Why “Millions Of People” Still Play This Old Video Game

This week’s Thoughtful Thursday has a bit of a twist. What do video games have to with adventuring? Not so coincidentally, the two actually have many things in common thanks to this game:

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Skyrim was originally released on November 11, 2011 or 11/11/11. It was an instant hit, and to this day, seven years later, it remains popular. Seven years is a long time for video games. Much like movies and other pop culture, video games tend to blossom and fade away. But that is not the case for Skyrim. Just this year, Todd Howard, who is the head of the company that made Skyrim, stated that “Millions of people every month are playing [this] game.”

But Why Is It So Popular?

Skyrim is an adventure game. But unlike most adventure games before it, the player is not limited by the boundaries of a predetermined path or even a story line. While there is a fulfilling and entertaining story in Skyrim, the player may choose to deviate completely and go almost anywhere while doing almost anything. The player is free to roam an enormous 14.3 square mile area, filled with people, places, and challenges. It is referred to as an “open-world” game, where the player is free to explore with the building blocks needed to create their own adventure.

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There are many factors that determine popularity. However, I believe that this is one of the reasons this game has withstood the test of time. The game ultimately satisfies the common human desire to explore. People play it to find something new, to experience something new, in the beautiful harsh terrain that is Skyrim. Whether or not players would get the same experience being outside in the real world is another question. But the fact that this game is so popular many years after its release is evidence that many people enjoy adventure.

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This particular game set an “open-world” trend. Many games today include large explorable areas, in an attempt to mimic what Skyrim was able to do so well.

If given the chance, I suggest giving this game a try. If you do, be careful not to get too hooked!

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