Funny/Wacky Moments During My Adventures In Skyrim

In an open world game as huge and in-depth as Skyrim, there are an infinite amount of crazy situations that the Dragonborn can get her(him)self into.  Even though I myself was late on the Skyrim train and thus missed some of its infamous glitches, I can still remember lots of times where I sat laughing or shaking my head at the screen because of whatever crazy thing was happening.  Having completed the main campaign and nearly all of the sidequests, I have a lot of experience in the world of Skyrim.  Here are my personal favorite stories/moments! After you’re done reading, share your own wacky Skyrim adventures in the comments! What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to your mighty Dragonborn?

1. Chicken Murderer

This was my very first crazy situation from the game and also one of my fondest.  After escaping from Helgen, I entered Riverwood and wandered around the small village.  Mind you, this was the very first time I had played the game and wasn’t especially comfortable with the controls yet.  That’s where the chicken comes in.  Dumb thing.  It came up to me, clucking its head off while I stood there, sword in hand.  By some accidentally-on-purpose mistake, I brought my sword down upon the doomed creature.  “Oh my gosh, I can kill chickens in this game!” I laughed to myself.  That didn’t last long.  I turned around to find the enormous blacksmith approaching me with a huge axe.  I quickly ran away as he and the entire population of Riverwood pursued me, enraged at the death of their chicken.  With no idea what was happening and not powerful enough to take them all on, I reloaded my save, effectively clearing my name as a chicken murderer for good. 

2. I Hate Mountains

Okay, so if you play Skyrim you know that everyone does the weird jumping thing to cheat their way up the mountains.  Finding the real path just takes too long! Anyway, I was on my own, attempting to get to the top of a mountain in order to get a Word of Power.  It was early in the game and I had only killed a few dragons so far, so when I heard that tell-tale roaring and the beating of wings, I got a little nervous.  But, dangit, I had to get that Word of Power! After defying physics for long enough, I managed to jump my way up the mountain but ended up in a weird spot.  Then the dragon attacked.  But not just any dragon.  A freakin’ Ice Dragon.  I realized that my usual ice magic wasn’t going to work and switched over to flames in order to slay the monster.  By having just enough health potions and determination, the dragon’s health began to dwindle, and I finally landed the killing blow.  Yes! The Word of Power was mine.  I took a step forward — AND FELL OFF THE MOUNTAIN.  I lost my save and my temper, and only my last bit of good sense prevented me from hurling the controller.  The next time, I just followed the stupid path up the stupid mountain. 

3. No, Please, I’m Only A Level 2!

The very first time I played Skyrim I felt completely overwhelmed.  Without really knowing what I was doing and not understanding that leveling up a bit at the beginning before you go off exploring is a very good idea, me and my follower skipped off into the woods looking for adventure.  That’s what you’re supposed to do in this game, right? Hmm.  We hadn’t gotten very far before I saw a little cottage in the distance.  It literally could have belonged to Snow White, it was so cute.  But Snow White wasn’t home that day.  As I approached the house this crazy Dark Elf in black robes came out, screaming at me for trespassing.  Confused, I stood there for a second and then he took advantage of my hesitation and threw a fire ball at me! What the heck, dude?! The fire ball had diminished my health so I took cover behind a rock and took a potion, standing up every few seconds to throw a spell right back at that jerk.  After literally like six or seven minutes of fighting, I was able to take him out.  Praise the Lord! I had used up all of my potions but I made it! Then a flapping sound echoed in the distance, followed by a terrifying roar.  “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought.  Nope.  A huge dragon landed right in front of the cottage, and immediately attacked me and my companion.  So I did what any noble Dragonborn would do.  I took off, panicking.  I hoped that I could run far away enough to escape it, but that thing chased me for miles.  I dodged its fire breath and ran into a few wolves along the way but I kept running.  I finally fell off of a cliff and died.  I didn’t play Skyrim for a while after that.  But don’t worry.  I got revenge and I raided that Elf’s cottage.  So there!

So what’s your wackiest Skyrim stories? Sound off in the comments and happy adventuring in the world of Skyrim! I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee and started a blog. 

