Collection Tale – The Young Fool Who Bought Skyrim

In 2011, I became a victim of a series issue that unlucky young adults find themselves in when faced with misinformation, societal influence, and being vulnerable and unprotected. I of course am talking about peer pressure. I was a victim of peer pressure to the point where I look back and feel ridiculous for my actions. During my second year of undergraduate studies, I became close to a group of friends within our department. At the beginning of the semester, all of them couldn’t shut up about this amazing game that was coming out in November and it was going to be the highlight of gaming for ages to come. That game (if you didn’t read the title) was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. At the time, I didn’t know what an elder was and what they were scrolling from. I had never heard about the series before, but the way my friends were describing it, it sounded incredible. Soon, I would start watching the trailer with them and start feeling the hype for it. There was one small issue however.

Back in 2011, I had no consoles on me. The only gaming device I had with me was my DS and PSP. Not a single one of those would play Skyrim on it (I doubt that would stop Todd Howard today) and I didn’t have the money to just go out and buy a system. I was getting hyped for no reason, since I couldn’t play the game regardless. One of my friends however told me that the game was coming out on PC, and that I could play it on my laptop if I wanted to.

This was mistake number 1. I was rocking a Gateway POS that could only run my school work on. There was no way that my laptop was going to run this game well enough. But my friend (who went on to build his own PC and help me with mine later) assured to me that my potato with buttons would be able to play the game just fine. So with the hype building, I borrowed some money from my savings (mistake #2), went to GameStop and preordered the Collector’s Edition of Skyrim for PC (back in the day when you could preorder physical PC games *thunder sound effect*). Nothing really mattered to me at that point since I could now be part of the group and conversation when this game came out. Little did I know that this event would mark the beginning of when I stopped listening to people’s advise on games I should play and how to play them.

Let’s talk about the Collector’s Edition for a minute. The Collector’s Edition for Skyrim cost about $125 USD if I recall correctly. It came in this big box and had the Skyrim scenery all around it. There were five items included in the box. The first was the game obviously, but also included was a behind-the-scenes DVD that talked about the development of the game. I’m pretty sure I have never watched it. A mild trinket was a map of the entire region that you can see in game. Its made out of nice material, but I haven’t done anything with it. An interesting item included was a 200 page art book that had illustrations of characters, enemies, items, and scenery. That doesn’t compare to the item that possibly influenced me the most to get the Collector’s Edition. The edition came with a 12 inch statue of Alduin, the main antagonist dragon. This statue could be classified as a lethal weapon since it is sharp and could easily be used as a blunt-force weapon. These days it probably wouldn’t be worth the price, but for what you get I think it was a good deal at the time.

November 10, 2011 arrives. My friends I are at the midnight release of the game (the one and only one I’ve ever done) and the doors open. When its my turn in line, I proudly declare that I was picking up my PC preorder for Skyrim. The employee designated me as the weirdest person that night, but seeing that there were two more people who preordered the PC version, I didn’t feel too out of place. I get back to my room, I can hear my roommate’s cheers of joy that all his dreams have come true, I put the game in my disc drive, and then it askes me for my Steam account. Come again? Yep, this was my first encounter ever with Steam. The disc just had the installation software on it, but in order to download and play the game, I had to create a Steam account and download the game from there. No real biggie. I created my Steam account, started the installation, and Steam told me it would take 20-23 hours for the game to download. You could feel the regret lining up at my door to start beating the crap out of me.

The next day, all of my friends had either skipped their morning classes or just never left their places to begin with. Since the game was still downloading on my laptop, I couldn’t bring it to any of my classes and couldn’t use it for most of the day. The one’s who did show up later in the day were talking about the character they created and their builds, and here I was still waiting for the game to download. That night, I was finally able to launch the game. The launcher checked my laptop’s specs and I’m surprised it didn’t just refuse to launch. It set everything to the lowest possible setting available and told me good luck. The iconic music starts to play on the home screen, and I’m finally ready to dive into dragonslaying adventures.

