Now, Skyrim is a game that needs no introduction. It’s been ported to just about every conceivable device that can run it (including some high-tech Japanese refrigerators, probably). It’s consumed hundreds of hours of the lives of gamers all around the world. It’s achieved Madonna- and Cher-esque levels of fame, meaning that it’s usually referred to only but that one name, Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat, as the meme goes.
There’s really no way to oversell the monumental impact this game has had. It first launched way back in 2011, and avid fans are still starting new playthroughs with different build ideas to this day. Heck, you’re probably going to end up settling on a super-stealthy archer yet again, but what’s the harm? It’s Skyrim, after all, and you are coming back to it.
Critically acclaimed and generally regarded to be among the best games ever made, this was the game that brought the venerable Elder Scrolls series to the world’s attention. It’s a fantastic experience, but –as with any game—it has its flaws and foibles. If you were around for the launch way back when, you’ll remember that it had technical issues out the wazzoo.
The situation’s been much improved in that regard, but no version is free of all of this glitchiness. No version is free of shonky decisions, logical failures, and general absurdity, either. Granted, most of these issues fall under the banner of necessary suspension of disbelief for gameplay’s sake, but this is all in the name of fun. For snark’s sake, then, here’s a huge Skyrim fan pointing out some of the famous (and ridiculous) things that make no sense about Skyrim.
25 Item Weight Is Hilariously Bad
If you’ve ever played the Soulsborne series, you’ll know that armor weight is a huge deal (not Bloodborne, though, the much-beloved PS4 exclusive did away with this system). If you’re clanking around like Final Fantasy IX’s Steiner in heavy armor and flailing a broadsword around, you face the dreaded fat roll. This is the price you pay for being heavily armored.
In Skyrim, this same rule applies, but with regards to the item in your inventory too. As we’ll see later, the game does not take a remotely realistic approach to storage chests, so where in heckola does the whole items in your inventory all count as things you’ve got stored in an imaginary rucksack on your back thing come from?
24 Hang On, Dragon. I Gotta Eat This Apple
As they always say, the holidays are not a time to commit to a diet. It’s a time to see family you only visit once a year (and, after about thirty seconds with them, remember why you only see them once a year), spend time together and eat the Incredible Hulk’s bodyweight in snacks and treats.
Christmas, that annual crime against our waistlines, would be very different in the Skyrim world. Food, after all, acts as an HP recovery item and takes up space and weight in your inventory. This means that, yes, the more you eat the more weight you lose!
23 Why Does No One Reconize Me?
Now, we can’t gripe about the fact that we, the legendary heroes and protagonists of the story, are still made to buy items in shops and such. After all, that’s the way upgrading equipment and stocking up on items works in RPGs. It’s logically junk, but you can’t question it.
That’s all well and good, but Skyrim takes that sort of thing just a step too far. If, for instance, you’re saving an entire town from a rampaging dragon single-handedly, but happen to accidentally clip an unfortunate chicken in the process, you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a bounty from the town guards.
I can’t help but think they’re taking the idea of being a jobsworth to the absolute maximum here.
22 Armor Weight Is Also Hilariously Bad
Hastening back to the weight of items and the effects of such on your character, I’ve got another snarky gripe to point out.
As we know, everything in your pack/satchel/invisible My Little Pony backpack you’re keeping all your inventory items inside has a weight.
This is an Elder Scrolls mechanic, and one that’s supposed to make you feel like you’re an actual adventurer, overburdened by items and having to make the right choices for the task at hand at all times.
All of which I can appreciate, as well as the fact that you’re slowed by heavy armour and such. The only issue is, how is it that you can still climb down cliffs and jump?
21 About That Cliff-Climbing…
Well, okay, yes. You’re right, friends. Before we move on, I’ve got to address something else: I may have been a little optimistic and generous there, saying that you can climb down cliffs in Skyrim. What I really meant to say was, you can awkwardly make your way down less-daunting drops.
If you’re looking to do so with elegance, grace and a decently-animated descent… well, you’re playing the wrong game. Scrambling down any sort of height is a glitchy mess, and something that the game absolutely cannot handle. That’s the price we pay for a vast and detailed world, though: you can’t look too closely at the little issues.
