One of the biggest and best jokes of Bethesda's E3 2018 Conference is now a reality. It's now possible to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Amazon Echo.
During the presentation, Bethesda had a little bit of fun with the fact that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been made available on so many platforms since its original release date in November 2011. Comedian Keegan-Michael Key starred in a video presentation where Bethesda announced additional over-the-top ports of Skyrim on Etch-a-Sketch, Pager, Samsung Smart Refrigerator and Amazon Echo (that's right, voice-only!). While the other ports haven't happened (yet) playing Skyrim with Alexa is actually... real and surprisingly entertaining.
Skyrim: Very Special Edition is available now as a free "skill" that can be taught to Alexa on Amazon. A simple click enables the Amazon Echo to play Skyrim and all it requires to open the game is asking Alexa to, "Play Skyrim."
Obviously, the Skyrim that is available on Alexa doesn't rival any of the the versions that available on the many different consoles. However, Skyrim on Echo is a fully fledged RPG adventure. It plays very similarly to the text-based PC RPGs of the early 80s. Alexa describes the world and explains options open to a player. To interact with the world, takes a simple voice command allowing you to swing a sword, cast a spell or explore.
The official listing for Skyrim Very Special Edition on Amazon runs down just a few of the game's features, asking users to prepare to:
● Encounter people who constantly need your help
● Guard your knees against arrows
● Fatally harm mudcrabs
● Fight dragons
● Fight another dragon
● Eat sweet rolls
● Fus Ro Dah
● Chase butterflies
● Burn spiders
● Walk straight up a mountain instead of going around
● Fail to collect all stones of Barenziah for like the 5th time
● And more!
Skyrim: Very Special Edition does work best for those who have played the original game (at least) once. While it does function like a full text-based RPG (which you can pause and resume at any time), it also requires some working knowledge of the game. Skyrim: Very Special Edition presents the world of Tamriel in a very humorous and self-aware manner. It's almost a parody of Skyrim. This of course makes sense as the game's origin comes from a sketch lambasting the many, many different versions of the game.
It helps that Alexa's voice couldn't be drier and more robotic. Yet it's hard not to chuckle that when you enter dungeon Alexa informs you that you won't need to flee, of course, because you are the mighty Dragonborn (again). Against all odds, it's easy to lose a lot of time to playing Skyrim Very Special Edition and enjoying that "wasted" time immensely.
Ultimately Skyrim Very Special Edition is just one long commercial for the Elder Scrolls series. (Although mercifully, Echo doesn't prompt you to buy one of the other special editions from Amazon while playing.) Yet it's hard to blame Bethesda and Skyrim from going down this route. Fallout Shelter, the free-to-play game that started out on mobile and moved to consoles, has been played by 120 million people. This is more than any other Bethesda game, combined. Anything that gets the name of the franchise out there is good for the company and that might eventually trickle down to fans.
Skyrim Very Special Edition isn't a replacement for the other ports or the much anticipated Elder Scrolls VI. However, it does make the wait for Elder Scrolls VI (or the next eventual port of Skyrim) a little bit easier. At the very least it's a fun little diversion (or party trick) to have available with Amazon Echo. Well done, Bethesda.