Admitting Your Addiction Is The First Step

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I once thought I was a bit of a blogging addict. To get settled into work I would read my blogs. I’d tune back in while eating my lunch. And if I went on vacation, I thought about the huge number of unread feeds. Heck, I even went and got involved in RSS Bandit and Subtext so that I could work on the means of delivering blogs.

Oblivion Box But now I realized that my blogging addiction is merely the mild craving for milk after a cookie. I have discovered what true addiction is, and its name is Oblivion.

Steve Yegge was right when he says…

…if you’re not playing Oblivion, then I highly, nay strongly recommend that you don’t start, or you’ll suddenly develop an aversion to Real Life…

This is quite simply the best computer game I have ever had the pleasure to play. I remember spending hours as a kid playing such classics as the Phantasie, Ultima III, Ultima IV, The Bard’s Tale and Dungeon Master. Dungeon Master at the time elevated the FRPG genre for me because it was the first that really incorporated first person realtime playing. But I remember drawing up plans for the ultimate game. Apparently Bethesda swiped those plans from my brain and decided to do even better.

So why is this game so damn addicting? It is a combination of a lot of things really. First, the skill based system really seems to mean something. I remember there was never a point in playing a thief in most role playing games because you would just get killed first. Most games were simply hack and slash fight your way out of every situation.

Oblivion Screenshot But with Oblivion, you have the opportunity to really put those sneaking and lockpicking skills to good use in daring missions where simply blasting your way through really isn’t a good option. I also like the fact that lock-picking isn’t simply rolling a die and comparing it to a skill (though you can resort to that option). You have the ability to actually try and pick that lock.

If there were no other characters in the game, it would be like Myst, but with the ability to fully explore your environment. The scenery in this game is jaw dropping.

But ultimately, I think the open-ended gameplay really kicks it up a notch. After a short stint as a gladiator (got my ass handed to me) my character is now working his way up the Thieves guild and trying to advance in the Mage’s guild. At the beginning of the game, some important Emporer got shanked and I am supposed to deliver his amulet somewhere, but I sort of got sidetracked.

Now I am travelling around, checking out the scenery, and getting way too little sleep. I suppose I should look into delivering this amulet, but first I have some pilfered goods to fence off and I want to help this half-orc reclaim his heritage.

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18 responses

  1. Avatar for Andy Stopford
    Andy Stopford May 10th, 2006

    Stay away from Warcraft Phil, lost most of my freinds to that game. Personally I am waiting for Halo 3..... !!!!!

  2. Avatar for Sean Chase
    Sean Chase May 10th, 2006

    LOL, I'm totally addicted to World of Warcraft. If the first step is admitting your addiction, I can do that. I'll take the next step some other time. :-)

  3. Avatar for Mikey
    Mikey May 11th, 2006

    I have finally beaten my addiction. It took 86 hours in about a three week span but every second was worth it. I wasn't satisfied to just beat the main story either. I am head of every guild, grand champion of the area... you name it, I had to do it.
    Every victory was like another hit off the pipe. Warcraft? SW: Galaxies? These are just gateway drugs. Oblivion is the life-ruining white powder they warn you about in school.

  4. Avatar for Scott Hanselman
    Scott Hanselman May 11th, 2006

    Damn you Haack. I was writing this same post on the plane.
    Truly, if you love your family and children, don't play Oblivion. It'll consume you.

  5. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked May 11th, 2006

    Ha ha ha... I read the blog post from the guy above Mikey in which he plays for 86 hours over 3 weeks. Damn!
    It's really tough because I'm trying to run a business here and every free moment I want to get in a few minutes.
    Who here can help me come up with a valid reason to give my wife to plunk down $500 on a new graphics card?
    I've seen a nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB for $488.

  6. Avatar for Scott Hanselman
    Scott Hanselman May 11th, 2006

    $500 for a card? Geez, man, buy an XBox360 for $400 and take your wife to dinner and a show with the other $100.
    $500 for a Graphics Card, tan loco $500. Porque sabes que you don't need the card.

