Life to the Moment–Reading Slumps & Skyrim

Ugh! So I purchased a Nintendo Switch on Prime Day, mostly in anticipation for Let’s Go, Eevee. Yes, I am one of those. I play Pokemon Go every day. I admit I even plan lunches at restaurants with Poke stops so I can stock up on balls while eating. I spend most of our vacation time with my Go-tcha connected to my phone, so I can catch ‘em all day long. So when I saw a pretty good deal on the Switch, a memory card, and eShop credit, I finally made the jump. This was before the Pokemon Go bundles were announced, and while I wish I could have gotten one of those, I have spent so much time playing Skyrim that I accept that I will be stuck with a boring black Switch, instead of one with cute Pikachus and Eevees. I guess I can always decorate my Switch with stickers.

Other than Dance Dance Revolution, I haven’t played a console game in years. A decade, maybe. I thought I had successfully avoided the black hole of video games. I was an avid gamer until about 12 years ago. I have almost every console up to the PS2 and original XBox. I love handheld consoles, and even have a Neo Geo Pocket. I have an awesome video game collection, mostly RPGs, but for a while I thought I  had outgrown them. I didn’t have time to play them. Then several things happened to get me interested in gaming again.

I have been in a reading slump to end all reading slumps. I will stumble across a book every now and again that I want to finish, but I have been DNFing more books than I actually finish. Manga was helping me for a while. Who can resist the convenient nibbles of stories, doled out in 200 page chunks? I discovered and read some amazing series over the past few months, but even manga has lost its shine. All of the unsettling news of the day, and politics, and some family issues have made me more desperate for an escape from reality. So I popped for a Switch, and while I had every intention of waiting for Let’s Go, Eevee, I saw that Elder Scrolls Skyrim was available for the system.

I played Elder Scrolls 1, 2, & 3 on the PC. This game was my crack. It was one of the first games with good graphics, you could swing the mouse around like a lunatic, making your character swing their weapon at enemies, and you could run around for hours and hours, delivering letters here, killing bandits there, and clearing dungeons of monsters.

I have spent a little over 70 hours playing Skyrim, and I’m not even a 1/3 of the way through the main storyline. I find great satisfaction running around the wilderness, discovering new places, and mercilessly destroying any opponents who wish to do me harm. Wolves, bears, and tigers hold no fear for me. Brigands and Forsworn, while a bit more challenging, are a blast to utterly destroy. While the I find the controls a bit wonky at times, the game is so immersive it is hard to put down.

I have played it exclusively in handheld mode, and the game looks great. I wish the battery life was a bit more robust, but I am usually never far from a power outlet. The console also tends to run on the warm side, so I have my fears about longevity of the system.

While I have yet to master Smithing or creating potions, I can finally pick most locks, almost with ease. The Master locks are still beyond my skill, but I have confidence that I will eventually get there, too. The game keeps you running around on side quests, and while they aren’t always compelling, clearing a fortress of interlopers, or retrieving a relic from the depths of a dungeon is always satisfying. And I haven’t even mentioned how freaking awesome it is to defeat one of the many dragons terrorizing the populace, by shooting it out of the sky with a humble bow and arrow. The game is massive, and though somewhat repetitive, it’s still a lot of fun.

I recently acquired a war dog, and that was a big mistake. Now I fret that he will die in every encounter, and I have to reload to a previous save when he does. I finally figured out that if I tell him to Wait just prior to an encounter, he obediently remains where commanded, and he can stay out of the line of fire (or axe blows). And yes, I realize that he’s just a digital dog, but he’s my digital dog.

We will be headed to Disney World soon, so posting will slow down while we are gone, and probably for a week after while I try to catch up at work. I don’t know if I’ll have the time, or inclination, to read while on vacation, so the reviews might be sparse until November.