been pretty stable. My biggest fear was that I would experience horrible bugs like I did on FNV. So far, no issues like crashes, lagging or just plain weird things.

    I picked this up at a midnight launch Friday morning. Played for 7 hrs straight before work. Then resumed late Friday night and except for a brief sleep break, played till Sat night. It truly is like living in another world. I am a female Bosmer with a justifiable hatred for Imperials (they murdered my parents right in front of me). I have killed 4 dragons so far despite making it my character’s goal to avoid them at all cost – she is afraid of them.

    I loved Oblivion. 19hrs in – this game is much improved over Oblivion.

    1. Graphics-amazing
    2. Quests -interesting
    3. Dungeons – fun
    4. Loot – sweet (i am a loot packrat.)
    5. The World – astounding

    I have created a small backstory for my character. However, overall, I am letting the world determine what I do and when I do ot. Need to go now. Must return to Tamriel for my next adventure.

  10. I am in the deepest sadness. I’m also filled with a lot of rage.

    My Skyrim didn’t arrive on Friday – Amazon haven’t delivered it. I’ve basically spent the weekend moping and ranting and checking my mail. I’m pretty skint so I can’t afford to go buy it somewhere else now because Amazon already charged the price to my card. DAMNYOUAMAZON.


    My poor girlfriend doesn’t really know what to do to help – she even offered to not play World of Warcraft all weekend so as to not make me feel worse about my desperate plight. I’m a nerd in mourning!


      • I know right! I couldn’t deprive her of her beloved WoW though :) It would be against my geek rule of code to do so

        My Skyrim arrived yesterday (3 days late) – I spent 5 hours playing it last night after arriving in from work. Man, there’s SO much to do in it. Fantastic game

  11. I have traveled to my local store every day since Skyrim’s release and today was told 2 more days! Two more days! What am I supposed to till then! I’ve been playing LOTR War in the North but keep getting beaten down. Can’t move forward, can’t go back! My life’s in ruins. 42 more hours, 15 minutes but whose counting! ;-)

  12. I wish to be playing Skyrim…but I don’t have the money in my budget right now. sigh…I will just finish up my playthrough of Fallout New Vegas until I have some spare cash…

  13. I thought this game would be bad for my dedication to grad school, but I’ve never been more motivated to get my assignments done!

  14. FUS RO DAH!

    I’ve been waiting for this game since 2006. As soon as I got the text notification that it had been delivered on Friday, I wrapped up all my meetings real quick and hauled ass back home. I’ve only put in 8 hours because of silly “real world obligations” but come Thanksgiving break, it’s gonna be all dark elf spellsword, all the time.

    What races/play-styles are y’all going for?

  15. Is there something wrong with me if I bought Skyrim on two different platforms? I just played it on my PS3 when I went home for a visit for 10 hours and I’m about to put in the same work again on my PC. lol

    Does that make me a masochist?? :O

  16. Wow. The way that review described world exploration is the entire reason I play video games. It’s the reason I bike, run, travel, and pretty much live my life — to discover what is over the next horizon. Thanks for the article Taylor.

    Is anyone else eagerly awaiting Star Wars: The Old Republic? I’ve been able to resist video games for a few years now because of school, but I think I’m going to give in and buy a new laptop for this one. Both KOTOR games are pretty much my favorite of all time.

  17. Ooh, gorgeous. I was never really into the Elder Scrolls series, but I might take a look at Skyrim when it comes down in price a bit.

    Right now, I’m busy with Arkham City, and then I should be getting my copy of the MGS HD Collection in the mail this week (the limited edition set, because I’m a huge sucker for artbooks).

  18. I only own a Wii, so this weekend when everyone else I knew was holed up playing Skyrim I was playing the new Harry Potter Lego. I don’t really mind that all my friends disappeared though, they’ll have to put up with my vanishing act once the new Zelda comes out!

  19. I hate video games, I really do, sometimes sandbox games will catch me, but not for long. Spore was cool, I liked the sims. Anyway, my friends and roommates were really excited about the new elder scrolls game and it looked cool. my parents gave it to me for my birthday for some reason.
    I have completely fallen into it. I love this game! the game play is fluid and compelling and the story is strong. Tamriel is a complete world with politics and mythology. And Y’all you can read the books in game! that was what sold me. they took the time to write books for their game that have nothing to do with the game. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

  20. Skyrim has taken over my life. I’m spending waay to much time as a plucky Khajiit, Thieving for the Guild, Killing for the Brotherhood, and saving the world with my life partners and soulmates, Lydia and my Supple Ancient Nord Bow (not a euphemism, I swear)^.^

    It’s annoying you have to hack the console to marry her in game, since apparently it’s bugged at the moment.

    Also, Persona 2: Innocent Sin is coming soon, so I’ll probably be glued to my PSP as well!

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