Christian Parents: Should you let your kids play Skyrim (now with Dawnguard and Hearthfire)?

This post could be opening up a whole can of worms, but so be it.  Why all the possible worms?  When my son was very young I thought – based on so much of what I read and heard from Christians – that video games were just all from hell and will lead to hell.  In more recent times, I have posted online with some Christians who still feel the same, though I’m hoping they don’t really think “Harvest Moon” or “Hello Kitty” games provide a direct ticket to the brimstone dungeon.

There are nasty games out there for sure, games that relish dishonesty, crime, blood, gore, and killing.  But does that make all video games bad?  Putting aside the issue of time spent by the Christian on past-times (hobbies, entertainment, etc.), are certain video games not only fun and cathartic, but also potentially useful for stretching the mind and for witnessing?  I think yes, so let’s take a look at Skyrim with its Dawnguard expansion (Hearthfire, added September 4, 2012, adds pleasantries to the game).

Looking into Skyrim, albeit a stern and cold section of it. (c) Bethesda http://www.elderscrolls.com/skyrim/add-ons/

The time frame in Skyrim seems to correspond nicely with the Iron Age in Northern Europe and/or France and the British Isles.  Skyrim refers to a region in the continent of Tamriel, and is one of a number of games in the Elder Scrolls series.  The region makes up the north central part of the continent, and its Nordic inhabitants are akin to the real world Norsemen (Vikings).  For example, what is like heaven to the Vikings was called Asgard, and the honored hall Vahalla.  In Skyrim, these are referred to as Sovngarde and Shor’s Hall (Hall of Valor), respectively.

The Imperials, which very obviously correspond to the Romans, have kept order in Tamriel for some time, though they are present in Skyrim now in order to crush a rebellion.  This isn’t just a little rebellion, but a power play that would affect all of Skyrim and its relations to the rest of the Empire.  Spoiler alert:  In typical historic fashion, the son of a king killed his own brother in an attempt to be high king.  Each region in Skyrim has a king, and these kings choose a high king from among them.  This was a spoiler since only one or two characters in the whole game actually tell you that the king killed was the usurper’s brother.

Map of Tamriel. (c) Bethesda, but found here: http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/File:Map_tamriel.jpg

The point about this power play, however, is that the usurper, Ulfric Stormcloak, had gotten many in Skyrim behind him because he claimed that his primary goal was to reestablish the free worship of the god Talos.  Talos used be just a man (Tiber Septim), but was made a god by the other gods (somehow – how this happened is unclear) and thus became worshipped, not just revered as a Dragonborn or for uniting Tamriel in the distant past.

Why was the worship of Talos banned?  To end a major war the Imperials and other leaders had signed a treaty with the High Elves, and part of this treaty prohibited Talos worship, as the High Elves considered Talos to be a false god.  Despite the treaty Talos worship was going on quietly, but Ulfric’s uprising changed that.  Because of the rebellion, the High Elves began persecuting Talos worshippers, thus giving the Stormcloaks fuel for their fire.

There are subtle complications added to the game to make the decision regarding which faction to follow not necessarily an easy one; it certainly shouldn’t be rushed.  While most people in Skyrim revere Talos, there are some things said to make a player wonder about him.  For instance, the self-proclaimed mouth-piece of Talos in Whiterun is annoying and may seem mad (he definitely is depicted as a melodramatic street preacher), and indeed, his feverish support of the Stormcloaks ignores both the reality of what is going on behind the scenes with the Imperials (many of whom also worship Talos) and the conniving and tyrannical nature of Ulfric and his Stormcloaks.  The Stormcloaks are pretty nasty, saying that if you don’t join them you’re against them (an enemy), yet the Imperials say no such thing.  There is much more to seemingly righteous rebels behavior vs Imperial behavior, but I’ll leave that for your exploration.

The Stormcloak rebellion is one of the two major plots/quests of the game, the other being Dragonborn’s (the player is the Dragonborn) destiny to rid the world of Alduin, the world-eater dragon.  The quests are not totally separate.  Without paying close attention, a player may totally miss that Alduin and Ulfric are intertwined.  For the Christian, Alduin is of great interest since he is a Satan figure (without the Satan figure, one could maybe take Talos to be a pagan mythological man-god).  He claims to be the first born of the great god Akatosh (and some even worshipped him as Akatosh himself), but in reality he was created, and for a specific purpose.  He defies Akatosh regarding his purpose, interferes with man, and is arrogant.

