This week’s Thoughtful Thursday puts a bit of a twist on this quote about adventure:

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.

— Oprah Winfrey

What do video games have to do with adventuring? They can make dreams a virtual reality. Just like in reading a book or watching a movie, the audience, or “players”, of a game experience a story. In a game such as the topic of this blog, the story is created by the player. Playing this game is like opening a blank book and writing the story as you go, and you’re the main character. Adventure is what this game is built on.


What is Skyrim?

Skyrim was originally released on November 11, 2011 or 11/11/11. It was an instant hit, and to this day, seven years later, it remains popular. Seven years is a long time for video games. Much like movies and other pop culture, video games tend to blossom and fade away. But that is not the case for Skyrim. Just this year, Todd Howard, who is the head of the company that made Skyrim, stated that “Millions of people every month are playing [this] game.”


Why Is It So Popular?

Skyrim is an adventure game. But unlike most adventure games before it, the player is not limited by the boundaries of a predetermined path. While there is a fulfilling and entertaining story in Skyrim, the player may choose to deviate completely and go almost anywhere while doing almost anything. The player is free to roam an enormous 14.3 square mile area, filled with people, places, and challenges. It is referred to as an “open-world” game, where the player is free to explore with the building blocks needed to create their own adventure.


There are many factors that determine a game’s popularity. However, I believe that the “open-world” is one of the reasons this game has withstood the test of time. The game ultimately satisfies the common human desire to explore. People play it to find something new, to experience something new, in the beautiful harsh world of Skyrim. Whether or not players would get the same experience being outside in the real world is another question. But the fact that this game is so popular many years after its release is evidence that many people enjoy the adventure.


Everything in Moderation

Whether or not video games are good or bad is a separate topic. The idea here is not to replace the rewarding and fulfilling experience of spending time outdoors, because a game cannot do that. More than anything, it is interesting to analyze Skyrim’s fundamentals, see how many people are, and continue to be, drawn to them, and how those fundamentals are similar to the motives that also get us outside.

If given the chance, I suggest giving this game a try. If you do, be careful not to get too hooked!

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