  7. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked May 11th, 2006

    Hmmm... I never considered that idea. How does an XBox 360 compare against a Dual Core 3.0 GHZ running nVidia 6800 (what I have now)?
    The environment in Oblivion is a big draw for me, so I'd like to turn on more of the effects (shadow, lighting, distance, etc...) up higher. Do you have a lot turned up on the XBox 360?
    As for the $500, it's kinda a joke. I gotta present her the sticker shock option, then slide in with the 7900 GT for only $300.
    Of course, when my wife reads this, she'll know better.

  8. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked May 11th, 2006

    As W would say, it's called strategery.

  9. Avatar for Scott Hanselman
    Scott Hanselman May 11th, 2006

    All Xbox360s games have the same graphics settings. High. Full stop. It runs at 30fps locked, AFAIK. I run at 1080i on a 40" screen and sit about 8 feet away.
    I walked all the way to the top of the north mountain and turned around and could see about ~4km away the top of the spire of the Imperial City. Clouds were moving by. I suspect, and I have no data to support this, that the graphics on an XBox360 are very much comparable to a 6800, if not greater.
    i believe it's a ATI Radeon R600
    64 Shader pipelines (Vec4+Scalar)
    32 TMU's
    32 ROPs
    128 Shader Operations per Cycle
    900MHz Core
    107.3 billion shader ops/sec
    512GFLOPs for the shaders
    2.5 Billion triangles/sec
    27.6 Gpixels/Gtexels/sec
    256-bit 512MB 1.8GHz GDDR4 Memory
    59.6 GB/sec Bandwidth (at 1.8GHz)
    WGF2.0 Unified Shader
    But don't quote me.

  10. Avatar for Scott
    Scott May 11th, 2006

    How do you guys find enough time to play even 2 hours of a video game? I can barely find enough time to finish a Sudoku puzzle and I'm only getting 5 hours of sleep a night. I've got games sitting next to my Xbox:Classic that I haven't finished (Fable for one). The entire Xbox is getting traded in for a Nintendo DS Lite in June. It's easier to play during the bus ride to work or during lunch.

  11. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked May 11th, 2006

    You let yourself sleep 5 hours?! Slacker! ;)
    Well I basically let other responsibilities slide for a few days until they pile up so much that I have to quit gaming for a while.

  12. Avatar for Steve Harman
    Steve Harman May 11th, 2006
    Well I basically let other responsibilities slide for a few days until they pile up so much that I have to quit...

    Now that is the a slacker attitude that any 6eek can appreciate!
    Oh, and a word of wisdom:
    It is typically not wise to divulge your strategery to your enemy [in this case, your wife]... unless of course you're taking the old reverse-psychology approach? In which case I applaud you and congratulate you on being the proud owner of a new nVidia 7900 GTX.

  13. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked May 11th, 2006

    Actually, I'm getting a refurbished ATI X1900XT. Jeff Atwood pointed out that it beats out the nVidia 7900 in Oblivion benchmarks and the price is right.

  14. Avatar for Thomas
    Thomas May 14th, 2006

    Phil - I am also interested in the same idea. Spend the money on an XBox or get a graphics card. You might like this comparison here. Roll your mouse over each image to see the Xbox.
    Very interesting.

  15. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked May 14th, 2006

    I'm sticking with the PC because of all the Oblivion mods available.

  16. Avatar for Mikey
    Mikey May 14th, 2006

    As to the question of how to dedicate the necessary time to Oblivion... luckily I started the game about 3 days after I took a nasty skating spill. For at least a week I was pretty much sedentary. A half hour in the morning before work, an hour over lunch, a couple hours at night... it's easy to blow that kind of time when you can reply to any of the wife's requests with 'But I'm hurt'.
    So my advice to anyone starting their Oblivion quest... injur yourself. Just be sure not to mangle the hands or fingers too badly.

  17. Avatar for you've been HAACKED
    you've been HAACKED May 20th, 2007

    Is Web Development The Only Development That Matters?

  18. Avatar for Alan Johnson
    Alan Johnson March 7th, 2011

    Looking up an Oblivion mod where the guy who does the Bosmer voices in the vanilla game is doing voices for the mod. Sweet.