The idiot gamer: Skyrim

I am and have always been an idiot when it comes to gaming. Sure, I’m nerdy, but the games I’m usually drawn to make “proper” gamers turn up their noses: “Minecraft” and “Animal Crossing” are two franchises that I have acute knowledge about. I’m generally good at “MarioKart,” but I wouldn’t do well in a “Super Smash Brothers” tournament, despite the fact that many of my friends dominate.
I have heard of Assassin’s Creed, Halo and TF2. I have never played these games for longer than ten minutes, opting instead for a phone game or more time invested in my “Animal Crossing” town. To give yet more perspective, I was surprised and mortified at the amount of gore in “Mortal Kombat,” even though the MK series has a large reputation for being quite bloody. Maybe at some point someone told me that MK was gory, but in that moment, I nearly threw up.
Ergo, the idiot gamer. Do I know how to use a controller? Somewhat. Am I going to try to play “Skyrim?” Abso-frickin’-lutely.
I start out my adventure with zero pre-research, opting to go only on the knowledge I currently possess. Here’s what I know about Skyrim: it’s an open-world game with fantasy elements, and there’s a cat character you can trade with. Everything else is foreign to me. I know that “Skyrim” is the fifth game in the “Elder Scrolls “franchise only because a friend tells me so; as I start to build my high-elf character, I realize that she’s mentioned this for a reason. Players who have already made it through the earlier “Elder Scrolls” games (all four of them!) will understand how to function in this game, having already interacted with the lore. I am flying blind.
My first attempt is a total failure, in my opinion. I manage to create my character, sure, but I don’t understand how the menus work. I stubbornly refuse to look at any online guides, citing “ruining the game,” despite my history of doing exactly that with “Animal Crossing” to figure out which hairstyles I want at Shampoodle.
After an hour of futzing and overall sucking, my partner takes pity on me and shows me how to use the quicksave so that I don’t have to re-walk the same annoying paths. He explains the menu system to me, and also how to equip magic, which I’ve been leveling and also ignoring in favor of a large battleaxe.
I defeat the dragon at Whiterun, nearly rage-quitting several times. As I talk to the head honcho dude in charge, they question my identity as a “Dragonborn.” I take this opportunity to demonstrate my prowess by using the power I gained from the dragon I killed, something the game calls “a shout.”
This triggers the guards in the honcho’s palace, who summarily murder me—I am then forced to watch my own death at the hands of crappily-animated NPCs. I’m teleported back to the dead dragon, and I have to walk all the way back up to the honcho, regretting my decision to “shout” entirely.
Once I start double-wielding destruction magic, which is basically just fire that shoots out of my hands, I start feeling a little better about the whole ordeal. Unfortunately, my luck runs out soon after that: as I head up the mountain to meet the Greybeards who will teach me the rest of the “shout” power, a randomly-generated dragon appears and kills me absolutely dead in two hits. Apparently, Skyrim’s known for these dragons who come out of nowhere to ruin your day, and it so happens that this one has arrived while I am still terrible at the game.
I attempt to fight it and fail over and over, failing each time, then reload the game to before the appearance and climb the whole mountain again to avoid the random generation. But in my infinitely shitty luck, the dragon “randomly generates” and I am forced to run for my tiny life in hopes I don’t get burned to a crisp.
After the greybeard quest is over, I teleport back to Whiterun where I am faced with another ambush by some annoying magical NPCs. Yet again I am murdered by these foes repeatedly as I do my best to kill them without disturbing Whiterun’s guards, who will also murder me if I hit them with my fire powers instead of the enemies.
I spend twenty minutes coming up with a plan that involves a little strategy I call “running the fuck away.” It works marvelously, and I retrieve the items I need from the deadened cultists who were no match for the Whiterun guards. At this point, I have spent four hours in playtime, and I expect that I will continue to play “Skyrim” now that I am emotionally invested. I still don’t understand most of the game; I did end up watching three longbow tutorials but still can’t aim.
I am enjoying this game immensely, but I can’t recommend going into it blind. You might make an idiot out of yourself… like I did.