Since we are more than a decade into the 21st century, I think it is time to update the hypothetical desert island scenario to include video games. In terms of immersion and replayability, a great video game offers much more than a good book or movie. Unfortunately, most games created these days are based in the Call of Duty style of rail-based gaming. I, for one, do not understand this overwhelming desire for a more cinematic experience in video games. It limits the experience too much and minimizes the video game medium to a narrower pathway. Video games are about interactivity and giving players control. Pressing the right mouse button when a giant flashing “press Mouse 2” on the screen pops up or the game will restart is not what I call the height of interactivity.

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Even so called “sandbox” games that have come out recently have been disgustingly restrictive. Either that or the world rendered provides nothing more than an exercise for the obsessive compulsive to run around and collect artifacts, forgoing a fun experience. Bethesda Game Studios, as one of the few impressively capable game developers around, has the sandbox formula down pat. Between the Fallout series and the Elder Scrolls saga, Bethesda has mastered the craft of immersive RPGs. They have delivered one massively successful title after another, leaving the competition in the dust.

 

Bethesda's Skyrim is the fifth installment in the Elder Scrolls saga, set 200 years after the events of Oblivion. Skyrim is the northernmost province of Tamriel, the continent upon which all of the Elder Scroll games are set. In terms of new features, Skyrim uses the new Creation Engine, which allows for dynamic weather changes, including rain and snowfall, and much improved lighting, shadows, animation, scripting and landscape compared to previous Bethesda games. Ever wanted to be a vampire or a werewolf? You can experience that in Skyrim. Maybe a career as a musician or having a virtual book collection is more your speed? These are also possible in Skyrim. In fact, there is very little you cannot do in this game. If that level of immersion wasn't enough, try strapping on NVIDIA's 3D Vision kit and see the real world melt away as you are transported to the ancient and harsh world of Skyrim.