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Fishing Games

Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Don't worry, Final Fantasy XV will have fishing

More like Final Fishery, amirite?
Sep 17
// Kyle MacGregor
That there is Prince Noctis Caelum, heir to the kingdom of Lucis and sometime fisherman, holding up a fresh catch. Look at that beauty dangling from his fingertips. It looks delicious. So delicious that Noctis' trav...
Iron Fish photo
Iron Fish

Unfortunately, Iron Fish isn't about a robot fish

Iron rusts... poorly designed fish
May 20
// Joe Parlock
I’ve mentioned this on Destructoid before, but I’ve had bad experiences with water and for some reason that’s transferred into a fear of eels. Those little fuckers freak me out. So developer BeefJack a...
Ultimate Angler photo
Ultimate Angler

Ultimate Angler is the new relaxed StreetPass game

Mix bait like a master
Apr 19
// Darren Nakamura
StreetPass is a strange obsession. Ever since the days of having only Puzzle Swap and Find Mii, I have been fascinated with the functionality. I carry my 3DS around with me everywhere, and when I pull it out of my pocket at t...
Ultimate Angler photo
Ultimate Angler

New StreetPass game Ultimate Angler gets dark for a brief moment

Uhh... Can I just go fishing now?
Apr 17
// Darren Nakamura
The two new 3DS StreetPass games came out yesterday. I downloaded them last night but didn't get a chance to play either until this morning. Wanting to start out with the lighthearted fishing game Ultimate Angler before taki...

Fishing sim photo
Fishing sim

Holy carp, look at this fish!

Dovetail Games Fishing
Nov 05
// Jordan Devore
The makers of Train Simulator have released their next project, a fishing sim, on Steam Early Access. It caught my attention for a few reasons, the first being that the game is way cheaper than I was expecting. Here's why: th...
Simulation photo

Unreal Engine 4 for Train Simulator and a Fishing sim are next at Dovetail

Huh, that might be good
Jul 03
// Jordan Devore
Dovetail Games, the company behind Train Simulator, said last year that it planned to break into other types of simulation games in the future. One such title is Dovetail Games Fishing, coming to PC in late 2014 with more pla...
Natsume at E3 photo
Natsume at E3

Natsume's E3 2014 lineup sure is a lineup

Harvest Moon, End of Serenity, and Alphadia Genesis lead the pack
Jun 05
// Brittany Vincent
Natsume has announced its complete E3 roster for next week, and while it's got a few high points, it's not impressing me too much. It's a strange mishmash of handheld games and iOS releases with a stray PSP game and Wii U pro...

Ridiculous Fishing brings in nearly $1M since launch

300,000 copies sold at $3
Aug 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Vlambeer founders Jan Nijman and Rami Ismail revealed at their GDC Europe presentation that Ridiculous Fishing has sold 300,000 copies, according to Joystiq. At $3 a copy, that's $900,000 in total sales. So close to $1 millio...

Kick off June with a wham bam Fishing Jam

You'll get hooked!
Jun 01
// Jonathan Holmes
Sophie Houlden held a Fishing Game Jame last week, resulting in many new fishing games for us to love, though sometimes the term "fishing" is used loosely. Sophie's game FisherClimer is still in progress, and hasn't actually ...

