Fear and loathing in ‘Skyrim’



By Zach Walton

As many know, and may have been skipping class for, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” launched to massive sales and critical success on Nov. 11.

The critical response has been good, and you’ll even see my review in the paper next week once I’m able to sink more time into this massive game, (I’m already at 48 hours if you were wondering).

The real distressing thing, thought, is the PC community and their backlash against this game. I know they are the vocal minority as Steam registered over 250,000 people playing the game on the launch weekend, but it’s still distressing nonetheless.

There was a blog post up on Gamasutra titled, “Skyrim, or how not to make a PC game.” Before we begin, this is a blog post and a solitary opinion. This opinion, however, is shared among many in the PC gaming community, a community that I recently joined as of last year to much joy, but many headaches.

In this blog post, the author points out four things that ruin the entire experience of “Skyrim” for him. The user interface, the customization options (or lack thereof), using the console locking out achievements and poor optimization.

First, these are all problems. I will agree that these things should be fixed in later updates or by mods. They do lessen the experience and make it feel like Bethesda did not put much time into the PC version. Todd Howard of Bethesda has always said that the Xbox 360 was the lead platform, so that is not too surprising.

The problem is the author damning the entire game because of these four issues. The entire experience is now ruined because he has a less than satisfactory user interface. The user interface is an issue, but I got past it to enjoy the game and many other people did too.

“Skyrim” is an amazing game worthy of all its praise and this small, but vocal group of PC gamers, are dragging it through the mud because it did not cater specifically to them at launch.

There is a grain of truth to this.

“Skyrim” should have been optimized for the PC, but it wasn’t. Boo-hoo, it shouldn’t make any self-respecting gamer ignore the entire game.

The author then concludes that it is clear the industry does not care about PC gamers anymore. He questions his reasoning as to why he even games anymore. This is just mind blowing to me. In my limited amount of time of playing PC games, I have run into a lot of great games that are amazing on the PC that also have console ports (“Risen,” “Divinity II” and “Metro 2033”).

Sure, the majority of publishers think of the PC port as an afterthought, but they still generally perform admirably and at least they are supporting the PC market again. A few years ago, many publishers were just ignoring it. Give it time and it will get better, trust me.

One last thing on “Skyrim” and Bethesda as a whole, they at least still have support for mods and let players adjust the .ini file to improve their experience. A lot of PC developers don’t even do that these days. I think this shows that Bethesda still cares about their PC audience even if they are taking the easy way out and letting the fans fix it. That’s fine by me as the fans have already created many unique mods and fixes to “Skyrim” in the week that it’s been out.

It’s easy to lament the death of classic PC gaming, but I think it’s getting better than ever. While the games are obviously ports of console games, more and more publishers are letting the community get involved in fixing them.

Some may not like this, but it leads to more people getting involved in making games and improving them. This could even lead to a job, like it has in the past, of fans who made large improvements to games – they were hired on as developers to fix games like “Gothic 3.”

People just need to stop complaining so much and enjoy the game for what it is. None of these problems are game breaking and should not stop your enjoyment of the game. I can confirm right here that the PC version of “Skyrim” is fantastic and is the best version because of mods and customization by fans.