How do you become a ‘Grown-Up’ Gamer?

Hello internet, it’s been a while. Ten months since my last blog in fact. There have been many reasons for the long pause: my marriage last August; the extensive renovations on our new home; the workload that comes with being a teacher, and other very grown-up things. For a few months I wasn’t even really playing video games, never mind blogging about them.

I have, of course, started gaming again. I’ve hardly made up for lost time, and the amount I can play has adjusted. The last few months have led me to the startling conclusion that I am, in fact…

a ‘grown-up’.

The way I game has changed gradually over time, but it’s only this year that I have truly embraced the fact that the way I play needs to be altered. Maybe you’ve been through a similar experience? Perhaps you have yet to feel a change. I’ve found a few ways to adapt gaming to suit my adult life.

  1. Become more selective.

When I was younger, if two decent games were the same price as the game I really wanted to play, I would go for the two games. It would pass the time until the newer game dropped in price, and the older games often turned out to be better than expected. Besides, I’d get through all the games I wanted to play eventually.

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Should open world games rethink how they tell stories?

We’ve all observed stories that use the ‘x days later’ device. A linear narrative can avoid weeks, months and years of bunkum by jumping to the next interesting bit. It’s a trick which allows the storyteller to stick to the good bits, providing it is used effectively. It’s a trick we can all accept and appreciate.

Now imagine you were reading a book or watching a film where the inverse happened. Instead of moving time forward ‘x weeks’ into the future, the story instead took a detour which lasted for days or weeks, only to return to the main story as if no time had passed. In most cases, we would find that very odd and a little jarring (unless it’s a dream-sequence or a peculiar plot twist). Yet open world games let this happen all the time.

Videogames can be rigidly linear in gameplay and story, or completely non-linear in either area. In many games story can be absent entirely, but sometimes I feel that the combination of linear story-telling and non-linear gameplay feels unwieldy. We as gamers are meant to follow a pattern of close-knit events whilst simultaneously spending hours on exploration and random side missions.

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How Historically Accurate is Skyrim? Part 5

Skyrim is doomed. The “hero” I have created isn’t really focused on saving the day. They have spent more time picking flowers and catching butterflies than they have spent killing dragons. We’ve meandered into so many caves and caverns, distracted by so many side quests, that I’m not sure how far down the main story we’ve travelled. I and my created character are so easily distracted, that the final dramatic confrontation may never actually come to pass.

Skyrim 5

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How Historically Accurate is Skyrim? Part 4

There’s lots of things I enjoy about over-analysing Skyrim, and the responses I get are a big part of that. There are a pleasingly small number of people that misread the title and my intentions (“Oh sure, the game with dragons is veeery accurate…”), and a fantastic number of readers willing to add their own knowledge and join the discussion. Sometimes, one of you lovely people will step in and flesh out something I have mentioned or correct a minor mistake, which is awesome to see. Learning should be a two-way exercise after all. And there’s still a lot of untapped History within The Elder Scrolls.

The-Elder-Scrolls-5-Skyrim-Free-Game-2

If you’re joining this gaming/history blog at Part 4, hello and welcome. I started playing Skyrimfor the first time last November, and I’ve been climbing every tower and turning every rock for signs of History. Sometimes real life Historic details are the clear inspiration for a detail in the game, and sometimes the game appears to stumble into a historic comparison. And in one particular situation, History actually helps to explain one of the most famous lines in the game…

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How Historically Accurate is Skyrim? Part 3

When I first asked the above question, I didn’t think I’d be able to write a third part. I was so sure that as I trundled further into the fantasy landscape, less historic details would present themselves. As magic and mythical beasts become increasingly prevalent, I expected to spot fewer references to the real ancient world. Whilst this is very definitely the case, Skyrim is still presenting quirky little historical accuracies.

How Historically Accurate is Skyrim? Part 3

For those who’ve missed the first two parts, the aim here is to highlight all the little ways thatSkyrim is influenced by History. In some cases these comments refer to very real events, whilst in other cases I refer to things that people believed were real throughout History, such as dragons. And no, I’ve still not found any historic evidence to prove that dragons were real. I’ll keep looking though.

So here are a few more aspects of Skyrim that show the mighty influence of historic events. Educational Warning: Minor amounts of learning ahead.

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How Historically Accurate is Skyrim? Part 2

You know, the more I play Skyrim, the more I begin to realise that historical accuracy isn’t the main point of the game… and I’d be very disappointed if I wasn’t too busy Fus-Ro-Dahing the local wildlife across the landscape.

​How Historically Accurate is Skyrim? Part 2

A few weeks ago I began to play Elder Scrolls V, and almost immediately began to spot the many ways that History has influenced the game. The Vikings are the main inspiration, whilst other ideas are taken from various points in the middle ages. Three weeks ago I shared these observations. Some parts of the game show accurate references to historic details, whilst other features were based on misunderstandings of the past. The majority of readers seemed to enjoy the makeshift history lesson, so here we are at Part 2.

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How Historically Accurate is Skyrim?

I began to play Skyrim for the first time last week. After finally jumping onto the bandwagon the game loaded me into a much more literal wagon, and announced that I was to be executed; a bad way to start a Wednesday evening. I was then told that another passenger was the true ‘High King’ of Skyrim. “That’s convenient!” A cynical voice in my head crowed, “Fancy being in the same cart as the contender to the throne!”

“Well… it’s not that unlikely.” A more grown-up voice remarked, “Think of all the times that usurpers and pretenders have challenged the order of succession.”

How Historically Accurate is Skyrim?

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