– Julia

Ranking My Favorite Mass Effect Squad Members

The Daily Suck

I was (re)playing Mass Effect 3 today because I’m a masochist (so many feelings), and in appreciation of its amazingness I’ve put together a list of all the squad members throughout the trilogy from least favorite to favorite! It’s a daunting task, I know, as nearly every character in the Mass Effect trilogy is incredibly well-done, but if Commander Shepard can stop the Reapers, then I think I can get this accomplished.  Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up to my favorite.

*Spoilers ahead*

19.  Liara T’Soni

Sorry, Liara.  You’re my least favorite on this list.  I really tried to make myself like you, but I just can’t get past all of the know-it-all-i’m-shepard’s-BEST-best-friend attitude.  Liara is pretty bossy right off the bat, and I feel like that chemistry that all of the other squad members have with each other just isn’t there.  And when she becomes the Shadow Broker in the Mass Effect 2 DLC, Lair of The Shadow Broker, she just seems like she’s trying too hard.  Sorry, Liara.  Sometimes I just wish I’d left you in that bubble on Therum way back when Saren was the most of my problems.

18.  Jacob Taylor

Jacob.  You’re the first face Shepard sees after waking from the dead in the beginning of Mass Effect 2 and you seem like a chill dude, but after that you just kind of fade into the background compared to the rest of the cast.  Jacob’s a good soldier and all, but that’s about it.  There’s not a lot that makes him stand out, which is why he’s ranked #18 on this list.

17.  Ashley Williams

(Just to give Bioware some props, I’m only on number 17 out of 19 and this list is already getting difficult.)  Ashley is the very first squad member that Shepard her(him)self recruits; if only her big mouth and really annoying trust issues didn’t get in the way of her earning a special place in my heart.  Ashley is sassy and tough, but she never quite knows when to shut up.  Although I do really like that she is so open about her religious faith, I wish she could have just a little bit of that faith in Shepard.  I’ll even forgive her for totally dissing Shepard in ME2, but do you seriously not trust me enough by the third game to believe I’m not working with Cerberus? C’mon, Ash.

16. Zaeed Massani

Like I said, at this point already the list is getting tough, and it’s starting to come down to picking the best of the best.  Let’s go with Zaeed next.  He’s living proof that you don’t have to necessarily like a character in order for them to be a good squad member.  He and Shepard don’t exactly start out on great terms, and they keep arguing throughout Zaeed’s loyalty mission until Shepard earns his trust.  While I like how Zaeed trusts and helps you without necessarily liking you (especially if you’re paragon), it also prevents any significant relationship building, which is why Zaeed is number 16 on the list.

15. Samara

Samara is a pretty cool character.  As an asari justicar, she is absolutely devoted to the “code” and following the law…even if it means killing the law-breakers.  She’s complicated, though, and her backstory will make you feel for her.  She’s a good addition to Shepard’s team…yet somehow I always forget about her when I’m going through the squad members.  Samara’s not my favorite person in Shepard’s crew, but she’s a fine character with a lot of depth.

14. Kaidan Alenko

The very first time I played the original Mass Effect, I was not a big Kaidan fan.  I’m not really sure why, but regardless, I’ve grown to really like him after multiple playthroughs (For better or for worse, I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve played these games).  Now I’ve never imported a save to ME3 where Kaidan was alive to see him as a spectre, but he’s cool in the original game (overlooking the drama in the second one).  He’s smart, loyal, and an overall good guy who has great chemistry with the other teammates, leading to some pretty funny moments.  Kaidan’s also the first guy to introduce the player to biotics, which are a pretty important feature of the entire trilogy.

13. Grunt

He’s the ultimate Krogan warrior, an unpredictable wrecking ball of destruction which makes him pretty fun to have around.  Grunt’s like a huge, violent, rambunctious puppy.  He’s young, so he doesn’t have everything figured out, but he has enthusiasm to spare and is always happy to help Shepard teach the bad guys a lesson.  Grunt’s a character with a lot of potential that I’d love to see in a spin-off.

12. James Vega

Although James is a newbie to the series, only making his first appearance in ME3, he quickly showed himself to be an awesome character.  James is a headstrong and dedicated soldier who puts his heart and soul into the galaxy-saving mission he joins Shepard on.  In a game where most characters, including Shepard herself, are starting to despair, James never gives up hope and is always ready to fight for what’s right.