Ridiculous Fishing: Strategy Guide, Tips, and Tricks

Apr 06 // Niero Desu
While Ridiculous Fishing might appear to play like a straightforward variant of a bullet-hell game, there's a little more depth (sorry) than meets the eye. For example, some fish only appear during specific real-life hours of the day (try advancing iOS clock to daytime, nighttime, and midnight). Some will spawn depending on which clothing you're wearing. Certain fish can cause a silent combo chain to expedite the lure's rise to the surface, and non-linear Metroidvania strategies are the only way to unlock the rarest of creatures. Basic Mechanics Scheme. Once you're on the boat you can do one of two things: touch the jiggling thing (that's supposed to be Billy's phone, which opens your in-game menu) or tap anywhere to go fishing. You may also pause the game on the right. That covers 33% of the controls. Go deep. Tilt your phone or tablet to avoid fish on the way down. You can later purchase a chainsaw item to cut through obstacles by holding down your finger, and perform tactical hovers and attacks on the way back to the surface. Snatch up. Touch as many fish as you can on the way up. Anything that resembles a jelly fish is bad news. You'll want to collect them at least once for the first time, but otherwise they simply deduct from your score. Some jellyfish even multiply on contact, so avoid them at all cost. Jelly jerks is more like it. As you collect new species of fish, more maps will open up, allowing you to earn more money faster by having access to more valuable fish by starting mid-level in treacherous waters. I mention this now so you don't waste time grinding early levels: There will be plenty of time to do this after as you seek out rare fish later on. Shoot down. Once your lure resurfaces all of the fish are thrown into the air. Tap the fish to blow them to smithereens. Initially you're limited to a single finger, but later you can purchase multi-touch weapons for massive damage. You knew a crab boss joke was coming, get over it. The Grind When you've got some cash, go back to the surface tap Billy's phone to open the shop menu. Minor annoyance: Any time you have enough money to buy something the cash register sequence will say "1 new item" when it really means "you can afford 1 thing," not that a new unlockable has appeared. Learn the prices and set goals in your head to save yourself some time checking back and forth.  Sound plays an important factor: listen for gasoline warning and depletion instead of taking your eyes off of the lure to see your gas meter. The Byrdr is a mock Twitter app that allows you to perform real re-tweets the quirky dialogue between the game characters. Not particularly useful, but pretty funny stuff. As you unlock areas, species, and items new content will appear here. While on the topic of Twitter, you might want to follow the developer. Buy the Fishopedia from the shop as soon as you can to get some visual and text clues on where to find the first 40 or so basic fish. The rest require creative experimentation. The Shop Explained: Reels determine how deep you can fish. Buy them these upgrades when you're skilled enough to touch the bottom of an area and want to go deeper. Guns take the fish out once you've pulled them above water. Most valuable fish take quite a few shots to take down, so experiment on which best suits your play style. Some fire explosives in slow progression while others are snappier but issue less damage per shot. Lures help you snag fish on the way to the surface.  Tech is what really helps you immediately suck less: items that help you recoup from your mistakes and shortcomings as a player. You can purchase Toasters and Blow-Dryers ($2,300!) to allow you to make mistakes without being interrupted on the way down, and items like the Bowling Ball will let you begin levels halfway through to make grinding less painful. You can also use your fuel to slow the drill on the way up to nab rare fish. Misc alters the look of your character, boosts the sale value of fish, and what you wear may help you increase the odds of finding rare fish. The Emperor's Robe, for example, doubles the resale value of the fish. Each upgrade is pricey, but pays for itself over time. Why someone would pay a bounty for exploded fish parts full of lead is beyond me. Purchasing Order: The chainsaw, upgrades for your chainsaw, and more fuel for your chainsaw are the cheapest and most useful upgrades to help you score big despite your lack of skills. Even as you get better that chainsaw will be your primary saving grace, so master it! To unlock all the fish in the first three areas (to unlock the infinite mode) of the map you'll need to buy the deepest Reels. You may want to purchase the cheap tech in-between deep reels after you've found a gun that best fits your style. I'll get to that in a second:  The most expensive gun in the game isn't necessarily the best for all players. There aren't any "bad" mid-tier weapons in this game, just some that are slower than others. If you know your accuracy sucks you'll want to compensate with automatic weapons like the Uzi or Mini-Guns. If you're a natural marksman go for the stronger Shotguns, Bazookas, and Magnums. The game doesn't seem to force your play style either way. You can't see anything under 250 or so meters unless you've purchased one of the two lantern upgrades. If you make it that far and don't own one, fire up the chainsaw and wiggle your screen hoping for the best.  