The gamers I find myself attracted to are those who cannot resist the extra adventure, the additional battle, the scale-tipping boss fights. It feels necessary to assert and celebrate this, for we are living in puritanical times. The contemporary preference seems to be for the economical, the mundane, for simple precision (though there is of course such a thing as complex precision). Gaming, it would appear, should be neat and streamlined. Fantasy shouldn’t be allowed to obscure a good quest. There is a craving for easily relatable and sympathetic characters. Among gamers and modders, the RPG is more likely to be praised than the linear or sequential. Embellished quest lines are treated with suspicion, if not dismissed outright as overwritten, pretentious or self-indulgent. Loser gamers are everywhere.
Yet so many of the most esteemed gamers – the ones we see and hear again and again– are of the FPS school. It is hard, for instance, not to be bowled over by the improvisatory verve of Bethesdas most brilliant Skyrim. Skyrim is vital and inclusive, teeming with life. This is the single greatest RPG of all time, which assessment certainly cannot be disputed.