11. Javik

Another DLC character like Zaeed and Kasumi, I really loved having Javik as part of my squad.  The last surviving Prothean, Javik finally sheds some light on the nature of the enigmatic alien race.  Turns out, they weren’t so nice.  Javik is a ruthless military official who wants nothing more than the total decimation of the Reapers who wiped out his people.  He’s not reckless and impulsive though.  He’s smart and calculating, which makes him an invaluable asset to Shepard’s team in ME3.

10. Kasumi Goto

Kasumi Goto is a master thief, and if that doesn’t already make her cool, she’s also one of the quirkiest and most lovable squad members.  She’s not a thief out of necessity; she does it because she loves it, and her fun personality and sense of humor add some great levity to the story.  Plus she’s a hopeless romantic with a huge crush on Jacob.  Aww, Kasumi.  You can do way better than number 18!

9. Miranda Lawson

I’ll admit, Miranda does not make a particularly good first impression.  By the end of the series, however, I trusted and admired Miranda as one of Shepard’s closest friends.  Although she starts out as an uptight, by-the-book Cerberus officer, she rebels against The Illusive Man and joins Shepard’s war against Cerberus and the Reapers.  Miranda is extremely intelligent, confident, and powerful, although her self-doubt presents itself once she starts to trust Shepard.  We get to learn about her soft side through her relationship with her sister, Oriana, which adds a lot of depth to her character.  In short, Miranda is an awesome chick I loved having on my side.

8.  Thane Krios

For an assassin with a disease that numbers his days, Thane is pretty chill.  His ever-present calm and collected demeanor not only makes him a likable character, but adds a hint of creepiness when he takes out his targets with unsettling serenity.  Thane is unquestionably loyal to Shepard and their fight against galactic decimation, but aside from his character, he’s also just straight-up cool.  He stealthily eliminates enemies with biotics and sniper rifles, making him great at both close range and long distance combat.  And that crazy flash-back thing he does? Awesome.

7. EDI

The Normandy’s resident Enhanced Defense Intelligence starts out as another part of the ship and ends up as one of Shepard’s closest allies.  As an AI, EDI provides invaluable intelligence and information on the enemy and saves Shepard and the crew more than a few times from one threat or another.  When EDI eventually gets a body in ME3, she becomes an even better crewmate and friend who’s hard not to get attached to, and her banter with Joker is one of the highlights of the games.

6. Legion

Going back-to-back with robots, Legion is number six on the list.  As a geth, the highly intelligent robots that Shepard spends most of ME1 fighting against, Legion is initially not trusted by Shepard and the crew and is sort of a mystery.  A super-lovable mystery, that is.  I totally fell in love with Legion during ME2 and 3, and was really sad to see his heroic sacrifice for the sake of the Geth and Quarians in ME3.  Legion has a lot of heart for an synthetic, and ranks as one of my favorite teammates throughout the series.

5. Mordin Solus

You know him, you love him, it’s Mordin Solus at number five! Mordin is a brilliant scientist whose character perfectly balances his hilarious demeanor and way of thinking out loud at a mile-per-minute in contrast to his guilt and regret over creating the Krogan genophage.  I remember meeting Mordin for the first time and already liking him after the initial conversation.  With a great script and fantastic voice-acting, Mordin remains a sympathetic and funny character even after you discover his role in creating the genophage, and watching him give his life to reverse his actions is one of the saddest deaths I’ve ever seen in a video game.  Lots of feels with this one.

4. Jack

Who knew that the psychotic, destructive, and completely unpredictable criminal Jack could become one of my most-loved characters in the entire series? Leave it to Bioware to come up with such incredible characters.  Jack is the most powerful human biotic, and with a helping of crazy on the side, makes for a very dangerous girl.  Once Shepard gains her trust and learns more about Jack, however, she becomes an extremely sympathetic character who you want to make it through the end.  Jack is multi-layered and three dimensional, and her character arc is fantastic while staying true to her original personality.  Not somebody you’d want to emulate, but someone you love nonetheless.