Map Order: There are four basic maps: Home Waters, Stormy Seas, Arctic Floes, and The Maelstrom. As soon as map is unlocked, you can move back and forth at anytime. The first three levels are relatively shallow and have quasi-boss characters at the end of them, and depending on your actions you can make other special rare fish appear only in the deep. Defeating some of the larger fish will make special apparel appear in the store, like a squid hat. You don't have to beat the third boss to unlock the fourth level: simply focus on gathering more unique species by purchasing reels to unlock it. The Maelstrom is the best place to grind for cash, so the faster you arrive the faster you can get great items. Common Sense: You can't do a quick rage-quit of a failed run, so boost often. The best way to boost is by making short, light taps to make it last. Don't hold it down unless you really need to. Get comfortable. How you sit and how you cradle the device will greatly determine how nimble your motions will be, and your game session fatigue level. If you want to smear your chest with Cheetos crumbs in bed then be my guest, but you're likely to get better results by keeping both elbows out and keeping your back straight. Hunching slightly down also puts the center of gravity in your favor, giving you better tilt precision. Videogames are serious business, especially if you have an older heavier tablet working those biceps. "The cheap upgrades suck more than the expensive upgrades." -Socrates (probably). No, seriously, max out every item category before trying to max out your Fishopedia or you're just making things harder for yourself.  As stated in the purchase order: If your weapon is good enough to knock out most fish in the air, focus on chainsaw and gasoline upgrades, but you'll want to get everything. As soon as you upgrade your drill with some gas, you're going to be tempted to just barrel down with the drill blazing, cutting everything in sight. Its fun, but its the easiest way to lose fast. Pace yourself and only use the drill as a life saver and you'll go much deeper. Navigating the fish Matrix: Look ahead of the lure, period. Don't look at your meter, don't look at your gas, don't look at the sides of the screen. Burn your eyeballs a few notches past your lure and learn to master your hitbox as you would with any bullet-hell shooter. Not all fish are procedurally drawn. There are definitive schools of fish that you can predict encountering at a certain meter limit, like the first two dense clusters of House Boat snails in the Stormy Seas. You can learn some parts of the level, and strategically save gas for the areas that give you the most trouble. Don't navigate the entire screen trying to dodge objects at random. Hold your ground and move out of the way as needed, taking the time to understand patterns and make mental marks of what depths the severe bottlenecks are located. Some are just easier to drill through than navigate. Resist temptation to just jam down the drill: pump it like a car break as needed. You'll get way more mileage this way than a panicked descent down. Tunnel vision will be the end of you. Keep the screen a decent distance away from your face and look for the openings before they touch your ship. After awhile your focus will rarely be on your ship, but rather where you want to be instead The best place to grind cash for items, hands down, is the Maelstrom.  You're earning the most dollars per minute here than the other sites, overall. I would recommend rushing through the other parts and arriving here ASAP to enjoy the best retirement. Catching The Rarest Fish Not all rare fish are sitting at the bottom of the ocean. Keep your eyes peeled for fast-moving fish near the surface of the early levels as well. Some fish only appear once per level. Most fish marked as "location unknown" are deep in the Maelstrom. A fish is considered captured when killed underwater, in the air, or when tech is used. It is absolutely worth ruining a good run and smashing through all your second-chance items just to catch one species you've never seen before, as some spawn very rarely. This rare fish guide demonstrates how to catch everything. I did notice that certain conditions across other guides vary, so there may be multiple ways to make certain fish appear. I liked this one because it has pretty pictures and was written by a real human. Setting your iOS system clock to midnight, evening, and daytime can affect the availability of creatures, like the Mimic and the sea horses. "Hey, Rich Girls." Many of the ultra-rare fish are not available until you've reached far enough in one of the levels to view the game credits. This is what the Fishopedia means by "come back in the future." This Twitter account has more great fishing tips. BONUS TIPS!  A developer from Vlambeer was gracious enough to personally review our guide for unsucky-ness. He would like to add these two sagely pieces of advice:   Avoid the carrier fish, they will screw you up. Use chainsaw during descend on high-value, high-strength fishes. They earn you the same amount of money when killed by the chainsaw. Do you have tips of your own that you'd like to share?  Sound off in the comments below!
Ridiculously satisfying photo
Requires a ridiculous amount of time
Destructoid loves Ridiculous Fishing. We can't stop talking about its clever design, quirky vernacular, and unmistakable prismatic aesthetic. Whenever I see strangers on the train playing the likes of trashy iOS games like&nb...