20 The Legendary Blacksmith Of The Teeny Daggers
Now, this one, I’m a little conflicted on. On the one hand, yes, practice is the key to becoming proficient at just about any task. In the Skyrim world, you’ll notice, you’re constantly leveling up in some stat or other, from the obvious ones (using a bow more often increases your proficiency at archery) to the more obscure. That makes a good deal of sense.
The strangeness comes in when you notice just how easy it is to manipulate this system. Should I really become a master in all things blacksmith by repeatedly crafting the same simple item over and over and over and over? Are you sure about that?
19 Horses Are Way To Weak And Clumsy In Skyrim...
Now, I’ve not had much experience with horses, but I can tell you one thing: they’re pretty darn big, powerful creatures. Have you ever seen a human running with a horse on their back? Darn, right you haven’t, because they’re much stronger and sturdier than we are. That’s the way things work.
In Skyrim, and vanilla Skyrim in particular, the flimsiness of horses is a real issue. Mods exist to make them a little more resilient, but some versions of the game (the more recent Nintendo Switch port, for instance) don’t have that luxury. If you’re used to Epona’s sturdiness in the Legend of Zelda games, you’re going to have a rude awakening when your steed stumbles over ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL here.
18 Because It’s *ALWAYS* Cheese Wheel Time
Now, there are certain things that just aren’t considered acceptable in our everyday lives.
If you meet somebody on the street and stop for a conversation, for instance, they may be a little perturbed if, mid-sentence, you suddenly whip 50 wheels of cheese out of your backpack and violently and swiftly chowed down on them all.
And that’s just mid-conversation. If an enormous and furious dragon suddenly swooped down on the pair of you, that would complicate matters of social etiquette even further.
In Skyrim, though, it’s totally fine to scroll through your inventory mid-battle, demolishing all the food you have in there to restore your health.
17 Why Can You Only Equip One Ring At A Time?
Much of the enduring appeal of Skyrim comes from its vast scope for customization and creativity. You’re free to start a whole new save as a whole new persona, role-playing as you like, combining character classes, equipment and specializations to ensure that no playthrough is ever quite like another.
With that in mind, there’s one thing that’s always struck me as very, very odd: You can only equip one ring at a time. What’s that about? I mean, I’m not asking for Mr. T levels of needless jewellery, but come on.
16 What’s The Use-By Date On This Thing?
Now, I totally understand that this is one of the things you’re just not supposed to question. It’s like pointing out that Arnold Schwarzenegger only reloaded twice during a whole two-hour movie’s worth of taking out the human trash. Just for the sake of being persnickety, though, I’m going to point out one of the most common issues people have with Skyrim logic.
The food in that dungeon? The food you found on an unfortunate traveler’s skeleton? How is it still in perfect edible condition? That’s some special kind of meat right there, friends.
As the internet likes to say, I literally cannot even.
15 Why Does Shouting Only Work Sometimes?
And now for another intriguing element of Skyrim. Even if you’ve never played the game, you’ve surely heard about the Dragonborn and their incredible FUS ROH DAH.
It’s the odd dragon-language shouting attack that spawned a thousand snarky memes. It’s an odd concept, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how it works and what it’s all about, but there it is. It’s just part of what makes Skyrim… Skyrim.
You’ve got to wonder, though, about the all-powerful Dragonborn and their FUS ROH DAHs. How is it that you can bellow dragons to their doom, but you can’t open doors that way.
Is it a Doctor Who type situation, where the Doctor’s open-anything sonic screwdriver doesn’t work on wood?
14 And Why Doesn't The Environment Respond To Shouts Too?
Speaking of which, maybe the trees in Tamriel have some kind of mysterious properties we don’t know about. If they don’t, the architects and interior decorators of the region have a lot to answer for.
This whole continent (and beyond), as we know, has a well-publicized dragon problem. We’re not just talking about dragons who head into town every now and then to take hilarious check me out, I’m being Godzilla selfies with terrified humans for their dragon friends, either. One of these guys wants to destroy the world.
