YteneWeb The Weirder Side Of Life…

March 20, 2013

Back To Reality, Part One

Filed under: Gaming — admin @ 11:10 am

One of my friends is in the process of reading Reamde, a novel by Neal Stephenson, which is based around a company that has produced a large and complex on-line game. As he told me how much he was enjoying this story, I was reminded of my own recent experiences in the world of computer gaming, and, perhaps more importantly, just how far they have come in the last few years.

Exhibit One: Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

This is the fifth installment in a series of “swords and sorcery” games from Bethesda Softworks, and it is set in a land [Skyrim] that borders the locations of other games in the pantheon. The premise of Skyrim is that, through your in-game avatar, you step out and explore a vast, sprawling landscape, take on challenges, face assorted dangers, and emerge as [hopefully] a hero and savior to the peoples of the land. Not unlike other games, then? Well, almost, but not quite. For the world of Skyrim is so vast and complex as to be completely beguiling. The landscape was hand-crafted by a team of more than 30 artists. It’s filled with a broad assortment of people from holy priests to cunning assassins, bards, merchants, warriors, lords and peasants. and monsters. Especially monsters. From snowy mountain peaks to boggy lowlands, from arid tundra to gloomy caves and dungeons, Skyrim is teeming with life. But perhaps where it stands out from other games is the subtle sophistication it displays. If you  are nice to a computer-generated character from the game, they will be nice in return – they may loan you artifacts or help you with advice. Trade well with merchants and your prices will improve, and so on. Believe it or not, you can also find and marry a partner in the game… It’s a complete world in a microcosm, and it all runs in the PC on your desk. Truly, it’s amazing what can be simulated in just one PC running on your desktop, or how accurate the simulation can be.


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