Skyrim is full of hints and references to religion, folklore, history, and literature, although much of these are not wholly analogous.  As might have been inferred by now, talking with someone about Skyrim can be a starting point to talking about Christ and even the existence of Satan.  An inquisitive player may decide it’s worth his or her time to look into the real-world peoples and such in the game.  Besides the examples already discussed, there is the goddess Mara, who quite obviously corresponds to Mary, mother of Jesus.  Elves are of course derived from folklore (as are the Dwarves), and their demise followed the acceptance of Christianity in European areas.  The magical High Elves came from a large island to the southwest of Tamriel, and so this alludes to Atlantis.  There are Bretons in the game and there are real world Bretons.  As with much fantasy in modern times, the game includes Orcs.  Where did Orcs come from?  Well, from the mind of JRR Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings)!  In Skyrim they are not just like Tolkien’s Orcs, but they are still a corrupted form of Elf.

Without getting into a lot of detail, I was disappointed with the game in some ways.  Skyrim seems to favor doing bad things, despite the character played being the Dragonborn, a person who brings good and who is in line to become Emperor.  The game has achievements, and many of these involve doing evil things.  This is unfortunate, and while a player is not at all required to do these things, some aspects of the game are closed-off if a player ignores these activities.  The new expansion of the game, Dawnguard, seems to make up for this somewhat.

Dawnguard Fortress. (c) Bethesda http://www.elderscrolls.com/skyrim/add-ons/

Most of the hype was directed towards the evil side of this expansion, involving vampires, but really, as far as I can see, the “good side” gains here.  I also have to pat Bethesda (the game maker) on the back for making the vampires in fact gross and bad.  Some may have a problem with the main vampire character being “good,” but at least they included dialogue for you to choose that shows your disdain for the whole idea, if you so choose to use that dialogue; there is also the possibility that this character will willingly give up her vampirism (become cured).  These games are made for the masses and they are not in business to lose money, so one has to take the good with the bad and make the most of it; in real life this is often murkier and harder to do than in games like Skyrim.  That being said, the Dawnguard include in their ranks a witty, funny, smart, and spiritually active ex-priest.  He adds a positive spiritual character that is a counter to the street preacher that so many players actually want to kill.

Finally, I’ll leave you with basic good and bad points of Skyrim/Dawnguard/Hearthfire, and this quote from John Battle-Born of Whiterun.  This statement may very well be Bethesda’s commentary on the gaming world and not Skyrim, since there appears to be no connection to it and anything in the game–except perhaps that everyone that you encounter in the wild seems to want you to kill them!:

“You know what’s wrong with Skyrim these days? Everyone’s obsessed with death.”

Good points:

  • Truly beautiful to look at and wander around in:  HUGE.  Our world beautiful, not abstract, though there are awe-inspiring places that mix underwater concepts into air-breathing spaces.
  • Complicated main quests and min-quests that require you to listen to many characters to decide what’s best (if you do it right).
  • Religious and political aspects and some real-world history, along with the fantastic.  Real world lessons in deciphering the truth, in seeing through people’s blind ideologies or loyalties.
  • No sex and little swearing.
  • Fun and rewarding; tons of play time and things to do including blacksmithing, mixing potions, exploring, etc., besides fighting bandits and doing the quests.
  • Absolute loads of books, notes, recipes, etc. (I believe there are over 1,000), promote reading and the value of the written word.
  • The new Hearthfire expansion allows the player to – finally – adopt children, as well as do some fun housebuilding.

Bad points:

  • Passive goriness along with some slow-mo killing scenes (however, using magic makes for really awesome slow-mo scenes).
  • There is much fighting, which might not appeal to some.  Play yourself to decide (use the Dawnguard crossbow and you just might get hooked – forewarning you).
  • In Skyrim, the bad seems to be rewarded more than the good.  The new Dawnguard and Hearthfire expansions seems to even this out some.
  • The longer you take to finish the Vampire quest, the more citizens die in the towns – regular citizens, not just stand-ins.
  • Glitches, apparently the more you play the more there are.
  • This isn’t BAD, but just saying – it could’ve used more humor (there is some subtle dry humor in the game).

Fighting scene, steel plate armor & weapon vs lightening mage with no armor. From PC Gamer: http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/04/26/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-dlc-reveal-teased-for-next-week-what-do-you-want-to-see-from-skyrim-dlc/

This post was expanded on 09/05/12.  If you’re interested in seeing videos of Skyrim, there is no shortage on Youtube.  For some with clean language, you can see our channel at:  Network Hobo.  Thanks!

For more thoughts on Skyrim, particularly regarding its darker aspects and dealing with them with your children, see On Skyrim: A Vent from a Christian Parent (a mom who plays).

November 5, 2012.   I just found this out so I thought I’d pass it along, from the Bethesda Softworks site on October 26, 2012:

Earlier today, Skyrim came away as the big winner at the UK’s most prestigious gaming award show, The Golden Joysticks. The game captured the night’s biggest award, Ultimate Game of the Year, as well as awards for Best RPG and Best Moment (visiting the Throat of the World).

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43 Responses to Christian Parents: Should you let your kids play Skyrim (now with Dawnguard and Hearthfire)?

  1. Thanks so much for the “likes” and the follows you guys – very much appreciated!!! I only see the Gravatar profiles and not your blogs, so when I get that figured out I can visit your blogs.