Review: Ridiculous Fishing

Mar 16 // Jonathan Holmes
Ridiculous Fishing (iPad, iPhone [reviewed])Developer: VlambeerPublisher: VlambeerReleased: March 14, 2013MSRP: $2.99 Like real-life fishing, Ridiculous Fishing is simple enough on the surface, but once you sink past that surface, you'd be surprised at the depths you'll plunge to. The game utilizes three phases of interconnected gameplay types to make every round of casting into a three-act adventure in and of itself.  First is the "dodge" phase. After casting your line, your goal is to dodge as many fish as possible in order to make your way as low as you can go. This runs counter-intuitive to your fishing instincts, as it pays off when you get to phase two. The farther down the briney depths you sink, the more types of fish you pass, with each new breed being more exotic and valuable than the last. [embed]248860:47604:0[/embed] When you hit a fish or reach the end of your line, your line starts its way back to the surface. That's when the "catch" phase begins. Now you play the aggressor and work to catch all those fish that you ran in fear from while passing them by in the "dodge" phase. The more fish you grab, the more fish you'll reach the surface with for the "shoot" phase. This is the part of the game where you fling your fish into the air and blast as many of them as you can with various firearms. It is ridiculous.  These three phases work on the "Pac-Man principles" of design. You're first made to feel afraid of making contact with other in-game characters, putting you in a nail-biting mode of heightened awareness as you negotiate a maze of threats and obstacles. That tension builds until the "power-pellet moment" of phase two, where the tables are turned and you work to aggressively gobble up everything that you were running from mere moments before. That rush of "get it while you can" is then turned up a notch in phase three where you have seconds to cash in on the lives of your defenseless quarry. It's an amazing formula, which is probably why the game's predecessor Radical Fishing was "admired" enough to be shamelessly ripped off by a-game-which-will-remain-nameless-as-to-reduce-how-successful-it-may-become. Suffice to say, Vlambeer (the developers of Radical Fishing and Ridiculous Fishing) had something to prove here. They had to make a game that not only made Radical Fishing totally obsolete, but would also completely outclass the game that ripped them off as well.  Vlambeer's personal drive to create the very best iteration of the Radical Fishing concept has paid off for all of us. Everything about the game has been maxed out in both content and quality. There is huge amount of fish to catch, each with their own behaviors and level of scarcity. Some of which actual steal money from you if you catch them, which is a great way to turn the the formula on its head. There are fish that can only be caught at certain times of day, in certain areas of the map, or otherwise require some unconventional means of discovery. There are even boss fish battles. No expense was spared in the creation of this world of fish and the people who kill them. The more types of fish you discover, the more areas on the world map you unlock, and the more money you're likely to acquire to use toward purchases of the game's many (often hilarious) items. There are loads of different guns, lures, and other items to collect, all of which add gameplay twists, but are never overpowered. This speaks to the game's finely tuned difficulty curve, which never leaves you feeling hopeless, but always gives you the idea that you may do just a little bit better after just "one more game." When you're not fishing, you can explore the game's largely optional narrative through the in-game Twitter parody Byrdr. What seems like a inconsequential trifle at first quickly unfolds to be quite an emotionally charged tale, which makes sense considering that it the ARG was written by The Stanley Parable creator Davey Wreden. The theme of redemption and questioning of self worth are perfectly in tune with the life of a fisherman. The art direction here utilizes an angular mosaic style that evoke the strengths of sprite-based graphics without leaning on the idea of "retro" appeal. The abstract look exudes an unpredictable, playful character that's the perfect fit for a game called "Ridiculous Fishing." The music is simple and strange, also a perfect fit for a game with such a name. Yes, perfect is the word for Ridiculous Fishing. Everything comes together to deliver a cohesive whole that works to alternate between making you smile, making you wonder, and most of all, making you want more. Thankfully, the game is quick to offer more. Just when you think you've seen the end, there's a new area, new item, a new kick in the storyline, or new fish to savor.  Ingeniously designed, continuously compelling, painstakingly crafted, dripping with personality, packed with content -- I like everything about Ridiculous Fishing.
Ridiculous Fishing review photo
It's the best fishing game
A lot of great game developers are fascinated with fishing. Pokémon, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Animal Crossing all feature the option to fish. Earthbound/Mother creator Shigesato Itoi created a ...

Let's Fish! photo
Let's Fish!

