I’m slipping into The Shivering Isles once again, and it scares the hell out of me. It’s that special place you don’t want to go, but you know you have to. I can have a thousand things to do one day, only to catch a glimpse of my console, and minutes later I trawl any given dungeon in search of some kind of meaning. At the time of writing, Oblivion has siphoned over 100 hours from my life, leaving me with at least two unfinished essays and countless of broken promises. Still, it lures me back to its continental sprawl of real-estate, caverns and angst.
The scale of this game is ever frightening, as it seems impenetrable even to the experienced explorer. In addition to the bewildering vastness, you’re constantly knee-deep in books and conversations covering everything from politics and religion to flora and fauna –
but you’ll learn how to ignore all that soon enough.
But I’m missing the point. I’m guessing you’re all very aware of what Oblivion is capable of. Which leads me to this: When did it become a chore to play games? Do you get the feeling that sitting down with your favourite RPG has become a serious undertaking, and often,
a guilt-inducing addiction? Do games demand too much effort these days, are they too expansive, or do you revel in gameplay ad infinitum? What game is responsible for your social ruin? Was it always like this? How am I supposed to manage my character and the real me at the same time? You know, go to work, have coffee with friends, finish off that essay and still have time to wander aimlessly through the realms of Dementia and Mania, which, I guess, isn’t too far from where I live anyway. Which reminds me, I really need to find Blackroot Lair…