  2. Larry Ragland Jr. says:

    I am a Christian and a gamer and for me, it’s all about intent. I don’t play because I have a need to see headshots and gore, I play because of the challenge and fun. It’s the intent behind it. God knows our motives and If you’re playing because you simply like killing and the like then you need to check yourself. I’ve had many an excellent conversation playing games online on XBL about Jesus and all manner of biblical understanding, it can be a great tool. Skyrim is a great game (I have it on 360) and sometimes I just walk around in the forest soaking it all in. Gaming doesn’t keep me from studying the word, going to church, praying and teaching the Word of God to my family so I’m all for it personally but I guess that’s just me. Nice post.

    p.s. They even have a bible app (Bible Navigator X) on XBLA that you get get, I use it all the time.

    • Thank so much Larry, and blessings to you! I’m happy to hear of your conversing with people online. Those convos can be so great, and I didn’t know about the app – we don’t have that game here – maybe others will see your comment and get it. My son is a teen and while he plays Skyrim and some other types of games, the only games that he enjoys that are online with others are first person shooters, and it doesn’t make for conversation, lol (at least as far as I know – I know that he mutes everyone because many swear, talk about strange stuff, there’re even little kids on there . . .); it’s too fast-paced, I think. Oh, and Skyrim, yes, I love to just walk around there. We live in an urban jungle, so seeing all those trees, mountains, creeks, etc, is really great.

      • Larry Ragland Jr. says:

        Online chatter (especially on 3rd person and fps games) can be ugly-but I see it as a challenge. I almost always have people that appreciate the type of mature conversation that I try and bring to the table, and from that door being opened, you can witness. Sure, you have to put up with some ugly stuff that tests your patience, but if stand strong, stay respectful and keep on plugging away at it, you can (most of the time) find success.

        • That is really great, Larry, and that’s what it’s all about. The world is the world, a very often unpleasant place, and we are called to be lights in the world. My son and I will have to check out that XBLA – I asked him about it and he doesn’t know much about it yet. Thanks for letting us know about it, and your work in the Lord; it’s encouraging.

  3. Grace says:

    From my experience with other games, World of Warcraft and Everquest, most of the people aren’t into the role playing; instead they are into finishing quests to get the rewards for the acheivement (I know I always skipped the stories in the quessts and looked for the parts that tells me my objective so that I could finish the achievements and collect my reward). I think there is a danger in actually role playing where it seems to be real, especially if the games have demonic undertones. I think parents have to be really cautious. Most adults can distinguish between reality and fiction, and it’s something that I think every parent has to think about individually. I personally consider if it will affect my children-will it make them interested in demons, sorcery, and Satan where they will want to research it and learn more about witchcraft, or do they just ignore that part and play the game? Is this an opportunity to discuss demons, sorcery, and Satan and objective morals in real life and how we determine what are good things to do? Are the children at the appropriate age to expose them to those things? We do have Skyrim, but the kids nor my husband are playing it, so I don’t know how it compares to the other games I’ve played. So, I can’t give my personal opinion on that specific game, but these are the things I look for.

    • Those are great points, Grace; thanks for bringing them up. I didn’t think of that aspect so much (getting into role-playing in a too in-depth way) since my son if very level headed in that regard, but yes, it’s been actually a blessing talking to him about game issues. The violence and all of that, and when things are not Christian at all in the game, what he thinks, etc. The parent has to know the child, but maybe also see how the child deals with things. It can be an eye-opener. But yes, there are people who for some reason become far too involved; there was even a guy who ended up dying a few years back because he stopped eating while he played for days . . . very odd and sad.

    • Roy Priest says:

      Skyrim is nothing like WoW, for one it not online. It is a fun game but it is hard to get your self lost in it, just becuse what the game is about and what you do in the game.

  4. Ok, I’m quite peeved and dismayed that the new Hearthfire DLC allows you to build a house and have you family move in – according to Bethesda – but there is no option to have them move in. This is just ridiculous! The house is really so nice, with lots of room, that it would be great for the kids. It’s obviously meant to be a family place. I have all our beds in there now, yet, we can’t move in. Another reviewer built the whole place and still his family could not move in. Wow, major bug to fix!! Let me know if you experience anything different (it would be horrible if you could only adopt kids AFTER building the place . . . I’d have to start my game all over).

    • Actually, the game finally let me move the family there. Don’t know why, to tell you the truth! The last wing isn’t on, so . . . But very glad for it. Everything is at that house, and all your belongings can fit there.

  5. Pingback: Skyrim: Dragonborn DLC, a Christian’s View « withchristianeyes

  6. Pingback: On Skyrim: A Vent from a Christian Parent (a mom who plays) « withchristianeyes

  7. Jacob says:

    Hey i have been trying to talk my mom into letting me get Skyrim for a long time but every time i ask to get it she tells me no because it has witchcraft in it. I have no clue what to tell her and i really need your help.

