Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Who Cares about Clothes in a Snowstorm?

My first thoughts when walking into up a mountain slope in Skyrim where something along the lines of “All that wind and snow, it surely must be cold up here.” Pretty immersive to be sure. Nils, on the other hand, wondered why people weren’t wearing appropriate clothes for the cold, having his immersion broken in the process. He’s right, of course, but my ignorance of the weather-appropriateness of people’s clothing made me enjoy the game more. I see the same thing happening a lot with movies and books – the tendency to over-analyze the fun out of a piece of fiction.

I don’t know how often I’ve heard people complaining about movies not being logical or people in movies ignoring better solutions for a problem. Me, I prefer to simply enjoy the action/dialogue/pictures/soundtrack/world/whatever of the movie without going to deep into the analysis of it all. This is me willingly suspending my disbelief and I think it is absolutely required to enjoy pretty much any work of fiction.

I highly doubt that someone like Nils purposefully spoils his gaming experience by looking for details that do not fit. Maybe the (lack of) weather-appropriate clothing worn by the dwellers of Skyrim jumps out to him as much as the (lack of) clothing of the messenger early in the game jumped out to me. Now, that messenger wore nothing but a loincloth and seemed quite comfortable in the snow – a rather obvious feature. Probably there are many people who simply look at the world in much more detail than I do, or analyze things more deeply. Maybe that means that those people are more intelligent than I am, I don’t know.

What I do know is that a certain amount of ignorance makes many things much more enjoyable. Take the upcoming Doctor Who movie that got announced recently. When I read the news, my first thought was literally “awesome”. I like movies and I love Doctor Who, therefore the prospect of a Doctor Who movie is exciting to me. Most vocal fans of the series on the internet reacted quite differently though. Apparently the movie is not only going to be awful, but it will also destroy the whole series through its awfulness.

Sure, the movie might be quite bad. I’ll probably still enjoy it because I don’t really care whether the continuity is followed and things are done exactly to canon. That’s like caring whether an actress in a movie has the same hair color as described in the underlying book. Whatever. Still, I can see how Hollywood could turn Doctor Who into quite an awful piece, but I can’t see how that would even remotely touch upon the rest of the series.

Once again, I can simply ignore such a movie if it is bad. I can even ignore continuity breaks between a movie and a TV series just as I can ignore the contradiction between snow and sleeveless shirts.


  • Ignorance is bliss. I write that without any arrogance. I envy everyone who is able to automatically disable disbelieve at this level. On the otheer hand, envy doesn’t equal admiration here 😉

    Thanks for the reference to intellect, but as you, I don’t think this has much to do with being smart. Everyone can grasp the concept of wearing warm clothes when it’s cold.

    It’s a question of perception and immersion. If you walk up the virtual mountain and act like a guy who is climbing up that mountain inside a snow storm, the wrong clothes certainly break the immersion for you.

    If, however, you are immersed in the abstract gameplay that says,
    “press ‘W’ until you are on top, try to move straight to waste no time”,
    then the missing clothes don’t matter to you.

  • Ah well, I am mixed there. 😀 I do notice armor if it’s utterly bizarre (plate bikini etc.), but I’ve no problem to ignore inconsistencies like armor that isn’t weather appropriate. when I stood in my first snowstorm in Skyrim, the last thing I thought about was what I was wearing (assuming you don’t play 1st person); I was smitten by the natural beauty of the landscape and scenery before me. no time to look into the mirror.
    However, Nils has a point of course that a game trying to be authentic, needs to consider gear. I would say though, that just like IRL it’s up to you how you dress – and Skyrim does give you that option to some extent. you can wear ‘warmer’ clothes or go for a skimpy robe. the only thing missing here is that you can’t catch a cold, hehe.

    Either way, it’s no bother to me. my few qualms are in different areas.