ROG Retro: Returning to Morrowind After More Than A Decade & A Half

This past December, I was given a copy of The Elder Scrolls Online, and immediately went and got the Morrowind expansion as well. Playing the MMO, especially the Morrowind expansion, made me think back to when I first played Morrowind. This was a year or so after the game came out, and while I liked it then, I hadn’t played it since 2005. I was worried the game didn’t hold up well, after Oblivion and Skyrim advanced the series, and attempting to look back on the game years later made me reluctant to try playing again. After playing the Morrowind expansion for ESO however, I felt now was as good a time as any.

Before I started playing again, I decided I wanted this to be a pure retrospective run. I had no mods whatsoever installed, meaning whatever bugs were in the game ended up staying put. Upon loading up and starting to play, I was instantly taken back to my youth and playing the story of a newcomer to the strange land of Morrowind once again. But what shocked me about the game, was how much my fear was misplaced. Yes the game had aged, and the visuals didn’t look so great anymore, but they were not as bad as I had feared. Yes the game lacked many features that would be a big part of later games, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to keep playing and rediscovering things.

Nostalgia is a powerful influence on our memories and I had been worried constantly that looking past a nostalgia filter would show how bad the game truly was, but I feel the inverse happened. I had built it up in my mind so much that the game didn’t age well, that when I finally played again, it was an excellent experience still. Granted there was a learning curve as I had to remember how to do certain things, as well as how to unlearn other things. My muscle memory from Oblivion and Skyrim tended to get in the way for a while, as the games are very different, but this also made me appreciate how unique Morrowind really is as a game. It is considered the breakout title in the series (although I personally still feel Daggerfall is the more important title), and there is a reason Skyrim was designed to harken back to Morrowind more than to Oblivion.

Playing again and exploring the Island of VVardenfell, I cam to appreciate how far the series had come and also the unique nature of the series. The Elder Scrolls is a series that can reinvent itself every time in order to give a new experience. While many games can claim this, it is not the same since The Elder Scrolls universe doesn’t just grow and adapt with new entries but completely reimagines possibilities. Going from a  traditional western fantasy, to a truly bizarre fantasy land, back to a European fantasy land, then to a northern European inspired land with its own twists and turns, The Elder Scrolls shows there is nothing off limits to the dream.

I urge you all to look back on this series again, and if you fear it has aged too pearly, you might be surprised. I even sort of want some of the unvoiced NPCs to be a thing again in future installments in some way, just so the world can feel more lived in and there can be more personal interactions. if anything I learned from this experience, that you can end up fearing nostalgia to the point of hurting your own memories of something. Based on this, I will be taking a look again at other games I haven’t touched in years. I want to see what else still feels good, and I look forward to doing so. Perhaps next though, I will take a look again at Arena, another game I felt didn’t age too well. I hope you will join me then.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion and experience of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

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