    • Well, my head is not up to par today, but I’ll try to think of something helpful, lol. So I assume she’s a Christian and just wants you to stay away from all things witchcraft? Does she let you play other games? The reason I ask is that the character you play can use “potions” for your health and such. Now, this to me isn’t witchcraft in the game – it’s like making and taking medicine – and of course many of the things potions can do are simply fantasy.

      One aspect of witchcraft your character is capable of doing if you choose, is necromancy. But you don’t have to do that, at all – it a role-playing choice. Even many of the characters in the game say that necromancy is wrong, so it’s not like it’s promoted in the game.

      The other aspect to me is simply just beyond witchcraft and is just fantasy, and that is being able to use casting spells like fire and electric, etc. I wouldn’t want my son messing around with actual witchcraft either, but the casting spells are just so beyond anything like spells actual witches use, that’s it’s not in the same realm. It’s just fantasy. Many stories (and games) use stuff like that and don’t really put it in the same category as witchcraft. Otherwise, the game makes a point of being against witchcraft. Hags are nasty creatures that are almost always to be eliminated, vampires are very nasty too and to be gotten rid of, except with the Dawnguard DLC you can choose to be one if you want. Again, it’s a role-playing game and you can choose to play a totally good character who is getting rid of the baddies.

      Skyrim, while it does allow you to be a bad character, is not as bad as some other games in this way and in general does not promote spiritually bad things. They allow it in order to attract more players to buy it, but it’s not really what Skyrim or the Elder Scrolls world is about. Many games today promote bad behavior, or are very neutral. Skyrim is just a fun fantasy game with some historical precedents. It’s far better to play Skyrim, I think, than games that use guns to basically and simply go through and shoot people. What is the morality or ethics of that? The Skyrim environment lets you see the bad in life, just as we do in real life, and choose what to do about it. A person doesn’t have to do any bad aspects of what might be called witchcraft, but, they can kill all the witches and vampires.

      We are all Christians here in our house and the only things bad about Skyrim related to this (that I can think of), we feel, is that Bethesda went ahead and made such bad characters (vampires) that people could choose to be in order to make more sales, and the fact that, compared to other Elder Scrolls games, when you save the world and all that, you get virtually no recognition for it. There are other aspects to the game that we have some gripes about, but all in all, it’s certainly one of the better games out there for Christians. I’m not sure what else to say. I knew a Christian mom who, a long time ago, would complain about “Lord of the Rings” and tell people not to read it because it has witchcraft in it. She eventually changed her mind. There is evil in the world and there is nothing wrong with writing about and dealing with it! You will encounter far worse in your real life, regarding attitude and what people do with their lives (excepting the violence, I hope), than what is in Skyrim.

  8. Thechris316 says:

    This will sound nerdy: But the guy who killed the High King isn’t his son/brother. Hes the jarl of a city in skyrim called windhelm. He killed him to be high king though, and Each city has Jarls not Kings.

    • Yes, he is the brother. It is hard to find out, but the dark elf there will tell you, if you get the right dialogue. She tells you she helped to raise both of them, that they were brothers. In another dialogue, Ulfric will say that he was his dad’s only son. I heard this AFTER the dark elf told me they were brothers. So it makes Ulfric’s actions even worse. This kind of thing was not uncommon in medieval Europe – brothers and half brothers killing each other over the throne, and so it reminds me of that aspect of history.

      • they really aren’t brothers!!! Ulfric was the son of Windhelm’s last jarl, and Torygg’s father Istlod was high king before him. what dark elf are you talking about?

        • Vicki says:

          So why didn’t you reply to Gabriel Sword’s comment?? He knows more about it. As he said, below, it’s part of the prophecy that, yes, they are brothers. The only thing I can guess right now is that the writers messed up and have contradictory info, but, my husband was going to try and find out more in order to write about it here. He’s been sick and busy, and neither he nor I so far have found Sybille’s dialogue written out where she says this. She talks about helping raise them and how awful it was that one brother killed another.

          Your comment is the last accusatory (instead of simply academic/inquisitive) comment regarding this issue that I will approve. My husband and I (my son, too, but he doesn’t remember now as he doesn’t much care) both heard what she said and it was very clear. If it wasn’t, if it was only a hint or something, I’d say so. She said it in her bedroom, the first time I played (so I didn’t think to write it down) – apparently it’s either hard to get her to say it, or Bethesda took the dialogue out with an update. We’re not liars here. But, Ulfric is clearly a liar.

          It would make more sense on Bethesda’s part to keep previous lore alive and accurate in these games, but maybe Bethesda was working on different story lines, as they have in the past, and things got missed in editing. Or maybe they wanted people to know that Ulfric is a liar. I’d have to go back and revisit all the comments, conversations, and writings about Torygg and Ulfric. But one thing I do know, if you listen to many people and read all that you can read, is that Ulfric is deceptive.

