Thursday, January 19, 2017

Skyrim: Adoption & Why I can't parent



Skyrim is an amazing game that's six years old and still going strong. It features a civil war between the Empire and some rebels. You aren't really a "hero" in the game as you, if you play it all the way through, wind up being head of the thieve's guild and head of the assassin's guild in addition to being in charge or a bunch of werewolves who only gain levels by eating the bodies of those they have killed. All in all... it's a little morally gray area here. Maybe those people you assassinated needed it? Grelod the Kind was a heinous person to run the orphanage. If anybody was asking for it she was.

The problem with wars, civil and otherwise, is they make orphans. And orphans need adopting. So, with the Hearthfire expansion, Skyrim added the ability to adopt orphans to the game and the orphans actually talk and interact with you, their parent. They talk and interact with each other as well. Sometimes I'll come home from a long day adventuring and find them in the living room arguing. I'll tell them both to stop and send them to their room. Eventually they stopped fighting. They could learn! The AI in the game took into account my behavior and changed THEIR behavior.

Then I lost my game due to carelessness and had to start over. Dangit! My poor orphaned kids! Wait. What else did they program the AI to do? What else will the Skyrim programmers let my kids learn? I wonder.

Enter The Prince and the Frog. Up above you see the Prince. I adopted him. Next is the Frog. I adopted him as well and so began an experiment. Remember, these are new kids. They hadn't learned not to argue yet. So, I started off with them in my home and they would argue and I would discipline only the Frog. The Prince I would give a sweet roll to. Periodically they will come up to me and ask me for money. The Frog gets nothing. And as soon as I'm done with the "I don't have any money" dialog I tell him to do chores. The Prince I give the maximum amount of money allowed in the game, every time.

The game has a functionality where you can play games like tag or hide and seek with the kids. When I play hide and seek with the Frog as soon as he hides I leave and never look for him, leaving him out there in the cold, perhaps being chased by a giant or a dragon! I dunno. Meanwhile I continue to shower the Prince with gifts of sweets, new clothes, toy swords, money, books, all he could possibly want. The Frog gets nothing.

Well, almost nothing. I recently gave him a dagger. An enchanted soul stealing Dragonbone Dagger. Now, if he wants what his brother has he has a way of getting it. All he has to do is use the dagger and it's all his.

Meanwhile, I don't sleep at home any more. It's not safe. He has a dagger.

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