How can playing Skyrim teach you to survive the apocalypse?

After all, wouldn’t Fallout 3, Rage, Brink, Fallout New Vegas and all the other post apocalyptic games be a better bet?

Well, yes and no.

Yes because of the obvious. Those other games are all set in apocalyptic or post apocalyptic worlds, and for that reason alone you’d think they had an advantage. And, in fact, I have used Fallout as a survival simulator, though for some reason in real life I can’t carry a mini nuke launcher. So unfair.

But there are many things Skyrim can teach you that they can’t. And it can teach it two-fold- once from the in game experiences, and once from the actual experience of playing it.

In game experiences:

You learn what effects things have by eating them.

Post apocalypse food won’t come conveniently packaged and flavoured in a supermarket aisle. And there will be things you don’t know about. Strange fruits and berries that you have absolutely no idea about. And most times, you won’t want to eat them. After all, they could be poisonous. But things will get just a little desperate post apocalypse…

Skyrim trains you for this. You don’t know what various alchemy ingredients do until you put them in your mouth and chow down. So far, my technique is to gather stuff as I roam around the world, get to a safe place where I know they can heal me if it goes wrong, then eat things.

This is a valid, if slightly suicidial technique for post apocalyptic survival.

You learn to run away.

Or, more precisely, you learn to treat every new monster/situation with caution until you know what works. In some circumstances, what works is running at full speed until you are far, far away from it.

I have killed two dragons (three if you count the one I killed just before something else killed me) and thanks to the caution this game has taught me I still run away from: Giants, Bears, Spriggans, and Sabrecats.

Post apocalypse, don’t be stupid. RUN AWAY if you aren’t sure what it can do.

You learn to check every corner and container for loot.

Or you miss stuff. Important stuff. Stuff that gets you out of this dungeon and home so you can sell all this other stuff. Stuff like keys and clues and important books.

Post apocalypse you will need to search every inch of your surroundings for things that could potentially be important. Don’t slack. Skyrim is very good at teaching you not to slack.

You learn to be selective over what you carry.

The comparitively low carrying capacity in Skyrim means you can’t lug everything you’ve ever seen out of a situation and half way across the game world. You have to choose. And mostly, you’ll choose what is useful or valuable, as opposed to carrying 65 wooden plates- or tons of brooms as the case may be.

Experience of playing:

You learn to hold your… waste

This game is addictive. Really, really addictive. You don;t want to leave it, even to go the the toilet. So, thanks to that, Skyrim trains you to ignore increasingly desperate signals from your body. Either that or sit in your own waste products for the whole day, but I’m going to assume you don’t do that.

How is this useful post apocalypse? Simple. You may be in a situations- for example, you’re on watch tonight- where disappearing off to go to the loo could kill you and all your friends. Skyrims addictive gameplay ensures that by the time the apcoalypse is here, you’re already used to holding it in for hours.

You learn you CAN go without eating.

To be honest, both this one and the one below have much the same explanation as the toilet one.

You learn you CAN go without sleep.

This is what I’ve learned after, ooh, round about 30 hours of gameplay? There’s probably a lot more to learn. I ask that people further along in their play experience add their knowledge in the comments without being too spoilery. Spoilers will be trashed without ever seeing the light of day. Now, just apply these lessons to Real Life tm and you’re good to go post apocalypse. Now, excuse me, I’m back to Skyrim. (PS, here is my Skyrim review. IT IS AWESOME and if you aren’t playing it we aren’t friends)

anninyn

Anninyn lives and works in the UK, though she writes in a world of her own. Raised on a steady diet of sci-fi, intellectualism and political thinking by hippies, she looks at modern life through a somewhat-...unique... lens. She is obsessed with the apocalypse, and can be reached at anninyn@incaseofsurvival.com for all apocalypse-based inquiries. She is working on her first novel. You can find out about her and her other work through her website http://cbblanchard.com/

4 Replies to “How can playing Skyrim teach you to survive the apocalypse?

  1. Hear hear! I got Skyrim over the weekend and I’ve been hooked! My excuse is that I’m making preparations for the coming apocalypse too 😛

    If you take away the magic aspect of your character, you can get a decent survival experience: hunting, cooking, mining, smithing etc. Governments should distribute copies of Skyrim to every household.

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