          • I apologize for being accusatory, that was rude of me. what i should have said is that after looking again through the two big elder scrolls wikis ( http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/ and http://www.uesp.net/ ) and the few semi-relevant forum threads that came up on google, I couldn’t find anything that said they were brothers, or even any mention of the prophecy about brothers; and all available information about ulfric and torygg suggests that they are not brothers. I don’t mean to question your honesty, but the likelihood of this information being acknowledged as canonical at this time (like you said, someone could have put it in there and then taken it out later, for any number of reasons).
            sybille stentor is recorded as having talked about raising torygg, and saying that torygg held ulfric in high esteem (e.g. here, http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Ulfric_Stormcloak in the section labelled “The Death of Torygg”), which i do remember hearing. but that’s all any source I’ve found has to say about any of her dialog referring to ulfric and torygg.

            • So this is Gabriel Sword here… needed a new account… going on… the prophecy states that when two brothers wage war Alduin will return.

              “And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, that when brothers wage war come unfurled!”

              It seems all other references were removed later on by an update, however this line from an old song is the only remaining thing. I believe that they changed it to make it less… disturbing. To kill your own brother for power seems worse… though let’s face it, anyone killing anyone for power is just plain wrong… here’s the whole song:

              “Dragonborn, Dragonborn, by his honor is sworn, To keep evil forever at bay!
              And the fiercest foes rout when they hear triumph’s shout, Dragonborn, for your blessing we pray!
              Hearken now, sons of snow, to an age, long ago, and the tale, boldly told, of the one!
              Who was kin to both wyrm, and the races of man, with a power to rival the sun!
              And the Voice, he did wield, on that glorious field, when great Tamriel shuddered with war!
              Mighty Thu’um, like a blade, cut through enemies all, as the Dragonborn issued his roar!
              And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, that when brothers wage war come unfurled!
              Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, with a hunger to swallow the world!
              But a day, shall arise, when the dark dragon’s lies, will be silenced forever and then!
              Fair Skyrim will be free from foul Alduin’s maw, Dragonborn be the savior of men!”

              Alduin only is allowed to return to time when Ulfric kills Torygg. I wish I had more, but no one seems to have the old dialogue. I will see if I can’t find any videos with mention of it.

              • Anonymous says:

                Actually it’s referring to “brothers waging war” likely means the fact that it’s a civil war. Many families are divided and there are even instances, much like with the American Civil War, in which brothers are literally fighting each other. I’ve invested a good number of hours into the Elder Scrolls games and their lore and I’ve never found anything saying Ulfric and Torygg were related.

                • Vicki says:

                  I know, I know. Believe me, we’d produce more if we could. But we both heard the lady say it, that they were brothers and she helped raise them. The only thing I can think is that it was removed from the dialogue. We weren’t drinking or anything at the time, LOL. It’s just a video game, anyway–yet, it certainly would be more “intriguing” if they were in fact brothers.

    • Actually…. no. He was Ulfric’s brother. There is even the prophecy telling about when the brothers fight and he kills him that Alduin will return…. I mean, it’s really hard to miss that part in game…..

  9. Steven says:

    I have a similar problem to Jacob. Except my parents are convinced that the magic in the game is witchcraft. They also are concerned about the worship of false gods in the game. They did allow me to read Lord of the Rings, which does mention a god, Eru. Lastly they claim to be concerned about the violence, which they believe is on the level of Gears of War. Is there anything I should tell them?

    • Hi Steven. I wonder where your parents have gotten their information? I assume they have not played the game themselves, or talked with someone like who’s played? Just wondering, because the violence in Skyrim is pretty mild, for the most part. I asked my son about it compared to Gears of War and he said no, Skyrim is nothing like GofW when it comes to violence (or any other way, actually). That games had chainsaws and such. In Skyrim, you can’t cut people in half with chainsaws! Now, there are mods on the PC for all kinds of stuff, so maybe they heard from someone about the game with some mod, but the actual game is pretty mild – especially so for its M rating. I don’t even know why it’s rated M.

      I don’t know, either, why they think it contains real witchcraft. I tried for a few minutes to find out more about this but didn’t get anywhere, and I didn’t want to direct you to a real witchcraft site . . . When it comes to the witchcraft in the game, or what could be construed as such, and the worshipping of false gods, I don’t get why ANYONE would be concerned. Do they really restrict your reading and learning to societies, both past and present, that worship only the Judeo-Christian God?? No reading ever of the Greco-Roman or Northern European gods?? The game does not promote the worship of the gods in the game! LOL. It’s a game with its own history, mythology, etc. It’s a story, a fantasy story, and that’s about all. I don’t see how anyone could come away from the game thinking they could do any type of “witchcraft” at all, or wanting to worship any god in there. It’s all pretty general in that regard, and the “witchcraft” is all very fantastical.