3. Urdnot Wrex

This is it! The final three! Coming in at number three is Wrex, Krogan mercenary-turned-leader of the entire race who’s a little ( a lot) rough around the edges but becomes one of Shepard’s closest friends.  As an original squad member, Wrex makes an appearance in all three games, and I couldn’t appreciate that more.  His one-liners are some of the best in the entire series and his interactions with other characters are always hilarious.  Even when I’ve played as renegade Shepard, I’ve never had the heart to kill him on Virmire in the first game, and as one of my all-time favorite squad members, I’m so glad he survives the series.

2. Tali’Zorah nar Rayya

Smart, spunky, and kind, Tali has always been one of my favorite teammates.  She’s young and a little bit naive, but also brave and willing to do whatever she needs to in order to help her people.  Tali grows up emotionally throughout the Mass Effect series, but still always retains that innocence that made me love her in the first place.  An integral part of Shepard’s crew, Tali has always been there through thick and thin and proves herself again and again as a great squad member and friend.

1. Garrus Vakarian

Eep! This is it! My absolute favorite squad member in the Mass Effect series is, without a doubt, Garrus Vakarian.  Garrus Vakarian is flawless.  I heard his sniper rifle is insured for $10,000 dollars.  But seriously, Garrus is simply the best squad member for multiple reasons.  As one of the only characters in your squad over all three games, you are able to see Garrus himself and his friendship with Shepard evolve over all three games.  Regardless of how you choose to make your Shepard behave, Garrus is one of the few people that Shepard opens up to with all of her concerns and thoughts.  He’s laid-back, supportive, confident, and funny, and is the perfect partner to Shepard’s more serious character.  In short, Garrus has always been my favorite team member in Mass Effect, and if you’ve ever hung out with me, you’ve probably seen me with my Garrus t-shirt on (and you were probably so jealous that you forgot to tell me that you liked it).

Ugh, it was so hard ranking all of these great characters! Bioware has truly created a masterful series that will always be looked upon as containing some of the greatest games of all time and my personal favorite series.  I apologize for any fangirling, but if you’ve played Mass Effect you’d understand.  Over three games, Bioware has given us these amazing characters to get attached to and love, and by the end of ME3, it felt like saying goodbye to old friends.  Oh well.  I’ll just have to play them all over again.

– Julia

Gaming and Storytelling (Part 1)

The Daily Suck

Originally dismissed as a hobby of nerds and geeks, video games have now entered the mainstream, thriving in a world with over 46 million Xbox Live users (that’s more than Justin Beiber’s Twitter followers).  I am one of those users and I am passionate about gaming, not just as a hobby, but as an interactive art form that affects me just as deeply as a good movie or book.  With anything you love, you naturally want to share it with others so here’s why games and the stories they tell are awesome!

Point #1. Video games are the world’s only fully interactive art form.

Don’t get me wrong, books and movies are amazing, but they can never completely immerse you into their worlds the way video games can.  Games put you in the shoes of characters that you control and make decisions as, effectively getting you to emotionally invest in the games’ story and characters.  Throughout the game, you go on the journey, you uniquely drive the experience, and you feel the sense of accomplishment at the end.  In movies and books, you are a bystander of the action and story. In video games, you fully participate in it.

Point #2. Some of my favorite stories and characters come from video games.

Games aren’t like Pong anymore.  They’re fully expected, like books and movies, to tell great stories with compelling characters, and video games like Mass Effect, Uncharted 2, Red Dead Redemption, and The Last Of Us, to name a few, do this incredibly well.  Because of their length, games, like books, give creators the chance to tell epic stories and gradually develop relationships with characters whereas movies are pressured to fit into a 2 and 1/2-hour time frame.  For example, The Last Of Us is an emotionally-driven experience that chronicles the relationship between a young girl and a world-weary survivor in a post-apocalyptic America.  The game begs the question: what would you do to protect the people you love? It handles this question superbly and leaves you thinking about it long after the credits roll, something that the latest summer blockbuster movie tends to lack.

Short post today, I know, and I’ve only scratched the surface of storytelling in games.  I’m hoping to feature different games and their stories individually with future posts so stay tuned for part 2!

– Julia