Let's Fish! Hooked On hits PlayStation Vita next week

Arcade fishing adventure
Jan 22
// Jordan Devore
When talking to another human being who doesn't play many videogames, I have to imagine trying to explain a title like Let's Fish! Hooked On would come across as mystifying. And in its own way, that's kind of awesome. It's a ...

Big Bass Arcade: No Limit baits you with a new trailer

Mar 17
// Liam Fisher
Check it out! There's totally a new trailer for Big John Games' Big Bass Arcade: No Limit for the Wii featuring those ooh-so-stunning graphics! I respect the Wii, I use mine quite a bit, but I've never understood why de...

[Update: Contest over! Winners have been picked.] It's Sega week for our 25 Days of Giving! Today, you can win SEGA Bass Fishing Challenge by helping spread the word over on Twitter! Just Retweet this Tweet from @Dtoid and yo...


Bass Pro Shop has two new games with fishing and hunting

Oct 26
// Liam Fisher
I know you've been waiting for this. XS Games has announced that 2009's Bass Pro Shops The Strike has gotten a revision: The Strike: Tournament Edition. Better still, that revision is available today for the Wii.  ...

Hands-on: Three hours with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Oct 17 // Max Scoville
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360 [Previewed], PlayStation 3, PC)Developer: Bethesda Game StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: November 11, 2011 The first time I uttered the word “Skyrim” on The Destructoid Show, I was given a crash course in Elder Scrolls fandom. It is a serious game, it is not something to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, I take very few things seriously, so this sudden backlash let me to take things even less seriously. I erroneously stated the game had a Squidbear in it (and staunchly defended my claim), I introduced an “Elder Scrolls Watch” segment on The Destructoid Show, and I proceeded to interview Skyrim’s lead artist about how many types of fish are in the game, and whether or not you can be a gay werewolf. My enthusiasm for Skyrim is genuine, but should not be misconstrued as an expertise in the lore of The Elder Scrolls. At the same time, any irreverence I show towards the game is all in good fun. The Elder Scrolls fanbase has proven itself repeatedly to be a rather humorless crowd, so I figured a disclaimer was in order. My Skyrim demo started roughly 45 minutes into the game, at the end of the tutorial section -- comparable to leaving the sewers in Oblivion or Vault 101 in Fallout 3 -- and I was given a chance to alter my character’s appearance. Character creation is something I can spend hours on, so I tried not to dawdle. Just browsing through the different races, though, it’s safe to say this game is not Oblivion or Fallout. Depending on your race’s bone structure, you’re presented with a number of different options. Argonians have different horns and warpaint choices whereas Khajiit have different fur colors and patterns. Eager to get into the world, I chose a Khajiit, made him look vaguely like Panthro from Thundercats, pushed the weight slider as far towards the “fat” end as it would go, and entered the realm of Skyrim. If there was any confusion at all, let me clarify right now: Skyrim is gorgeous. It is an absolutely beautiful friggin’ game, and anyone not lauding it as such should get a slap. Both in terms of art direction and the Creation engine’s ability to effectively give your eyes a blowjob, it’s just really damn pretty. Any given screen in Skyrim looks like the lovechild of a motivational poster and a Frank Frazetta painting. When picking my character, I chose a Khajiit because they’re one of the more visually unique races, and I wanted to see how this looked in the game. The character movement in Skyrim makes Fallout: New Vegas look awkward and dated. Watching my feline character bounding along with fuzzy cat ears and a long striped tail was so impressive (I’m actually going to hold off on making any Furry jokes.) The problem with being plopped down in front of a console and told, “here, play Skyrim for three hours” is that it’s bittersweet. That’s more than enough time to get a feel for the game, but there is so much to see and do that it’s legitimately daunting. I decided to just jump in and explore the game. The guy next to me made a beeline for the dragon battle, but I chose not to do that. We’ve already seen the dragon battle in the E3 demo, and I’d probably get my ass handed to me anyway. I found myself on the same forest path where the E3 demo began. I checked my map, and decided to make my way northeast to the nearest settlement of Riverwood. It’s a lovely little town with a mill and a few shops. One thing I was immediately curious about was blacksmithing. I approached Alvor, the Riverwood smith, and spoke to him. In Skyrim, talking to people is noticeably different from previous Bethesda games. Instead of the camera vaulting forward so the NPC being spoken to is in