Happy Birthday, Skyrim!

11/11/11.

That date means a lot to any fan of the Elder Scrolls games, as it was the release date of the fifth installment in the series, Skyrim. The game launched a new adventure for players. Countless quests, acres of land to explore, and endless hours of entertainment for RPG fans were packed into one of the greatest games of our time.

Looking back now, two years later, it’s actually hard to believe it’s been two years. I remember launch day like it was yesterday, sitting on my computer anxiously waiting for the game to unlock on Steam. When it finally did, I am not sure I left my house the entire weekend, or even much of the following weeks and months.

Even when I wasn’t playing the game I was thinking about it. Like many of you, I began seeking the internet for more information and for a community of people who felt the same way about the game as I did. Thankfully, QGN was there with arms wide open.

As the months went by we experienced all kinds of news, enhancements, rumors, and disasters for the game. The Steam Workshop came online giving PC players the chance to extend their game far beyond what Bethesda originally envisioned. Downloadable content in the form of Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn were released, though there were major issues for PlayStation 3 gamers. While they were made to wait agonizingly long for the content to finally be available to them, Bethesda made it right by offering them at a discount upon their release. More recently, gamers who didn’t jump in right away were treated to the definitive version of the game in the form of the Legendary Edition. And now the epic Elder Scrolls Anthology is available as well, giving fans a chance to go back and revisit all the games in the series.

Eventually the rumors we were hearing about an “Elder Scrolls-With-Friends” kind of game finally came true in the form of Elder Scrolls Online. Even though the excitement for that game shifted many of our focuses to any news we could find of ESO, at the end of the day we still came back to Skyrim and let our imaginations wander. Whether it was starting yet another character, or hopping back into the life of a character we’d already invested hundreds of hours in, there was always something new to experience.

Will there ever be another single player game that captivates us like that? Will we ever happily dump hundreds, or in some cases, thousands of hours into a game that isn’t designed around social interaction? Certainly many of us will be playing Elder Scrolls Online for years to come, but what about the single player fans out there (like myself)? Will there ever be another game to match the depth, the beauty, and the epic nature of Skyrim? Off the top of my head, the only thing I can even imagine coming close would be a sixth game in the series. And with Bethesda at the helm, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll be pleased with the results.

But even so, Skyrim will always hold a special place in our hearts. It was the game that really showed the masses what the Elder Scrolls is all about. It won awards and sold like mad, and opened up the series to scores of new players. It was an accomplishment in so many ways, and it is one that will always be near the top of many people’s lists. But as we look back to two years ago and wonder where the time went, I would invite you to jump back in for a little bit today. Pick a direction and just start walking, and see what you find. Not everyone plays the exploratory way, as many people simply move from quest to quest, and that’s ok! But on this special day, do yourself a favor and just go see what you can find. Chances are you’ll find something you’ve never seen before, and who knows, maybe you’ll get hooked all over again.

Though many of us are not still actively playing the game every day, I’d be willing to bet many of you still have it installed or sitting on your game rack. If you’re like me, in the back of your mind there’s always been this voice saying that you should start playing it again. Sure it’s been a while, and sure there are a lot of great games out there you need to finish. But Skyrim is different. It’s not just another game in your library. It’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Celebrate today in your own way, whether it’s a run through the game or a celebratory sweet roll. Just pay homage to the greatness that is this game, and reflect on everything the game has given you over the last two years. And stay tuned, because we’re not even close to being done talking about The Elder Scrolls.

Happy birthday, Skyrim!

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Avatar of Brian Armstrong
Brian covers gaming news for the Quest Gaming Network. You can follow him on Twitter at silentfury007, where he also occasionally rambles about music.

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