Video games. In my mind, many video games are very much the same as books. I don’t just have to read to learn about a story and story structure– I’ve said this before, I’m sure. I have spent the last couple of months playing video games and become immersed in a grand amount of lore crafted for a series of video games that’s just amazing.
I’m talking Elder Scrolls. It took a bit for me to get into it. I’ve had a bias against first person games for a long time, and Elder Scrolls definitely has action elements. I’ve always said that I play Final Fantasy for the story, but for the past few years (since FFX) I haven’t wanted to play Final Fantasy at all. There were several reasons for it. 1. Each game was really a stand alone game with a new story which meant they couldn’t really get that in-depth. They created just the surface of a world and a story, more of a fairy tale really. After a while, that gets boring. 2. They started making sequels to sequels. Each game is a sequel already, and then they would make a part 2 which looked to just be the same game but with more story? I don’t know, but it certainly seemed money grubbing. Of course I haven’t laid my hands on any of those because I’m bored to death of Final Fantasy.
Elder Scrolls is a different. How different? You can read books in game. I started to get into reading and collecting books while out on my adventures. I became fascinated with the books on the Dwarven culture which disappeared way in the past, before the first game is even set. There are books to be found by scholars who’ve studied the ruins and put forth their own theories as to the culture. There are also books that collect dwarven folklore which is not meant to be trusted as a source. The more scolarly sources will tell you so. It feels quite real!
I came to find out that these books actually go back as far as the second installment of the series which was released around ’96. The Elder Scrolls actually builds their entire series up on the lore. You can read about Queen Barenziah in books in Skyrim and then play Daggerfall or Morrowind and actually meet her. It’s immersive, and not just through game play. It really shows the power of story to connect the different parts of this series and really bring it to life. People always have stories. They also always have opinions. They share what they think and over time, sources of information can become corrupted. Sometimes sources of information start out corrupt. I find that the Elder Scrolls series understands that, and it adds a serious level of realism to their entire world.