One day when I was a wee lad, full of social anxiety and young, naive nerd energy, my dad finally treated me to buying me an Xbox for my birthday. We went to GameStop and he said I could pick out 3 titles to go along with it. I knew immediately what titles I wanted, since I had been slobbering over the untapped universe of Xbox-ery for months beforehand: Halo, Fusion Frenzy (don’t hate, I was young), and Fable, supreme of which was Fable. I had heard all about the incredible adventures that lay in wait for me in this wonderful fantasy world, and could not wait to dive head first into them.
My father, being very conservative Christian, made damn sure to check in with the only employee on staff on the content of these games, and which ones would surely lead me astray from the Lord. Fusion Frenzy was plain family fun. Halo, he was told, had blood and gore, but since it was killing aliens, it got a trepidatious stamp of approval.
Violence. Crude Humor. But most egregiously: sex. It checked all the boxes of heathenry. I felt betrayed by this employee. How could he rat out my precious game out like this? Couldn’t he just be cool? My future crumbled before my eyes.
“You should get this game instead!” He suggested, holding up what appeared to me to be the most boring-ass cover art of all time. The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. It sounded like Literature Class: The Game to my dopey ass. I couldn’t be bothered to pronounce the name. “It’s a significantly better game, I promise,” he reassured us both. I was bored just hearing about it. How could this Beowulf-lookin’, woodchip flavored, soggy excuse of a fantasy title possibly measure up to the God-like status of Fable?
I left the store deeply wounded by my loss. It took me a good month before I even opened Morrowind.
But, once I put that disk in, it literally didn’t leave my Xbox for several months. Every. Single. Day. I sank deeper and deeper into the miraculous world of Vvardenfell. I wore down the physical map by overuse and pencil markings, charting out new territories to explore for hours on end. I read every text box, explored every nook, conquered every bad guy, maxed out every stat, mastered every school of magic; I was a dark elf deity, levitating through the world and smiting every evil creature that dared cross my path. I was Xylos, slayer of endless cliff runners, puppet-master of all factions, Hero of Vvardenfell.
It was my second home, and I loved it as deeply as my first. I had very few friends as a kid, and found endless solace in that deep, enchanted world.
So, thank you, GameStop employee. Thank you for placing this incredible world in the palms of some ungrateful, stubborn, deeply in-need kid. And thanks to the dev team behind Morrowind for creating such a fantastic, magical game.
P.S.: I went back and played Fable years afterwards. He was right, it was trash in comparison.
© Post "To the GameStop employee who forced me into buying Morrowind as a kid…" for game The Elder Scrolls.
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