Epic Fantasy Reborn?

Hey everyone! Mac here from Dark Elf Dice. I hope everyone had a great holiday and had a chance to spend time with family and friends and perhaps do a little gaming. We’re just winding down from our holiday sales rush and are busily working at restocking the shelves with some of your favorites and some new game accessories we hope you’ll like. Stay tuned! We’ll be doing some product reviews on our Game Night blog shortly.

I for one had a very nice time during the holidays, and I was pleasantly surprised when my wife gave me an Xbox 360 game for Christmas. I should mention that when I was younger I played video games a lot (much to the disapproval of Mrs. Mac), but with added work and family responsibilities over the years, video games gradually took a backseat in my life. A few years back though, I bought an Xbox 360 (mostly for the Beatles Rock Band game), and dabbled a little in video games when I found some free time. So instead of receiving slippers or a new sweater for Christmas, I received The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim game and a player’s guide as thick as a Milwaukee phone book. Cool!

Is that a dragon or a seahorse?

Surprisingly, as much as I used to play video games, I didn’t play much in the fantasy genre. In fact, the last fantasy game I used to play with regularity was Atari’s Adventure. Man, back in grade school I would spend hours searching for the enchanted chalice and slaying dragons! Needless to say, my fantasy video game experiences were a tad dated (I showed my teenage daughters a YouTube video of Adventure and they just laughed). In Skyrim I’m still able to search for enchanted chalices and slay dragons, it’s just better. Better graphics, better game play, better sound effects, better everything. But is Skyrim, a game that bills itself “Epic Fantasy Reborn,” better than a good old fashioned table top game like Dungeons and Dragons or Castles and Crusades? Therein lies an interesting question.

Dude! That ain't no seahorse!

As I’m playing through Skyrim, I can’t help asking myself how the game compares to traditional role playing. I can honestly say that I’m thoroughly enjoying this video rpg and the open-ended fantasy world I can explore and adventure in at will. Skyrim really does a fine job capturing certain role playing elements exceedingly well (fascinating quests, unique magic items, powerful spells, engaging level and skill advancement, etc.), but I do find one thing lacking. Namely, playing Skyrim is a lonely adventure, whereas Dungeons and Dragons is not. When I play Skyrim into the small hours of the morning, I really do have a good time, but I can’t help but miss the camaraderie of friends sitting with me at the kitchen table, rolling dice and laughing over pizza and Mountain Dew. For me personally, this is why table top rpg games will always be superior to video games. With table top role playing, I can engage in the adventure with other people — people sitting right next to me that share the same imaginative experience. I’ve concluded that searching for enchanted chalices and slaying dragons is fun, but it’s much more fun to do so with a group of friends you know and love.

Click on comics to enlarge

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