Defenses are necessary, then. Which makes it extra inexplicable that most people’s houses seem to be made of wood.
13 The Mystery Of M’aiq
Now if there’s one thing I can always appreciate, it’s an odd little easter egg. If there’s anything I can appreciate even more than that, it’s a snarky little easter egg that escalates, is carried forward, and becomes a meme in its own right.
M’aiq the Liar has definitely done that. this off character is a Khajiit, an NPC who appears not only in Skyrim but elsewhere in the Elder Scrolls series (apparently they’re different M’aiqs, but essentially the same character).
While it’s a neat idea, I don’t quite understand the thought process behind having an NPC whose only purpose is to spread misinformation and odd commentary on things.
12 Those Rowdy NPCs
There’s more to worry about in the wide and wacky world of Skyrim, though. Much, much more. Deceptive hairy cat-men are one thing, but least M’aiq the Liar isn’t super aggressive on sight.
As you proceed through the story and your deeds become ever grander (and shared throughout the world), you would think that your reputation would precede you. That nobody would want to mess with the fabled warrior in the swaggy new armor.
Oddly, though, just to keep you fighting on your travels, every two-bit bandit and other feeble opponents wants to tangle with you. They really should know better.
11 The Magical Narnia That Is The Storage Box
That’s right, friends. We’re onto the big-ticket item now. One of those game mechanics that every snarky, persnickety player just loves to question: the seemingly bottomless storage chest.
If you’ve played Resident Evil, you’ll know the endless inventory-wrangling is just part of life around here. If you were playing as Chris and only had six slots to play with, you’d be constantly trekking back and forth to drop things in the mansion’s item chests. They would, of course, magically transport themselves to whichever box you happened to be closest to, regardless of which one you dropped them off in.
Skyrim, for all its supposed ‘realism’ when it comes to assigning weights to items, clearly has zero issues with this concept either.
10 My, Karliah, What Purple Eyes You Have
Yep. I don’t quite know what happened here, but happen it did. We’ve just got to make our peace with it.
As we all know, the Elder Scrolls franchise is not afraid to dive straight into the fantasy tropes when it comes to populating its worlds and games. Dark elves, cat-people, swarthy dwarves… they’re all here. They tend to be relatively consistent when it comes to the traits of these races, but not so with the mysterious Karliah.
The Dunmer (dark elves) tend to have red eyes, but Karliah, of the Nightingales and Thieves Guild, sports distinctive purple ones. There are all manner of theories as to why this is, but it’s generally agreed that it’s just a unique and neat thing.
It’s quite popular with fans, to the extent that mods exist to give some of the game’s other Dunmer purple eyes, as well as to make it an option for the player character themselves.
9 The Potion Names Are Too Hilarious For Words
Skyrim veterans have probably gotten themselves some darn good experience with the game’s alchemy system. With this, you can brew up a whole range of potions and poisons, using different quantities of various items you’ve accrued on your journey.
Some will buff you, some will damage or debuff enemies, some can be combined with arrows as handy coatings… if you can get your head around its intricacies (and it can be a darn complex system), you’ll find it a very useful weapon in your arsenal.
The thing is, though, the results of your alchemy can just be hilarious. It’s the names of the potions that get me every time. Take the Poison of Weakness to Poison, for instance, which gave rise to the meme, yo, dawg, I heard you like poison. So we put some poison in your poison, so you can weaken while you poison.
And now the word poison has lost all meaning. I hope you’re happy with yourself, Skyrim.
8 Is Nothing Sacred?
Now, I get it, I really do. Skyrim prides itself on being a go anywhere, do anything sort of experience. That’s what keeps players coming back time and again. That’s what makes everybody’s Skyrim playthroughs uniquely different.
There are some things that are just outright uncool, though. One time, I got into a fight with an angry townsperson, things got out of hand, it all escalated quickly, and he lay there in the dust. The same happened to his equally-angry wife.
What happened next? I’ll tell you what happened next, friends: I adopted their son. That’s what happened next.
