The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind® Game of the Year Edition

UPDATE 26/03/2019: As you may have observed from the comments on this article, Bethesda's Morrowind giveaway didn't exactly go to plan. Users reported several problems with claiming a free copy of the game, including difficulties logging into Bethesda.net and problems with the code system. You may have seen the memes.

In any case, Bethesda acknowledged and eventually resolved the technical problems and has now extended the period for claiming a copy. If you missed out on the first round, you have from now until the end of Sunday 31st March to bag Morrowind for free.

The technical issues have been frustrating, but when all's said and dunmer, at least we (eventually) got a free game.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Ever thought you could do a better job than Legolas at the Battle of Helm's Deep? Well now you can prove it, as the final version of this incredible Lord of the Rings Skyrim mod has just been published.

The Elder Scrolls V Middle-Earth began back in 2014 and has seen several updates, but Maldaran told me the Redone version adds new content, solves bugs, re-works the portal corridor and streamlines all the past versions into one neat package.

The remarkable one-person project, made by 26-year-old Maldaran from Germany, allows PC players to explore many of the most famous locations in Lord of the Rings, including The Shire, Lothlorien and Rivendell. You can re-enact the Battle of Helm's Deep, fight goblins in the mines of Moria and even battle the Balrog. Players can also craft Mithril armour, and Maldaran told me the latest version introduces even more craftable items, along with new spells to learn.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Skyrim Together mod is currently embroiled in a controversy that has seen its developers accused of stealing code. Meanwhile, there's increased scrutiny on the modding team's Patreon, which currently pulls in over $25,000-a-month.

Skyrim Together is an ambitious and high-profile mod for Bethesda's hugely-popular fantasy role-playing game that lets players play together. It recently held a beta open to those who backed the Patreon.

The recent controversy revolves around an accusation the Skyrim Together mod "steals" code from Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE).

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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition

Imagination, not intelligence, made us human.

In his Foreword to The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy, the late Sir Terry Pratchett writes, "Imagination, not intelligence, made us human."

Most people know Pratchett as the author of Discworld, the famous fantasy series about a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants. However, what many people don't know is that the knighted author was also a massive fan of video games - so much so that he actually worked on mods for Oblivion, most of which were spearheaded by a Morrowind modder named Emma.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

There's a dragon near Bethesda - dubbed "the Dragon of Bethesda" by its creator - and it's causing a bit of bother.

No, not that Bethesda. The Bethesda in Wales, the one on the River Ogwen and the A5 road on the edge of Snowdonia, in Gwynedd.

The Draig Dderw (oak Dragon) stands 6ft tall and 12ft wide, and guards the A5, presumably from misguided Skyrim fans. It's quite the sight - perhaps too good a sight, because motorists are apparently slowing down, or even stopping, to gawk at it.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

An impressive Skyrim multiplayer mod enters closed beta soon, with an open beta to follow.

The eye-catching Skyrim Together mod is more than someone's pipedream - it's a functional mod that currently lets up to eight players play together in Bethesda's hugely popular fantasy game.

The mod is the work of a group of talented software engineers who have spent some time tinkering with Skyrim in order to get multiplayer working. The closed beta is for those who back the project on Patreon. The open beta launches immediately after the closed beta, which the modders said wouldn't last long in an announcement post on the Skyrim Together subreddit.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

It feels like an age since the last Elder Scrolls game was released (seven years, to be precise), and it's probably going to be several years more before we see the next one. It's an agonising wait, and for some older fans, it really is a race against time. But thanks to an online campaign, fans are hoping at least one Skyrim-playing grandma will be involved in the next game. In at least some sense of the word.