The game struggles to run. My laptop was able to run it decently, but since I had everything set to either low or off, a lot of the beauty of the game was lost. I believe at one point the game wouldn’t run since so many things were still running in the background, that I had to manually turn things off just so the game could get past the character creation. When I finally got the game past the opening, I set off in this low texture, slow development, 15 frames per second world. It was vastly different from the game that I saw my roommate playing, and I’m pretty sure I felt frustrated that I couldn’t play this game that I spent money on to not work on my laptop. But after I got over those initial hurdles and could play the game comfortably as possible, I started to make lemonade out of this limes that I had.

Imagine the game looking 800x worse than this

Would you believe me if I told you that I played the entire game on that laptop and finished the game? Would you believe me if I told you that I put over 100 hours into that version of the game and had a time doing so. Just me, my small screen, and my mouse and keyboard. I don’t know what possessed me to keep playing the game in that state. I guess at that time it was one of the few things that I had, so I was committed to play it and have fun with it while I could. Eventually I got used to the slow combat, aiming my fireballs without actually seeing the flames leave my hands, and reading every tip the game offered due to slow load times. I even managed to get through that one story quest where you have to solve a puzzle that involves reflecting lights off mirrors. Yeah, try and do that puzzle with no light effects whatsoever and relying on tiny particles moving in the air as your only guide that you maybe doing it correctly. I thought that puzzle was going to be the end of me, but I solved it and continued my ball busting run through Skyrim. I must have finished the game offline since I don’t have the achievement for it, but my last achievement from the game (to this day) is from December 8, 2012. It took me a year to finish it, but I managed to beat Skyrim on the lowest settings possible on an electronic typewriter that probably hated me.

A picture I took a long time ago with no context

To this day, I haven’t really gone back to Skyrim as much. When I got my actual gaming PC, I remember playing some of it, but not a lot. I have all the DLC and can now enjoy the game the way it was meant to be played, but nothing has called me to return to it for long. Before a few months ago, the last time I played the game was back in 2016, probably around the time I got my gaming PC and played around for a while. I think I just got my fill of it from playing on that busted laptop that I felt like I got my fill of it for the time being. To this day, it still holds the number one spot on my Steam account for the most hours played at 156 hours (rookie numbers I know). This post is not to make me sound superior in any way of playing and beating Skyrim in a difficult way. I believe the moral of this story is to do your own research and don’t let the influence of others dictate all of your decisions. I didn’t need to play Skyrim on release. Hell, I was more than happy playing the few DS games I had at the time over again. I desperately wanted to be a part of something that the group I was with were into and I made a foolish mistake for it. I don’t mostly talk to anyone from that group anymore, and I feel like me not keeping up with the “trends” was one of the reasons; which is completely fine by me. Don’t make my mistake. Say no to peer pressure.

Observing the Backlog: My Personal Collection (With Graphs!)

I did not think this post would take this long for me to release, but when you are in a groove, you do some next level research no one asked you to do.

Like any good journey, you need to know where you are going and the route that you want to take. I decided to reevaluate my collection to see exactly how many games I own in my personal collection and how far I have left to go in this never ending quest. I hope you like charts, numbers, and statistics as much as I do, because we are going deep into my current collection.

As of October 22, 2019, this is where my current collection stands:

Nintendo 64: 13

Nintendo Gamecube: 50

Nintendo Wii: 35

Nintendo Wii Virtual Console: 5

Nintendo Wii U: 4

Nintendo Switch: 45

PlayStation: 6

PlayStation 2: 29

PlayStation 3: 37

PlayStation 3 Virtual Console: 10

PlayStation 4: 44

This Thing That I Have For Some Reason

Xbox 360: 19

Nintendo GameBoy: 2

Nintendo GameBoy Color: 3

Nintendo GameBoy Advance: 21

Nintendo DS: 42

Nintendo 3DS: 56

Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console: 15

PlayStation Portable: 12

PlayStation Vita: 14

PlayStation Vita Virtual Console: 3

My PC!

