This isn’t the first time that I have felt this way while playing a Bethesda game. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog entry about the manner in which the Fallout series felt like some sort of “to do” list simulator (“Fallout, the “To Do” List Simulator”, PopMatters, 24 November 2010).
But in a sense, I don’t feel so alone in my feeling this time. Having spent some amount of time in the world of Skyrim myself, I opened a copy of Game Informer this week to find this description of “experiencing” The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
At one point, I had 14 main quests and 32 miscellaneous quests active at once. This huge list turned me into an antisocial outcast; I stopped approaching other characters for fear of getting more quests from them. Even this strategy didn’t work, as messengers would hand me documents containing new quests, and some NPCs rewarded jobs well done with additional tasks. (Andrew Reiner, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skrim: An RPG Worth Shouting About”, Game Informer, January 2012, p. 80)
Reiner had logged “over 100 hours” of gameplay time having written that, and while I have only spent about 10-12 hours in the game’s world, I already relate to the overwhelming feeling that Skyrim evokes in providing an ever increasing list of things to do for its players.