Smile and Nod

Smile and Nod: Oblivion, and the Second Chance

Russ Pitts | 17 Mar 2008 17:00
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When my add-on hard drive finally showed up, I was ecstatic. Oblivion really was a great game, with tons of cool content and fun adventures, I just wasn't able to enjoy any of them. I found myself avoiding certain areas of the game or certain quests (opening doors, for example) because there would be too many loading screen between me and where I needed to be. It was like being back in high school and avoiding the West side of campus to keep from getting kicked in the gonads by the miscreants hanging out in the smoking area.

Unfortunately the hard drive didn't work. I mean, it did work, it just didn't work with Oblivion. I've since learned that this was a "known problem," in that, if you started playing the game without a hard drive, then added a hard drive later, the game would still think you didn't have a hard drive and refuse to cache, and therefore still not be any fun. I understand how this can happen. I understand a game like Oblivion is incredibly complex and they can't get everything right the first time. I know nobody is perfect. I just don't care. I paid for the game; I expected it to work as advertised. It did not, so I quit playing. Ipso facto, moving on.

Enter: my brother. He just got his Xbox this holiday. So when he turned on his Xbox 360 and fired up Oblivion, he reaped the rewards of waiting two years for the bugs to get worked out. Not only was his Xbox more than likely not going to fry itself due to shoddy manufacturing, but he also paid less than I (read: the person who bought my Xbox) paid, and as soon as he started Oblivion, the game downloaded the latest patches, which included a few performance tweaks and the fix for that stupid, unforeseeable issue I'd been having. He was having the time of his life, playing the game rather than twiddling his thumbs and waiting for something to happen. And he didn't hesitate to tell me so.

Naturally, this annoyed me. We are brothers, after all. Sibling rivalry is not a myth. So this weekend, after a long drought of being too busy to play games, I set aside a few hours to fire up Oblivion and see if a. my save files still exited, b. I remembered how to play the game and c. if it was any fun two years later. The answer to all three questions is a resounding "yes."

My "few hours" turned into four, which turned into six. On Saturday night, after having played for about four hours, I looked at the clock and decided to get in an hour or two more before bed. When I looked again, it was two hours later, almost 1 a.m., and I resolved to wrap up what I was doing. When next I looked, it was after 3 a.m. and I still wasn't ready to quit. I didn't get to bed until after 4 a.m.. This hasn't happened in a very long time.

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