Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Player Immersion and Narrative in Skyrim

There are many game theory topics to discuss when talking about Skyrim but I feel as if I have neglected two of the most important topics of video game theory. There are two things for me that really make a game worth playing. One is a great narrative that can vary and the other is player immersion in the game.
One thing that I never had much of a chance to discuss about Skyrim is the narrative. There are a few main story narratives that tell a pretty decent story, but what is really impressive is the option for someone to complete side quests that add to the main story or add to the characters personal story. In Skyrim, you have the option to be what you want to be from the very beginning. You can side with either faction or side with no faction. You can be a mage, a warrior, a master thief, or a combination of these. You don't even have to complete the main story line; you can carve out your own story with side quests. There is also narrative in the form of cut scenes. there is a great limited interaction cut scene at the beginning of the game that helps ease you in to playing. There are also small finishing move cut scenes when you kill the last bad guy in a group your fighting. Another cool thing that was done in Skyrim is having the option to talk to random townsfolk; they don't always have anything useful to say but sometimes they have helpful information. I think the developers for Skyrim did a great job incorporating a narrative into the game that can fluctuate and give the player more options. However, I think this game lacks detail in the narrative. This is a give and take situation; the more options you give a player in a game, the less detail the narrative will have. This makes sense because in order to incorporate more options in to the game you would have to have a story line that was vague and could be filled in with more information with the completion of side quests and progression through the game.  
I think player immersion is a very important aspect of Skyrim also. I hadn't thought about this much before but reading Ready Player One really got me to thinking about it. There is nothing quite as immersive as OASIS happening in Skyrim but it still has immersive qualities. One thing I noticed while playing this game, is that what seems like 30 minutes of gameplay ends up really being a couple of hours when I play. When I think about this, I have to ask myself if the game world is more interesting than the real world and my answer is duh!. I can definitely relate to Wade and other OASIS players when the topic of escaping the world around me comes about. You can do anything in Skyrim. You can cast magic, be a thief, or a great adventurer. There are many things you can do in Skyrim that you can not do in the real world.

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