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.

If not for Skyrim, picking the RipTen game of the year would have been a lot harder.  Unfortunately for all the other games nominated, Skyrim exists. Between all the members of the RipTen staff who play Skyrim, we have logged over 500 hours of gameplay.  That is almost more time than we’ve put into all the other games we’ve played this year combined… and it’s only been a little over a month.  This is a game with no multiplayer, and we are nearly all on our first playthrough.  Quite frankly, that’s astounding.

There are plenty of reasons to not give The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim game of the year.  It’s got plenty of hilarious bugs and glitches, the console patches have seemingly done more harm than good, and the PS3 version is riddled with problems due to memory issues.  However, you’d be hard pressed to find any gamer, let alone any members of this staff who did not easily overlook such issues and succumb to the immersion of Skyrim.  Moreover, one could argue that it’s simply more of the same, just more Elder Scrolls.  Oblivion 1.5: Dragons in Snow.  Yet, you know that’s untrue.

Skyrim is a game that has not only surpassed its predecessor in every way, it’s a game that stands on it’s own merits high above a sea of worthy competitors.  A vast and engrossing open world wherein each and every stop along the way tells its own story.  Every city, every town, every hut, every ruin, every shrine, every beggar, every lord, every tavern and every cave tells a story – and you will be drawn in each and every time.

The sights and sounds of Skyrim will astound you, they will envelop you, and they will surround you.  You will marvel at the blowing winds, rushing streams, falling snow and pouring rain as you press onward on your near infinite amount of quests.

You can be whoever you want, go wherever you want, and do as you please in the lands of Skyrim.  Such is the foundation of the Elder Scrolls franchise, and with Skyrim, Bethesda has nearly perfected their magical formula.

It is a game that has been capable of swallowing the lives of gamers from all walks of life, and the RipTen staff is no exception.

Chris Carlson, who only games on his Xbox 360, has logged over 100 hours in Skyrim, and has even learned the Dragon language.  Want proof?  The names of all the staff are inscribed in the Dovah tounge on the image above.  What sort of game could drive a man to such madness?  Only Skyrim.

Sam Naylor and Catherine Cai, the most sarcastic members of the RipTen writing team, cannot possibly cast their trademark snark upon Skyrim, for it has taken hold of them as well, and refuses to let go.

Stephanie Gutowski, a self-professed Elder Scrolls virgin, has now not only fallen in love with the world of the Elder Scrolls, but she awarded Skyrim a perfect score.  Between a Rip and a Ten, there was no doubt in her mind.  For once she was an adventurer like you, then she took Skyrim to the heart.

Aaron Alexander, who could not stand the world of Oblivion – became so obsessed one night with the story of Skyrim that he beat the main quest in one sitting.  This, of course, was after switching to the PC version after playing it for dozens of hours on his PS3.  It mattered not, it was worth starting his journey over.

Last but not least, Dave Oshry, RipTen’s editor and your humble narrator, who has been studying, rebuilding and adventuring within the Elder Scrolls universe for over a decade – has been nothing but overly impressed with Skyrim.  Where he once cast doubt and aimed to find fault, he now only praises the game as a triumph.  He may claim to “play” other games, but he only “experiences” Skyrim.

It’s remarkable then, that the game that brought our team together the most this year, was one we could not actually play together.  Our staff is scattered across the globe, yet this year we were all Dovahkiin, Dragonborn.

-

For enveloping us all in such a way, and captivating us each and every day,

For proving that single player gaming is not dead, and not letting us rest in our owned beds,

the choice, my friends, is abundantly clear,

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is our Game of the Year.

-

The RipTen End of the Year Awards are voted on by the RipTen Staff in what is likely the world’s longest and most ridiculous email chain you have ever seen.  

If you don’t agree with our choices, tough shit, go start your own gaming site.

^__^