4 December 2011

Good storytelling

Spend quite a bit of time on Skyrim the past couple of weeks, the fifth installment of the sandbox role playing game (RPG) that allows you to do whatever you want and whatever pace, usually along the lines of becoming a powerful warrior and defeating whatever comes between you and your goal.

Including freaking dragons.

I'm not going to wax lyrical about the game or describe what it's all about as it is already done to death by countless community wikis or game sites,  but instead talk about one part of the game that I find to be most unexpectedly poignant.

Throughout the many journeys all over the game map looking for a fight or things to explore (usually the former), I arrived at a small town and was appointed as the Sherlock Holmes of the game to investigate the case of foul play.

Happy little chicks playing in a box?

A mother and daughter perished in a fire in that town that had everybody talking, not of sympathy or grief but more about the scandalous nature of how the husband switched hearts within a week to another woman.

Long story short, one part of the investigation required that my character visit the burnt down house to find nothing but the apparition of the little girl named Helgi. My character agreed to play 'hide-n-seek' with the spirit of the dead girl but only after dark.

What got me were the few lines that she spoke (paraphrased as I can't remember the exact dialogue):

"It was so hot and I was so afraid. Then it was cold and I am not hurt anymore", all in the tone of innocence (or ignorance of her own state).

Little Helgi was a lot creepier than this, glowing blue et al.

At the end of the quest she then bid goodbye:

"Thank you for helping mother. I'm feeling so tired, I think I will sleep for a while...", as the option to 'talk' to her casket disappeared.

I sat there somewhat numbed, either by how expertly crafted the little bit of dialogue was or by how much I actually felt somewhat moved that her journey for the long rest has come to an end.

This, folks, is good story telling.

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