A six foot tall cat, walking on hind legs, walks into a medieval city in search of food and arrows. As he gets beyond the towering wall that surrounds the houses and shop he is approached by a small child. “I work with my Mother” she starts with absolutely no other introduction. The cat walks onwards towards the main hall hoping to see the Jarl. The child walks alongside.
“I work with my Mother” she says again.
My ten year old son finds this hysterical. He creases with laughter as he sits on the couch next to me. We’re going through Skyrim all over again, this time on the PS4 Remastered Edition.
I didn’t buy Skyrim on release back in 2011 because the fantasy setting really didn’t interest me. When I was growing up I played table top battle game Warhammer. When given the choice I went for the more science fiction based 40k edition rather than the fantasy of the original version. Dragons were fine but they were nothing compared to a hulking great mech stomping over a battlefield towards Genestealers. Fallout, Bethesda’s other RPG franchise, passed me by for some reason. I tried to get into the third instalment but always ended up giving up somewhere after Megaton (for the record, I declined the offer to blow the place up). I picked up Skyrim upon its budget re-release on the Xbox 360 about two years afterwards. As I played though my son used to sit next to me and watch my game. I was a strong Nord warrior called Bob if memory serves me correct. If I played it alone after he had gone to bed I still had to fill him in as to what had happened in the story the next morning over breakfast. He’d have been about seven years old at the time and often said that he wouldn’t actually play it but enjoyed being a passenger along for the ride. Skyrim got us both and it rapidly became ‘our game’. Once the ending arrived and the evil dragon Alduin had been vanquished the game went back up on the shelf. Skyrim had been saved, we were done, we moved on.
My son usually goes Christmas shopping with my Mother early in December. It pretty much involves his Gran ‘loaning’ him the money to get other people presents. Usually he ends up getting me a videogame that he wants to play as well. It’s a practice I’m totally fine with as it’s got me such titles as Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Yoshi’s Island in the past but for Christmas just gone he was determined the pick up Skyrim Remastered. In the run up to the 25th he would beam towards me saying that what he’d bought me ‘would be excellent’. I had a really strong idea of what it would be beforehand but he was right, it is indeed excellent.
We’ve made a ginger Khajiit called Raul, making him look like and naming him after our actual pet cat. Real life Raul spends his time sitting by the radiator and stealing food of plates as if we don’t feed him. Skyrim Raul has a bow and arrow which he lets fly with deadly accuracy and a sword that was given to him by a Goddess with the deliberate instruction of slaying the undead. Real life Raul wouldn’t kill a dragon unless it had a beak and feathers.
Skyrim is one of those gameworlds that I don’t mind revisiting despite knowing exactly how the main story turns out. It’s such a stunning setting rammed full of characters each with their own story that it feels like opening a well loved book and going ‘Oh this bit!’ on each chapter. The Remastered Edition also includes all the previous DLC that we never had on the 360. We’re therefore enjoying owning our own home in Whiterun and have already been on the boat to Morrowind. Even if I was on my own then I’d probably still be enjoying it but the fact my son is there to shout ‘Mudcrabs!’ at me makes the journey even more special.
Skyrim is a fantastic game despite some parts of the construction showing their five year old age. Even with this in mind though, some games just have a special place because of who you play them with.
The kid still keeps telling us she works with her Mother.