In the heart of many a gamer lies the desire to step into a virtual adventure where no rules apply, and anything is possible, be it riding dragons over snowy valleys or engaging hordes of ravenous zombies in deadly combat. It’s a desire many games have tried to fill, but perhaps none have done it quite like Skyrim. The fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series exists in the gaming world as one of the purest examples of self-expression—-and a moneymaking machine headed by a company that makes jokes about itself regarding the endless parade of remasters and re-releases. Putting aside all the corporate shenanigans (30 million copies sold worldwide in its first five years. Can you blame them?) Skyrim is a unique RPG catered to the imagination.
From its frozen tundras to snow-capped mountains to quiet valleys dotted with ancient ruins and the occasional bandit camp, Skyrim transports players into a deeply magical world brimming with adventure and danger. It’s a game that’s aged quite well in the last decade, a testament to its status as one of the most iconic, bestselling open-world games on the market, and the passionate fanbase creating their own stories and mods to enhance the game at all levels. In this way, Skyrim has ensured its longevity and lasting replayability value.
November 11th marks the game’s tenth anniversary. After a decade of exploring dark dungeons, battling fierce dragons, questing for ancient and powerful artifacts, and unlocking every magical secret hidden away in every cave on the map, it’s safe to say the game isn’t going anywhere—and ten years old is only the beginning of what this game still has to offer.
Bethesda took the gaming world by storm with its 2011 release of Skyrim, with critics and fans praising the diverse open world, character advancement, and visuals. It built nicely on the lore established in the previous games of the series and enticed players to explore its Viking-inspired world while offering a new experience of adventuring many other games have failed to reproduce.
The game presented a thrilling story of ancient prophecies and fierce warriors with the power to speak the Tongue of the Dragons., Its nonlinear gameplay meant players could enjoy the various quests on their own time. Heck, you could forgo the main adventure and join multiple factions in Skyrim with their own unique stories, questlines, characters, and rewards. The land is also torn apart by civil war, and the return of the dragons only spells more death and bloodshed for the people of Skyrim. Players’ choices matter and their decisions will shape the political balance of power within the land.
Playing Skyrim is more than just playing a video game. It’s getting lost in pure fantasy, being transported to a world where you forge your path and tell of your own heroic (or villainous) deeds. Skyrim is truly a virtual choose-your-own-adventure.
From all of the video game nerds worldwide who still enjoy the game to this day–including this one who ran an Instagram page for a year dedicated to various characters created for the game, Happy Birthday Skyrim.