Time Sinks: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

There's a brief retrospective-like article on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on GameInformer, and while you won't find an insightful analysis of the title's mechanics in it, it does a good job explaining why so many people loved the title. Here's a snip:
Skyrim nicely ties its crafting, enhancements, and smithing (and I don't even dabble in cooking or mining!) with its multi-faceted skill constellations for complementary systems that not only give you a tangible object at the end of your hard work, but also improve your character. I spend hours plotting out exactly which perks I want to get on the constellations and then work backwards from there to see what I have to do to achieve them.

There's also the necessary process of decluttering your inventory from all the potions, unused weapons, and other miscellanea, which ties into another time suck for me in the game arranging my houses. Apart from upgrading the place, it's nice to have a well-appointed storehouse of stuff you never know when you might need a particular item that you don't necessarily want to carry around with you all the time.

None of this is revolutionary for a video game. However, Skyrim is so well constructed that the allure when you place it all in the context of the game world and your moment-to-moment existence is powerful. Legends are created through grand adventures, but scratching out a living that has an impact on the world both large and small is immeasurable.