      Its hard for me to take that parents are so concerned about a medieval looking game where a character can act out being a good person. My son plays Dark Souls and it looks that way too – perhaps more so, when it comes to the era – but it just doesn’t have the same things going for it. You always play in third person, it’s eery looking – like in a dream – the people talk like in a dream. When you find someone that talks! And it’s as irritating as monkeys trying to yank your hair out. Skyrim is a pleasant game compared to most games. It certainly is a pleasant game in its genre. The only real thing that disturbed me at when I first saw it was the slow-motion kills. They can be unpleasant, but they can be funny (lol?) too – it depends on the weapon used. Use weapons that do grosser kills and obviously the slow-mo is going to be a bit gruesome. Use electricity or something like that, and they can be quite explosively entertaining.

      Anyway, I’m not sure how to convince your parents. I don’t know your age, and I don’t know where they’re getting their info from. It sounds like from sources that don’t know all about the game. It is up to them since they’re your parents, but they should know the facts, too. I don’t know how much you’d want to tell them about this article or the comments. We have a discussion board and they could go there and ask, if they were willing. My husband knows a lot about the Elder Scrolls, and most people commenting there have played the game. The board is at: http://www.withchristianeyes.com/phpBB3/index.php Thanks for reading and asking, and God bless!

      PS. I found this on Yahoo, an answer to a question about witchcraft in Skyrim, from a mystery member: “Video games cannot be or cause Witchcraft. The Game does contain some occultism references due to its Based on Norse Paganism but to perform Witchcraft you would need things like Candles, Pentagrams, Incense Burners and Salt. I have studied but not practiced witchcraft and trust me Skyrim is not Witchcraft it’s a Video Game no more no less.”

  10. Michelle says:

    Get serious.Its wickedness and you turn away from it PERIOD. Get a G or PG rated game. God knows your heart..No..God said to turn away from ALL appaerance of evil. No need for a huge excuse. They have torture rooms for crying out loud

    • They do in real life too – do you just ignore those??? Do you do good in the world, or just put your head in the sand? I do think it would be better if everyone had the energy and constant motivation to do good in the real world and not ever do anything to relax, but in these games, you can CHOOSE to do good and try your best to do good. Not a bad way to relax, really. Your attitude is very negative toward me, very mean I might even think. How is your attitude any better than doing good in a game where there is evil? Some people like playing a hero when in their real lives it’s so hard to do that, or see that their actions are helping people in any way.

  11. Drezden says:

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the post–and reading through the comments afterwards.
    I was doing some research, because I’m looking into purchasing this game. This post is the first hit on google for “Christian review of Skyrim”.
    I think you present a diplomatic, and realistic perspective on some of possible issues people might have with it. I thoroughly agree that most of the time what people brand as “witchcraft” bears little to no resemblance to the actual practices–and the motivation for such practices. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of tilting at windmills that goes on these days.

    Anyway, always nice to hear from intelligent people presenting some nice ideas.

    • Wow, thanks so much, Drezden. It’s so nice to get a positive comment! The internet is just so full of people wanting to insult, so yeah, thanks for letting me open a window to fresh healthy air this morning! May the Lord return the blessing.

  12. Anonymous says:

    my dad got rid of SSBB one day because i was fight FREAKIN GIRLS!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!

    • Hi. By SSBB do you mean Skyrim? Do you mean that your dad got rid of the game because you had to fight with females? If so, I admit that when I first saw my son play a video game where he fought women, I was quite upset! Of course, my son was pretty young at the time, and I didn’t want him to think that was normal. He’s older now and knows you don’t go around having physical fights with women (!).

      I do find it odd that many video games have all kinds of females in them that are violent and fight . . . I wish they didn’t have that generally since I don’t think it’s normal. Women will fight if necessary, but I do think it’s more “natural” that females are generally less aggressive than men, and that it’s not good to encourage men to be physically violent with women.

      Just giving you some insight into how an adult might think. If your dad got rid of Skyrim, I don’t think that’ll help you feel any better, however. I don’t know your age – that might have something to do with it. But again, people seeing video games for the first time can be quite offended, I think, until they learn about the gaming world more. It’s up to parents to decide what their kids should be exposed to, and hopefully they won’t be too unhearing or unthoughtful or strict so that their kids end up rebelling. In any case, communication is always good so hopefully you and he can come to an understanding. Take care!

