Jul 5, 2006

You have found an Oblivion Gate


Yes, that is what you think it is. It is a screenshot from a video game, the kind of game usually played by 25-year-old boys and other children. I remember a time when I had no interest in this type of thing -- it was not that long ago. One of the things about my life that has changed since marriage has to do with this very game, a game called "Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion."

I should be embarrassed, right? I mean, Anna called me the other night and I didn't even pick up the phone because I was busy bashing some weird evil moth-monks with my enchanted sword, in a cave where ghosts turn to ectoplasm when you kill them with magic spells and then you can harvest the ectoplasm and us it to make potions with your alchemy equipment. This shit makes the "liger," known for its skills in magic, look like some kind of Sigfried and Roy show.

It started when T.J. bought the XBOX 360. I noticed he spent a weird amount of time playing Oblivion, but it wasn't too bad at the beginning. His character was running all over Tamriel, opening up chests of gold and looting people's thatched-roof cottages and the like. Then he started playing more and more, so one day when he was out, I made up a character and started my own little adventure to see what the big deal was.

Now, life basically sucks. There are only a few options for the after-work hours:

1. He plays Oblivion. I wind up eating a Lean Cuisine from the microwave and surfing the web, since there's no point in talking to him.

2. I play Oblivion. TJ winds up eating a Hot Pocket from the microwave and playing internet chess all night, since there's no point in even trying to talk to me.

3. We trade off, so we both get to play but neither of us talks to the other.

4. No one plays, but we are both thinking about playing.

The game has really taken over, because for one it's very beautiful, and for two the plot devices are reasonably compelling. You get to fistfight skeletons and barter with hot medieval looking babes, and you can even change your own appearance by adjusting the nuances of your facial features and skin color. My character is a bluish dark elf with red eyes. She's fiiiiine. TJ's character is a scruffy-looking white guy, kinda like TJ.

I remember that I used to do things like go to the gym, do the laundry, cook, and talk to TJ. Now, I have an inkling of how an alcoholic feels -- like, the person knows that they would have a better life and accomplish more and have deeper relationships if they could just quit the bottle, but then they go pick up the bottle.

My friend John and his girlfriend just broke up. He said she told him she was worried he'd get a new girlfriend right away, to which he said, "Don't worry. You know I'll spend the first year of our break-up catching up on... I mean drowning my sorrows by playing Oblivion 24-7."

Who has this game? Are there people out there like us? Can I get a witness?

8 Comments:

Blogger capella opined...

I do not have this game, but I have noticed a similar phenomenon in my life. When I don't have a boyfriend, I don't play video games and I don't have any desire to do so. When I do have a boyfriend, he gets me to play, and I enjoy it. And then my hobbies, which I know I enjoy more but which is less immediately gratifying, get neglected.

Suggestion: There will always be a game like Oblivion. If you want to play video games sometimes but not get too wrapped up, you could find two-player games and play them together. I have done this and, as long as the more skilled player doesn't get impatient, it allows you to both play at the same time and talk as much as you would if you were watching TV. (The problem with this is that I have the sense the best games and the best modes of play are 1-player.)

12:14 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

Okay, well, maybe this means you need to come visit us in NYC. Maybe you want to go to the farm-place-of-nuns on a field trip?

4:36 PM  
Blogger Lazlo Hollyfeld opined...

I am supposed to be working, but when I read the word "Elderscrolls" I snorted explosively and people in the office turned around to stare at me.

Thanks a lot. You are going to get me fired.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous jason opined...

WoWcrack here. Isnt' Oblivion available on the PC too? can't you guys play a little together and then go out and have a different kinda of fun?

WoW got to the point where we need 40 people groups to do anything... so my own play time is pretty scheduled, and there isn't much to do outside of those event... it makes it so 40 of us have to set up 'playdates' (relation to childhood intentional). it's almost like setting up drinking appointments with your real life friends....

8:47 AM  
Blogger hilsbells opined...

i will admit to a somewhat serious but mostly reformed addiction to katamari. i never played video games growing up and always sat bored as friends fought over the controllers. a few rounds against matt and david on mario cart always made me a bit sea sick. i do admit a bit of love for dance dance revolution but that's a different beast entirely. but i love katamari. i. love. katamari. you must play this game to understand. but be forewarned - you will become addicted...

1:41 PM  
Blogger hilsbells opined...

i will admit to a somewhat serious but mostly reformed addiction to katamari. i never played video games growing up and always sat bored as friends fought over the controllers. a few rounds against matt and david on mario cart always made me a bit sea sick. i do admit a bit of love for dance dance revolution but that's a different beast entirely. but i love katamari.
i.
love.
katamari.
you must play this game to understand. but be forewarned - you will become addicted...

1:41 PM  
Blogger Ananda opined...

I'm about 5 months removed from a moderate World of Warcraft addiction. It was really great when the baby was very little because he'd get up at night and I'd rock him back to sleep but I wasn't sure if he'd be up again in 20 minutes, and at that point my character was low enough level that I could make discrete progress in WoW in 20 minutes. So I'd play for 15-20 minutes after I put him down and then go back to sleep. It was great. My wife also liked WoW because it appealed to her penchant for list-making. Games that involve lists of little tasks that you do and then get to check off hook her like a trout. The little rushes of that "sense of accomplishment" are what get her.

Unfortunately, high-level play in WoW is very grind-style, and I don't like it much. I may start again when the expansion pack comes out, raising the level cap to 70 and enabling upward progress once again, but honestly I'm not sure.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Jay opined...

ya... i never played video games until this year (im 21). my boyfriend was telling about the game and how gorgeous the graphics were. next thing u you im totally addicted and im up to over 100 hours (i dont even own an xbox360, its all time spent playing at his house...). He said that since i liked LOTR (not just the story, the details too, the armor, the swords, the creature, the elvish language. im a bit of a geek when it comes to that), id like oblivion.

at the beginning i did nothing else but play (then again i started playin in january and i live in Canada. ppl tend to stay inside).
but now i control my time and him and i actually go out and do others things. it is really really adictive at the beginning and if ure not careful ull start to believe youre actually in the game, especially if you play it on a big screen tv....
its an old game but its amazing. one of the best games out there.
Its even fun to watch someone else play. because every character is different with different skills and weapons (Depending on what you find and on your level at each mission/gate) the game is not the same when someone else is playing.

ok i wrote a lot about it. this is ridiculus. but ya just cuz i can relate.
anyways
gluck
:)

2:52 PM  

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