If you’re anything like me, this is what happens when you first load up the game Skyrim.
You’re a prisoner on board a cart. Everything is dark. Why is everything dark. Is it everything supposed to be dark? Does your character have a blindfold on, or is there a problem with your pirated copy of the game?
Oh, it’s the latter.
Re-install, try again.
You’re a prisoner on board a cart. The Empire is planning to execute you for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (and for illegally crossing a border). Fuck the empire. Your name isn’t on their list of prisoners to be executed, but what the hell, they already have you, might as well cut off your head. Fuck the empire.
We live in an open world game. We can do whatever we want. We don’t have to give in to the scripted dynamic we’ve been presented with.
A dragon comes and saves you by destroying an entire city. You escape.
There are rebels, fighting the good fight against the empire! You can choose between the rebels and the empire. My god, that’s the easiest choice ever presented to anyone ever. Rebel it is.
Wait, why are they called Stormcloaks? That’s a sketchy name.
Oh, they’re called the Stormcloaks because they’re racial purists and essentially Nazis. “Skyrim for the Nords!” they shout, as they seek a white ethnostate. Funny thing is… they’re colonists themselves. The empire and the rebels alike are at war with the Forsworn, the original people of Skyrim. The Forsworn are demon-worshipping savages relying on political terrorism who are secretly controlled by a wealthy elite, but my criticism of that dynamic is a rant for another time…
Anyway, the game tells you that you have to choose between the Empire and the Stormcloaks. Neoliberalism or white colonialist ethnostate.
Fuck you, Stormcloaks, for somehow finding a way to make a fucking empire that bans religions and celebrates the rich and kills indigenous peoples look good in comparison.
Those are your choices. Empire or Nazis.
Wait, or are they?
It’s an open world game. You can do whatever you want.
In case I’ve mired my already obnoxiously obvious metaphor, what I’m saying is: we live in an open world game. We can do whatever we want. We don’t have to give in to the scripted dynamic we’ve been presented with.
Mostly, what I want to do is pick flowers and make healing potions, but I suppose instead I’ll see if I can ride a dragon into battle against all these fascist scum.