      • mike says:

        God bless!!! This post is amazing thanks for taking the time to do this for us :) the only thing that kinda makes me feel a little wired lol is when you speak to the dragon praapux I think is his name and he talks in a different language makes feel like he is speaking in a demonic language so I turn down the volume till its over. And today I just recovers the elders scrolls from the underground city and I had to go back to praapux (I really don’t know if I’m spelling it right hope you understand what dragon I’m trying to tell you about he is on the highest point of the map) I open the scroll and a bunch of symbles start popping out I was like in a trance (the character) then some other characters showed up and tried killing the dragon which at that point I got the shouts that I can command a dragon down from the sky (which is also wired) my question is, is the language of the dragons a bunch of giberish or! And actual language its almost like demonic tongs :\ also what do you think about al the symbolize in the game? I’m a 23 year old male btw married with a baby girl I play on PC

        • Hi Mike, and thanks! Ok, so the dragon you’re referring to is Paarthurnax, and the language he speaks is just made up, and I’m sure they did his voice like that to try and convey an ancient, large, long-throated, powerful creature. Paarthurnax is a very interesting character in the game – I hope you have the subtitles on because what he says is both important to the story of the game and very relevant regarding a decision you have to make. Anyway, he did some bad things in the distant past and what he’s doing now with the Dovakin – your character – is trying to make up for those bad things and help you save the world. Dragons are kind-of like angels – Alduin is a Satan figure and Paarthurnax fought with him against humans until Alduin started claiming (falsely) that he was god. Paarthurnax is now helping you to defeat Alduin.

          Daedra are other spiritual beings and most, but not all, are evil – some of the symbols and writing in the game comes from their language (well, everyone calls it Daedric, but they took it from one of the Elf groups). I would have to go back and play again (it’s been a little while, actually, since I’ve played), and read what I already covered in my posts, to see what other symbols there might be that I could discuss. Of course one of the most interesting ones is one I’ve already written about – Talos standing with his foot on the snake; Talos is the man who became a god (the game has nine divines and is not a direct analogy to Christianity at all). Thanks again for reading! Hope you’re having fun – God Bless you too!

  13. Andrew says:

    I am very appreciative of this post. I am a Christian, or trying to be, and I very much enjoy Skyrim. I love building and crafting, and when I can afford to do that more in reality I will. I believe that no one can say “stop doing this, or that” because we need to go to the Bible to find the answer, and pray on our knees. I have played through the entire game of Skyrim and there are things that do catch me as being very evil. For example, I was playing through the game at an early level and got lost and came across some characters that I fought and fled from. Later on I caught the vampire disease and did not even realize it. Towns people started attacking me and I didn’t know why. There were two ways to get rid of it, two that I know of,; to become a werewolf, or to meet with this guy, but I had to kill people to get their souls or something like that.
    All in all, I believe that we should seek the answer to our questions through prayer and reading our Bible.
    Also, I believe what Larry Ragland Jr. posted on this topic is important to consider as well; a persons intent in playing a game. If your intent is strictly to kill and murder then check yourself because then the devil will use that part of a game to cause you to sin and become numb to your actions. Now, not everyone that kills people in a game will become a murderer, however it does allow the devil to come into your life.
    Deciding whether or not a game is acceptable to play can be difficult to determine because the Bible makes it clear what to steer from; witchcraft, drinking, murder, theft, and much more (read your Bible), but all many of the things are just things you can do in the game, you don’t have to do them. Yes, you will have to fight and kill, but you don’t have to murder. (SPOILER ALERT!!) I joined the Dark Brotherhood in the game because I wanted to get the horse Shadowmere, but I had to do a lot of evil things. Murder people, speak with an evil dead women and it felt so evil in what I did. BUT you don’t have to do it, you can ignore the Brotherhood and never participate in that quest line. In life there are even more evil things that we can do compared to a game. Just like in reality, as is in some games, we have choices we can make, good or bad. So pray about it. I am getting Skyrim again, because I no longer have my Xbox 360, and now am getting it for PC. I am going to pray about my decisions in life, as well as in game. But read your Bible, because I cannot tell you whether you should play it or not. God can answer our questions better.

  14. Zachary Moore says:

    You missed the points you could make getting the Mace of Molag Bal who is obviously a deadric entity. In order to unlock the power you must a priest of Boethia at the alter of Molag Bal. There are many quests of this nature in this game. I’m quite certain it doesn’t go well with Christian views and completely goes against teachings of the Church.(I’m catholic, any denomination you’d belong to would be abhorred by such things.)

    • Vicki says:

      That’s why you don’t do those types of quests.

      I’m beginning to wonder if people don’t see the difference between a game where you can and are supposed to CHOOSE, and being tempted beyond hope in real life. If any person is a Christian, they will have a struggle with SOMETHING, at least for a time. It is much harder in real life (in my experience) to avoid temptation than in video games. If you are also in the missions field – which frankly, we all should all be in, even if it’s at home – you will run into people who do evil deeds. Do you run away from them, saying they are too evil to touch? Do you not rescue people out of evil situations because you can’t get near ANYTHING evil? In this evil world, you will have to “get your hands dirty,” in a sense, in order to do anything. While prayer and recharging in a closet is fine, Christians shouldn’t be hiding in one.