full, glaring mugshot view, it brings the character into focus much more subtly. By wiggling the left analog stick, you can look around a bit. If you’re bored by what the NPC is saying, you can make your character nod enthusiastically or just have him stare off into space at something in the background. It’s just like real life. I asked Alvor the blacksmith if he had any work for me to do, and he offered to teach me the smithing system. I was given a few iron ingots and some leather straps, and told to go play with the forge. The menu provided a long list of different weapons, armor, and jewelry I could create. I chose “iron dagger” from the menu and watched my guy hammer away at a red-hot piece of metal. After showing Alvor my cool new knife, he suggested I temper it on his grindstone. At the grindstone, a similar menu opened up that allowed me to upgrade the dagger’s condition to “fine.” Later in the game, while exploring a mysterious kitchen, I checked out what I could cook in the game. Like the grindstone and forge, an extremely intuitive menu popped up with eighteen different dishes I could prepare, from mammoth stew to Horker loaf. Yummy. At another point in the game, I came across a book titled “Thief.” Opening it instantly improved my lockpicking ability, much like the books and magazines in Fallout. However, after opening the book, I was given the option to actually read it by turning the pages with the left stick. We’ve heard about how there are over 300 books in the game, but actually inspecting them first-hand is impressive, especially when you come across an entire bookshelf of different titles. Cooking, blacksmithing and books (and fish) might not be exciting for everyone, but it’s such a mind-boggling example of how immersive this game is. There are plenty of games where you can fight monsters and cast spells; what makes Skyrim so incredible is the level of detail everything has. After getting bored of blacksmithing, I decided to go kill some things. I left Alvor’s blacksmith shop and wandered over to the Riverwood Trader. Inside, the owner was shouting at his wife about thieves. I asked him what the problem was, and the next thing I knew, I’d agreed to retrieve a golden claw from the Bleak Halls Barrow. In addition to crafting menus getting streamlined, Skyrim’s main menu system is refreshingly intuitive, especially compared to the journal in Oblivion or Fallout’s Pipboy 3000. The menu is brought up by tapping B, and four options are presented, arranged like points of the compass. A double tap downward of the left stick brought up the map. Having barely started the game, only a few locations were visible, so I easily found Bleak Halls Barrow. I set a waypoint and embarked on my quest. I reached the barrow and made my way inside. Gathered around a small campfire were a pair of bandits, and I kicked myself for embarking on this mission -- I’d already seen it in the E3 playthrough video. Still, the desire to kill people and steal stuff prevailed, so I made my way through the dungeon, getting the crap scared out of me by a big frost spider along the way, and eventually solving the mystery of The Golden Claw. I returned to Riverwood and gave The Golden Claw to the shopkeeper. I asked him if he had any spells for sale, and he did. I bought frostbite, fury, and one that let me resurrect people I’d killed to fight on my side as zombies. Fury makes enemies attack each other, frostbite makes them get cold damage, and the zombie resurrection one does exactly what I just said it does. It’s really badass. I decided to head into more unexplored territory. To the west, I entered Whiterun Hold, the central region of Skyrim. I was stopped by a group of Imperial soldiers who told me I couldn’t be there, and tried to lean on me for money. Considering that my character was a burly axe-wielding panther-man who could shoot fireballs, this seemed pretty stupid, so I decided to fight the soldiers. Unfortunately, after killing one of them, I got sucked into the ground underneath a bush and died. Oops. As cool as it would be if Bethesda always shipped flawless games, it’s not something we’ve come to expect from them, and unfortunately, I don’t think Skyrim will be an exception. During my three hours with the game, I died three times from getting stuck in invisible holes in the ground. I don’t know if I played a final build of the game or not, but I’ll be extremely surprised if the retail version isn’t without a few glitches. I can’t ignore problems like this, but I’m not about to let them ruin my experience. Skyrim’s got some bugs? Megan Fox has weird thumbs, I’d still bang her. After my bug encounter, I reloaded my autosave back at Riverwood. I took a different route back towards Whiterun Hold, and discovered the Honningren Meadery. I was greeted by a man named Sabjorn who told me a little bit about the meadery. While he was talking, I stole an apple pie from the table. He told me to knock it off and confiscated my pie, so I stole several bottles