Considering the way town guards treat anyone who simply pokes a chicken (albeit with a spear) in their presence, I’ll admit that I was totally surprised that this turn of events was considered okay by the game.
7 What’s Going On With The Economy?
Now, some of us good Tamriel-dwellers like to earn an honest living. No thanks, Thieves’ Guild, I’m going to go ahead and pay for my food, clothes, equipment, items, and so forth.
If you go about things in Ye Olde honest way, you’re going to find yourself… well, buying and selling. Which is, you’ve surely noticed, a bit of a sticky area. Because that’s where Skyrim’s shonky economy comes into play. What’s the deal with gold? What’s the deal with house prices, the value of enchanted items, all of these things? Where is all the production happening? The farms and the like?
6 When The Dark Brotherhood Gets Dark
Now, we should’ve known better, shouldn’t we? We’re talking about the Dark Brotherhood. This isn’t Barney The Dinosaur’s Adorable Pink And Fluffy Brotherhood Of Fun And Good Times, is it?
As such, if you hop into this questline, you’ve got to expect things to get darn dark darn fast. True enough, there you are searching the house of a child who is trying to perform the Black Sacrament, a ritual that requires real human body parts.
Where did the little guy get them from? How did he do it? I tried not to think too much about the answers to these questions, to be frank.
5 What’s Link Doing Here?
As I’ve mentioned, the Skyrim gravy train rolled on anew when yet another version was released: the Switch port. This was a huge deal, marking the first time that the much-beloved RPG hit a Nintendo platform. It was also a big name to add to the Switch’s roster, in terms of third-party titles. Not to mention the fact that it also marked Skyrim’s first portable appearance.
This edition of the game also featured a little Nintendo-exclusive content: Link’s tunic, Master Sword and Hylian Shield from the Legend of Zelda franchise.
I appreciated this for the neat little slice of fanservice it was, but it also looked totally out of place in this familiar world at times.
4 The Problem With Pickpocketing (Part One)
Morality systems are a popular concept in video games. Over the course of the story, you’ll often be given a choice between different courses of action. Sometimes, this will have very little difference on the overall outcome (if any at all), and other times, it’s be utterly pivotal to getting a certain ending or the like.
Skyrim is subtler with this notion. You can be super-nice and actually pay for everything you need, you can pinpoint a few select items to steal from a few select people, or you can… just pickpocket everybody. In any case, for whatever reason, you can clearly see everything NPCs are carrying, in a convenient list.
3 The Problem With Pickpocketing (Part Two)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking down the street and seen an abandoned shoe or sock just left there on the path. I’m completely baffled as to how this can happen, how you could arrive home with only one shoe on and not have felt anything.
That’s one of the great mysteries of our time, right there, but it’s also just another nuance of Skyrim’s shonky realism. Speaking of pickpocketing, you’re actually able to literally steal people’s clothes right off their backs in the game.
It’s quite a thing to behold, too, there’s no doubt about that.
2 The Problem With Pickpocketing (Part Three)
All of these are things that I can totally accept. As I’ve already said, a game world can be as realistic and non-‘gamey’ as its creators want it to be, but players are still going to have to suspend their disbelief a little.
You can see which items an NPC is holding because that’s a necessary game mechanic. You can steal clothes and leave people in their skimpies because clothing is an important part of your equipment, and you want the chance to be able to take it. These are gripes, for sure, but I can accept them.
What can I not accept? I’m glad you asked, friends. The fact that you can pickpocket ghosts, that’s what. How’s that a thing?
1 The Fearsome Chickenmancer Strikes!
Through your epic Skyrim quest, you’re going to encounter a whole range of challenges. Twisty-turny dungeons will see you getting lost, vicious monsters will stalk your every moves, you’ll constantly be checking FAQs to make sure it’s okay to take out that one NPC you don’t like the look of… it’s a difficult business.
Of all the challenges you’ll face, none is more formidable than the battle with the wizard near Geirmund’s Hall. He’s a novice necromancer, who will summon a chicken to fight on his behalf as you approach.
Not even a special, buffed-up chicken who’s good at sports, just a regular one. I’m not sure what’s going on here either.