The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a game developed by Bethesda Studios. The game was originally created for the 360 and PC, coming out in March of 2006. Exactly a year later, the game was then released for the PS3. The game itself is a sandbox/open world action-RPG, often praised for its large amount of content and graphical detail at the time. I enjoy the game quite a bit, but not so much in the ways that the creators intended.
I think the reason I played Oblivion so much in the first place was due to the fact that I had just purchased a HDTV. Playing Oblivion on a 62” HD was pretty awesome, and far outshined my ten year old 32”. I was really impressed by the world itself and simply the way everything looked, especially with the day/night cycle. It was exciting to play such a nice looking game on a huge TV.
That’s not to say these are the only things in the actual game I liked or what encouraged me to keep playing. I enjoyed how open ended the world was, and how character building was very customizable (though I disliked the idea of having to do things repeatedly in order to level them up. It just took too long). I also greatly enjoyed the musical score, which never seemed to become dull or repetitive. Truthfully, the music may have been the highest point of the game for me. Ironically, none of these reasons are why I’ve returned to the game over the years. One could say I’ve come back for, literally, all of the wrong reasons.
You see, Oblivion is a game that is certainly not without its fair share of flaws. Yet, for whatever reason the things I perceive to be flaws have become very endearing to me. For instance, I’ve always joked with my friends that the character’s faces generally look extremely awkward and shiny, as if they are reaching critical mass. Really, it doesn’t seem to matter what character one is making, the skin always has an awkward look to it. The game also allows the creator to make some really horrible looking characters (which can be very amusing). I tend to like these things.
He looks like he’s about to blow up.
Radiant AI Is “Great”
Probably the largest flaw in the game is in regards to the dialogue and the AI. One might notice while playing the game that the AI characters have a tendency to talk to one another, but it’s often conversation that doesn’t make much sense or is very repetitive. Here’s a good example.
What makes this better is that the game recycles the same ~eight voice actors again and again. This is very noticeable after some hours of playing the game, and kind of surprising that they didn’t just use some more voice actors. However, this simply adds to the unintentional humor/fun in the game, so I’m rather happy they didn’t.
One of the most amusing AI conversations/actions I’ve seen has to be with Rimalus Bruiant and his dogs. The clip for this can be found here
. I think the clip just speaks for itself, really. Honestly, I laugh just about every time I watch that, which furthers my love for the Radiant AI system Bethesda created for the game, and the seemingly vast amount of bugs present within it.
My favorite memory of the game has to do with a bug I accidently found with some friends. Now, at the time of us discovering this, I’m sure it was already widely available/covered on the internet. It was, however, brand new to us since at this point we hadn’t really looked into the bugs in Oblivion. I was watching one of my close friends while he was playing the game. This particular friend generally only plays Oblivion to mess around in it and specifically to exploit a lot of the bad AI programming and laugh about it all. In this instance, I believe he was trying to escape some mud crabs by swimming and jumping in the water with the game set to third person view (by the way, the game looks really awkward while jumping in third person view…for some reason Bethesda decided not to make a believable jumping animation. Maybe they thought people wouldn’t switch the perspective). As anyone knows, Oblivion plays some pretty serious music when an enemy is chasing after you, even if it’s just a simple mud crab (this would later add to the humor value). After swimming through the small section of water, continuously jumping up and down, we arrived at the other side where dry land awaited. After a final jump onto land, we were met with a very amusing surprise: Our character continued his swimming animation, floating slightly above the ground. We were so taken aback by this at the time that we couldn’t help but laugh until we were crying. It was just so
Climbing to the top was not nearly as fun as jumping off.
Another thing we greatly enjoyed doing was climbing to the very top of a certain tower in the game (I believe it was the wizard’s tower DLC), casting a custom spell that improved jumping height and speed, then trying to jump off of the tower and see how far we could go. Yes, this is very silly in practice, but we have a save point right at the top of that tower and I’d imagine we’ve jumped off of it at least 100 times. There’s just something about how absurd the death animation looks when our character lands, or how he begins to roll down the hill, or something.
It’s just one of those random things that we find endlessly funny. I guess Eda Vinorman taught us well.
Have you ever played a game where the bugs and/or poorly designed aspects stood out to you as being a good or entertaining thing, and more so one of the game’s higher points? I have to imagine there are many games out there that end up being fun and entertaining, but in a completely unintentional way. I’d love to hear some thoughts on this!