of mead and a honey nut treat. I then went over to his bookshelf and started reading a book about horses. Sabjorn was mad that I kept stealing his desserts, so he started punching me. I set him on fire and started hacking away at him with a sword. Oddly enough, when his life bar was depleted, instead of keeling over in a bloody pile, he simply crouched on the ground whimpering and covering his head with his hands. Apparently certain NPCs cannot be killed in Skyrim. I went exploring the meadery. In another room, two other NPCs said hello to me before Sabjorn came bursting in the door screaming at me. The NPCs then joined the invincible Sabjorn in punching me, so I ran away. Down the road a bit, I came to a guard outpost. One of the guards stopped me, and said there was a warrant out for my arrest because of the apple pie fiasco. The guard was very polite about it, and I offered to pay him my own bounty to redeem myself. He let me go about my business. In addition to being a videogame where you can steal beer and kick animals in the throat, Skyrim is also a really good hiking simulator. That might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever written about videogames, but Bethesda’s managed to make a hyper-realistic game about walking around in the woods. Videogame nature will never outdo actual nature, but as someone who lives in San Francisco and doesn’t like driving three hours to the mountains to see a tree with some snow on it, Skyim’s pretty fun to look at. Later, I met a herd of mammoths and their giant shepard. I got too close to the mammoths and was quickly trampled to death. Reloading my save, I approached the giant, and he screamed at me and then pummeled me to death with his club. Further north, I found a cairn, and was attacked by Ice Wraiths. Ice Wraiths look like flying moray eels made out of half-invisible broken glass. They were fast, mean, and my fireball spell didn’t do much to them even though they were made of ice. On the northern coast of Skyrim sits Dawnstar, a harbor town that also has a mine. I’m sure fans of Minecraft will be happy to hear that in Skyrim, you can pick up a pickaxe and go digging for ore. Inside Dawnstar’s Windbreak Inn, I convinced a bar maiden to play a song called “Ragnar The Red” for me on her flute. After that, I talked to a man in a robe. He explained that all the residents of Dawnstar had horrible nightmares and couldn’t sleep. He blamed this on the curse of a nearby witch, and asked if I’d join him in stopping her. I agreed and followed my NPC companion outside. Eager for some action, I waited while he stood there not doing anything. I ran around him in circles and made sure his quest was my active one. So when nothing happened, I wandered off and talked to some other NPCs. When I came back, my slowpoke companion finally started making his way toward wherever this nightmare witch was, but I unfortunately lost track of him. Luckily, I found a den of bandits, and fought them for a while. The map in Skyrim is great looking, but I found it a little bit tedious for actual navigation. The ornate design makes it difficult to set waypoints accurately, and this is exacerbated by too many different icons jammed into the compass on the HUD. While most of the menus are intuitive and a huge improvement over previous Bethesda games, navigation and selecting an active quest felt a little awkward. Also, my NPC companion wandered off into a blizzard like some kind of idiot Sherpa. In my last ten minutes, I stole a horse and galloped around. This made for a nice change from walking, and given the massive scale of Skyrim, I think horseback riding will be a necessity. “Epic” is a word that has been thrown around to the point of irrelevance, but it’s absolutely the right word for Skyrim. Skyrim is huge, majestic, and genuinely awe-insipring. I have no doubt that hardcore Elder Scrolls fans will play this game for the next half a decade. As for people (like myself) who are new to the series, the intuitive menu system and all-around enjoyable gameplay should be well worth getting excited about. Even if fantasy isn’t your bag, this game has a lot to offer. What struck me the most about Skyrim is how much it suspends disbelief. It sucks you into a fantasy world where you can do whatever you want, not least of which is slaying dragons and casting spells. When I was a kid, I could run around in my backyard and play pretend. As an adult, it’s harder to get lost in that same kind of make-believe fantasy. If you want a break from reality, Skyrim’s a great place to start. In any case, it’s probably a safer idea than dressing up like a knight and attacking your neighbors rosebushes with a wooden sword.

Last week, I got to do one of those things that makes me remember how cool my job is: I played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The fifth installment in the hugely successful Elder Scrolls series and one of the most eagerly antic...

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