      This game has good vs evil in it, just like virtually every story does, so there’s not much difference. (We shouldn’t read stories??) However, there is some difference, and it’s my biggest complaint of the game, which I’ve made clear in articles and comments. And that is that you are rewarded for doing evil just as you are rewarded for doing good, and in Skyrim, you even get more game time when you’re in the thieves guild, especially. So, to me, it’s more a matter of “do you want to support a company by buying their product that seems to promote the doing of the more evil acts in the game?” Vote with your money, or write to them. Skyrim otherwise is a game that actually DOES have good in it, that also promotes doing good. These days, that’s not bad – most games try to remain neutral (or they approve of homosexuality, which Skyrim didn’t) in order to not be controversial and gain more buyers.

  15. Vicki says:

    Are people confused about Skyrim being an RPG – role playing game? It is not a game where you are required to do evil side quests in order to do the main quest, which is good (saving the world from the actions of the Satan figure). Some games that call themselves RPGs are not true RPGs, but just have you follow a story-line, period. Skyrim is not like that. There are many things to do in the game, and you choose which ones to do.

  16. Yuri says:

    Thank you for this post my family and I are Christian and I really want this game I think I can handle it because I watched some gameplay of Skyrim and you really explain well the good and bad points and I’m 12 and I’m mature do you think I should get the game thank you and god bless you

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Yuri, and thanks! Well, really, that’s between you and your parents! The blood and gore in the game are more passive – blood and bloody bones are on the ground and in the environment – but you don’t see much in the “action.” Except if you turn on certain perks as you level up. It is not necessary to turn those on, of course, so the gore can be kept to a minimum (using the larger weapons or dual-wielding knives can still result in heads rolling, however). For someone who wants to avoid that altogether, playing as a wizard helps – though it’s harder to play as the game progresses, I find. It takes more strategy to play as a wizard all the way through. Also, the Dawnguard DLC probably has the most passive gore, and playing as a werewolf is also disgusting (but that DLC is awesome otherwise and I’m not saying not to play it, just describing it some; I can’t imagine Skyrim without that DLC).

      So . . . it’s up to you and your parents, if they would let you do anything at all or restrict you in certain ways with the game, and your maturity level. It really truly amazes me how kids these days are so exposed to violence, sex, etc. It’s really sad that innocence has basically been dumped out the back door by so much of our society/culture anymore. You know, the flip of that is that it also amazes me greatly – in the very urban area where I live – when I come across a young person who is just happy and nice and has an innocent air about them. It’s like a miracle anymore!! So, that was an aside . . . If your parent or parents had the time, playing Skyrim themselves would probably help. Anyway, God bless you as well, Yuri!

  17. Evan Hale says:

    Hi I’m 12 and i was wondering do you think it is bad for a twelve year old to play this game and why do you think it is rated M, i want to play its but my mom says “if someone not christian rated it M than how do you think a christian would rate it” And another why she wont let me play it is because of the rating M, she doesn’t really care what my other friends are saying “oh its not bad i don’t know why someone rated it M i think it should be T” so now she wont even listen to the description can u leave some comments for me to show my mom that it is not a bad game to play?

    Thank you and god bless

  18. Evan Hale says:

    Oh and i heard you can talk to the dead is that optional or is that just a few parts of the game

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Even. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I had conversed with another 12 year old at one of my Skyrim articles and I was maybe going to point that out, but frankly I’ve been lazy and didn’t look for it. As far as I remember, that person had a bit of a different issue, anyway.

      First off, I’m not sure I would’ve let my son play Skyrim when he was 12, but I didn’t know as much about video games then as I do now, either. I do remember having problems with my son “killing” females in games when that first came to my attention. Since I play games now, I just have to accept that they can be enemies as well. And in Skyrim, there are many female combatants.

      You specifically asked about speaking with the dead. Yes, that’s one thing I actually avoid in the game – which you can do – is practice necromancy. You don’t speak with the dead, you can raise them and use them, just for short times at first. But like I said, I don’t use that ability. There are some other spirit things in the game, which is kind-of expected in a fantasy game like this.

      Otherwise, should a 12 year old be allowed to play the game? It doesn’t have sex in it, and very little swearing, so what’s left is the violence. If a parent knew about the game, they could control what their kid uses and chooses in the game. It can be relatively tame if you don’t use large weapons, certain perks, and don’t get into being a werewolf or vampire. There are many people who just play good characters because they choose to. So it is up to the parent to decide. I really can’t say for sure what I would decide if this game was out when my son was 12. I think I would’ve had to play it to see, and decide if my son was mature enough yet – or if there were things in it I didn’t want him exposed to yet. I’m thinking I probably would’ve wanted him to wait until he was 14, anyway.

      I don’t know about you and your experience with video games, and life, so I wouldn’t know. If your parents are concerned about why it’s rated M and what those elements are, I don’t blame them, but those elements can also be minimized by game the choices during game play. God bless you too, Evan!

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