I’ve been playing Skyrim regularly for about a month straight. It’s the only game I play, and it’s what I’ve been doing with the little bit of free time I have. I had reservations about getting into Skyrim because of how time-consuming and immersive it is, but it is actually a good game to play for my particular situation. I mostly play video games either at night before going to bed, or while I’m rocking my daughter to sleep in her Ergo carrier. This means that I need a game that a), I can play without sound since I often have a sleeping baby on me, b), that isn’t overly stressful or twitchy, since I need to be ramping down for the night, and c) that can be stopped and started at will and saved at any time. Despite the fact that Skyrim is a huge world where you can get lost for hours, its quest system is very conducive to short playing times. In the evenings I know I have about 45 minutes to play, so I’ll choose a quest or series of quests that fit into that time frame. It takes a certain amount of discipline to not fall into the “just one more quest” mindset, but I’ve made it work. I usually put on an album that is roughly 45 minutes, so that when it ends I know it is time to wrap it up.

A month in, I’m still really enjoying the game. I haven’t progressed too much on the main story, but I have completed many side quests and done a lot of exploring. I’ve started looking at new skills I can develop to keep leveling up, which will change my gameplay, forcing me to rely less on arrows and swords and more on magic. The one negative is that I have this stressfull long and unmanageable list of open quests, and sometimes it feels like work to cross them off. I’ll boot up the game thinking, “tonight I really have to get that amulet for so-and-so and explore that cave for that guy.” it can almost feel like work. And the longer I put off quests, the more underwhelming the results are. I end up with some underpowered weapons and a meager amount of money.

But I’m loving it, and I’m happy I’ve found a way to include it in my life without having it take over.