As possibly the coolest grandma on the internet, you may well have already heard of Shirley Curry. She's an 82-year-old YouTuber who primarily records herself playing Skyrim, and has pretty much won the hearts of everyone in the Elder Scrolls community. Referring to her subscribers as "grandkids", she goes out of her way to reply to every comment on her videos, and her let's plays are basically the most wholesome thing you can find on the internet. And, if you still doubted her credentials, last year she even made it into the Guinness World Record book as the oldest video game YouTuber. Here's her latest Skyrim video, should you want a look:

Her place at the centre of an internet campaign, however, began after a Reddit user spotted her comment on a YouTube video analysing the comments Pete Hines made to Eurogamer about TES6's release window. "I guess that puts the nail in my coffin," Curry wrote. "When Skyrim 6 comes out I'll be 88! So I probably won't get to play it."

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BioShock Infinite

Looking at places to live in games, it would be easy for the most magnificent, pompous and elegant palaces and castles to dominate any appreciation. But there is plenty of room to appreciate those residences that are tucked away, perhaps underrated, that are not major hubs or destinations and that are only subtle intrusions. Some draw a curious sense of attachment from players, eliciting a sense of pseudo-topophilia - a close relationship with a virtual land or place. The resulting effect is sometimes enough to cause the sentiment: if this place were real, I would live there.

Right in the corner of the Hinterlands in Dragon Age: Inquisition is the Grand Forest Villa. Its position in the landscape is not obtrusive or jarring, and in turn makes use of the surrounding Hinterlands as its grounds and gardens. Not only does it look fantastic in its geographical context, the residence fits the medieval-fantasy context, oozing grandeur and splendour. But it also serves a purpose: in the Dragon Age lore, it was built for a special friend of the Arl of Redcliffe to allow him to stay near Redcliffe Castle, but far enough away to not raise eyebrows or induce scandal. Designed to be elegant and bold, the Villa - which is a generous term - would have been a beautiful place to live. Even though there are no obvious living spaces on show to relate to they are there - probably within the thick stone walls that add a strange, yet weirdly complete juxtaposition of woodland villa aesthetic next to defensive fortress.

Its semi-open nature permeates its design. Opening up sides and boundaries has the effect of bringing the outside, inside - nowadays, think about homes that have entire walls made of glass to bring their garden 'inside' - blurring the boundary between indoor luxury and the pleasantness of nature, landscapes and plants. It also opens up expansive and brilliant vistas from the Grand Forest Villa, the importance of which is demonstrated by the design of designated viewing decks or points offering fabulous views over the lush and rolling Hinterlands landscape.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

"Come on. Lighten up. Have a whiff."

It's late into Cyberpunk 2077's demo when Dum-Dum extends a claw toward V, offering a hit from a skull-adorned inhaler. Perhaps sensing the veiled hostility behind the supposed peace pipe being thrust under her nose, she obliges. Arachnid eye implants shine through a red haze. Dum-Dum takes his own hit, and flared nerves settle. Between all the talk of cred chips and bots, the tension that fuels this choice stems from a ritual as old as time. Breaking bread. Chinking cups. Passing the proverbial Dutchie to the left.

Adult games, as a medium, are often enamoured with their own portrayal of taboo subjects, but there's a streak of silently judgemental conservatism dulling the libertine sheen. By confining their use to grim settings, these stories condemn altered states of consciousness as the territory of society's dregs. At the same time, they're perfectly happy to hijack their aesthetics when it suits. Unexamined praise can be as useless as uninformed panic, of course, but let's be clear here: games are, for the most part, shit at doing drugs properly. Here's a brief history of drug use in games.

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Eurogamer

Is there anything more spine-tingling than loading up Skyrim to hear those ominous chants? Now imagine that with a live choir, in London's Hammersmith Apollo, all in the name of charity. Oh - and with some epic Fallout music thrown into the mix too.

Bethesda is supporting War Child UK to put on a live performance of its biggest musical hits. This includes tunes from Fallout 3, Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and even the mysterious upcoming game Fallout 76. Personally, I can't wait to hear a preview of the soundtrack to which nukes will be dropping on my head.

The concert is due to take place on Saturday 3rd November at the London Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith. The music of composers Inon Zur and Jeremy Soule will be performed by the Parallax Orchestra and Choir, who are not new to more unusual classical concerts, having previously performed Bring Me The Horizon at the Royal Albert Hall.

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