- Jokingly shown off at Bethesda’s E3 conference, most people didn’t think that ‘Skyrim Very Special Edition’ on the Amazon Echo was real.
- In fact, it’s a free app available for Amazon’s Alexa and Echo devices.
- The game is a sort of stripped-down, text RPG version of Skyrim.
When I first saw Bethesda director Todd Howard slyly showing off “Skyrim Very Special Edition” at E3, a voice-only version of the game with Amazon’s Alexa, I thought Todd had got us again. I assumed it was another one of Bethesda’s jokes where they show how self-aware they are – this time making fun of how many re-releases they gave to the nearly 10-year old game “Skyrim.”
I was wrong. “Skyrim Very Special Edition” is very real, and I loaded it up on the Amazon Echo Dot to give the text-to-speech RPG game a try.
Having never used an Echo device before, I wasn’t sure where to start. After setting it up and connecting my Amazon account, I thought I was ready to go.
“Alexa, play Skyrim,” I sheepishly said.
“OK – playing Skyrim Main Theme,” Alexa replied, and immediately queued up the infamous Skyrim theme song.
I quickly realised that I needed to add “Skyrim Very Special Edition” to Alexa’s “skills” before I could use it. There are no actual visuals to this game, and all the information is relayed to you through Alexa, so I created some Skyrim-style graphics to help illustrate what the speech-based adventure was like:
The game itself is pretty simple: here’s how it works
You start off at a crossroads, Alexa asks you to decide which way to go after a few choices are presented, and you’ll meet someone at the end of that road. That someone will always have some important quest for you that they can’t be bothered to do themselves, and you can choose to accept or deny the quest. Then, you will inevitably get into some sort of combat. You can choose to use your weapon, cast a spell, use a shout, or flee the battle. You don’t have many other choices to make, and answering is as simple as saying “weapon,” or “spell” – you don’t ever actually choose which weapon, spell, or shout to use.
After getting the hang of the game (which took about 3 minutes), leaving it for a while and then coming back, Alexa greeted me and reminded me where I had left off. I was working on a quest where someone had asked me to retrieve a priceless work of art.
I chose yes, and walked further into the cave (or at least Alexa told me I did).
I didn’t feel like fighting, so I chose to flee.
“The mighty dragonborn manages to scamper off successfully,” Alexa said, mocking me. Inside the cave and past the Khajiit that I ran from, I fought a few spiders. After that, I was finished with the cave.
I quickly found myself in the middle of another quest, in which I needed to retrieve a golden chalice for someone I met in a tavern. Of course, along the way, I met people and creatures who didn’t want me to do that.
The apprentice ice mage proved no match for my ability to say commands to an Amazon Echo.
“Weapon,” I replied.
After I continued, another apprentice ice mage tried to fight me. After quickly dispatching of him, Alexa informed me that I had inexplicably and automatically replaced my waraxe with the small iron dagger I found on his body – something that happens every time you find a weapon on a body – even though different weapons didn’t seem to preform differently.
Regardless, I continued on, only to be met by a third apprentice ice mage who died the same way as the previous two. I could tell I was getting closer to the end of the quest – because Alexa told me that.
“Flee,” I said. There is nothing more terrifying than a mudcrab, especially a giant one. I wanted nothing to do with it.
“Flee,” I repeated.
“Flee,” I said for a third time.
I realised that this wasn’t getting me very far, and I would have to fight this mudcrab.
“Spell,” I said – which for some reason caused Alexa to close out of the game, making me think I had lost my progress.
“Safe travels, adventurer,” she said to me as she shut down Skyrim Very Special Edition.
After having Alexa launch the game again, she luckily gave me a recap of where I was, and once again made me choose my method of attack. I killed the mudcrab, which was actually pretty easy, and then completed the quest.
I ended the game here, because the game gets quite repetitive after a while. It mostly serves as a self-aware joke – a nod to the gaming community that says “we get it, we’re in on the joke too,” but nothing more than that. It’s a fun way to spend a few minutes, and sometimes hearing Alexa make Skyrim-related observations and prompts can be pretty amusing.
You can try the game for yourself by asking Alexa to enable the “Skyrim Very Special Edition” skill, or adding it manually via the Alexa app.