I always feel bad about displacing proper content with blog stuff, but also once I have something drafted I want it out the door so as not to gnaw at my mind. So please, valued visitor, before reading this: scroll down and read Rik’s review of Wacky Wheels. Or click this link.

Man, it makes me miss playing Apogee games. I don’t realistically think they ever caused SNES owners to envy we PC gamers. But they made a great effort to compensate for our lack of quality arcade and action games.

Okay, for my piece we’re jumping forward about 17 years. Most of the time I’ll intend to stick to games a decade or more older, but more recent stuff will show up occasionally.

I dare not look up how many hours I sunk into Skyrim. It didn’t replace its ancestor Morrowind in my heart, but I’m not sure anything ever could. Certainly Skryim is one of my top few RPGs of all time. I played through the quests for every last faction, explored at least 90% of the dungeons, and thoroughly completed all the expansions too.

I could write about evenings spent roaming the forests and tundras roaming the forests looking for adventure. Or choosing sides in the imperial vs rebels conflict, which basically was a fantasy version of Romans vs Vikings. Then there were the dragon fights. Each one was more epic, more a feat of fantasy heroism, than I would ever expect for an unscripted random encounter.

Actually though I want to talk about something just ‘cos it made me laugh. One of the new mechanics Skyrim introduced was the shouts, where the hero unleashes magical forces by voicing words from some ancient Dragon language. You may be aware of the “Unrelenting Force” shout, consisting of the words “Fus Roh Dah!”. It showed up in the game’s trailer and worked its way into popular culture, webcomics and youtube videos.

All shouts actually come in stages – you get a weak version with the first syllable, then improve it as you learn the other two parts. Some of these you pick up from side-quests or just exploring, but Unrelenting Force shout is gained as you progress though the main quest, the core story of the game. I always tend to leave the main quest till last in these games, though. This meant for about 70% of my run through, I only had “fus roh”. This just staggers enemies a bit, maybe knocks them on their ass or makes them drop their sword. Thus stopping them from attacking for a few seconds. It’s useful, for sure, but hardly impressive. In fact I was left wondering what all the fuss was about.

Then when I finally got the full-power shout, I idly tried it on a bear. And promptly blasted it off the side of a mountain. In shock I ran to the edge, to see its rapidly diminishing form tumbling towards the water far below.

Not a great pic, I reacted as fast as I could.


In all my time gaming, setting aside multiplayer (which, with the addition of human interaction, is an entirely different situation), I have never laughed so hard in my life.

It’s always great when a game grants new some power and encourages you to have fun with it. For the next few days no monster or bandit atop a cliff was safe. Spriggans and Trolls were knocked around like leaves in the wind. When tackling one of the final thieves guilds quests, I noticed the Big Bad was stood atop a statue a good 20 metres tall. So I didn’t even bother drawing swords. I just stealthily crept around behind him then yelled him to his death. A cheap move, for sure. I always thought a good sandbox lets you do these shortcuts if you think of them; let players decide for themselves how much they care about fighting honourably.

I kind of feel bad for the bear, though.