Skyrim and Gaming's Old School Myth and Legend

There's a new opinion piece entitled "Skyrim and Gaming's Old School Myth and Legend" up on Gamasutra, during which the author waxes nostalgic about the experiences we used to have with video games in the 1980s and 1990s before diving into how The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim manages to bring back some of that original mystery and wonder due to its sheer size. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he has to say:
Being a gamer meant living in a world of imagination and experimentation, and often of conflict and conjecture. I still remember fierce, polarizing recess shouting matches of groups of kids, some of which declared for Mario and others for Sonic. Accessibility was not nearly as valued as it is now; in fact, opacity and hostile complexity was often something to be desired.

Instead mastery, both of gameplay itself and of the information world, was such a highly valued commodity that it wasn't unusual for rumors to run rampant. Kids would tell one another of made-up secret levels and hidden characters, and were happy to lie about whether or not they'd conquered this or that title.

More than one of my gamer friends has told me about entirely inventing imagined endings for games they could tell others about, just to propagate legends and make others believe they'd achieved something no one else had. The enormously complex culture of myths and secrets that was part of the experience of being a gamer when we were young just doesn't exist anymore.

But with Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, gamers seem to be getting a little of that cult storytelling back. Indeed, I've a hunch that therein lies much of the game's appeal: Skyrim certainly isn't successful because of its degree of polish, its cohesion or even its originality (I see it having none of the above in notable quantity).

It's mainly that the massive, sprawling RPG with all of its quirky, broken bits gives gamers an unprecedentedly enormous canvas for telling personal stories.