PC: 152

I Can Explain Why I don’t have an original, but not now.

Super Nintendo Classic: 21

Grand Total: 638

Right off the back, most of my collection (minus PC) have less than 50 games in total. I have included all virtual console games that I have bought and the games included in the SNES Classic since they are licensed games that I paid for. I did not include, however, games that I played through a subscription service like PlayStation Now or the Switch Online Service, since I do not personally own them. Finishing any of the games on the subscription service does not count toward my overall finish rate. There are other games I could claim that my brother has, most noted all of our Super Nintendo games, but he is the keeper of those and I would not take those from him.

The hardest thing I had to consider, and remember, were games packed in a compilation. I took it upon myself to include each individual game as its own entry since it is the full game; just packaged and jammed in a single card or disc. This is why my GameCube count is high despite me not having a lot on the shelves.

The funny thing about this list is the number of PC games that I own. I did not own a functioning gaming PC until the summer of 2015, and somehow was able to amass the most games for it. I blame our savings savior Gabe Newell for this particularly. When I got my gaming PC, it was the one thing I had that could play all the new releases on the PS4 and Xbox One at the time. The latest system I had at the time was a PS3, but new releases that I wanted to play were no longer coming out for the system. With most of my purchases coming from Steam sales and free games from bundles, my PC collection became out of control to the point where I have to stop buying games that go on sale.

All hail our PC savings lord

Next, I want to break down the number of games that I have finished on each system and compare them to the number I have not finished or have yet to touch yet. Here is the breakdown:

Legend to help you out

As you can no doubt tell, I have a problem with finishing games, unless it is a Gameboy game. When I look at the data, it makes me wonder a bit why I leave a lot of these games unfinished. Out of the 23 systems that I have, only 6 of them have a higher finish percentage and 2 of them are at a hundred percent finish. 14 have a higher percentage of “Not Finished” and the other 4 have a higher percentage of my haven’t touched the games I’ve bought. Those numbers are shocking, but something that I was not aware of. This whole ordeal was to find a way to motivate and finish them all.

The only system I can understand with the low clear rate is the PS3. I unfortunately had my hard drive die on me and it took all of my precious game data along with it; forcing me to restart every game that I owned up to that point. Some consoles like the original PlayStation and the Xbox 360 have low numbers because 1) most games I wanted to play on the original I bought digitally off the PlayStation network for my PS3, and 2) I bought my Xbox from one of my roommates just so I could play Tales of Vesperia and nothing else. When browsing the system one day I discovered a bunch of downloaded games on the system and to this day keep forgetting that they are there. The 360 may be one of the last consoles I get to on my backlog, but I have good games for it like Lost Odyssey and Culdcept Saga.

Photo by Skitterphoto on

So what do I do now with the rest of this info? Well for starters, I now have nifty graphs that I can see fluctuate whenever things change (yay). If I can incorporate a widget to a page on my blog to have accurate, real-time updates, that would be cool to have. I had to force myself to stop at this point because I wanted to dive deeper by breaking down the different genres, the time it would take for me to finish everything if I had the nonstop time, and list out the games that I am close to finish versus the ones I’m still early in, but then I would never get a post out. Plus, at the time of writing this, my wife mentioned why I did not opt to evaluate our combined gaming collection, which adds around 200 more games and then updating her list to make sure that it is accurate. 

I love collecting data and doing statistics, but there is always a limit in a span of time….

Let me know what you think. Would you be interested in me diving deeper collecting data on my personal collection? Do you think my numbers are amateur-level and I need to pump those numbers up? How long do you think it will take me to finish a game in the Wii U category since it is the only system I have not finished a game under? Let me hear you thoughts in the comments below.

Just because we are out of Summer does not mean to stay less hydrated.