The simplest and most maddeningly complex way to go to Oblivion was simply to cease to be here, and begin to be there.
There are thousands of imaginary worlds, and just as many would-be travelers waiting for a world to call theirs. Some of these worlds are carried within ourselves, and their doors belong to us and us alone. We guard them like private treasures. Some others, we can't keep them hidden; so we build doors that others can open. These doors are made of pictures, words, and music. They can take the form of books, movies, videogames and whatnot. Each door stands as an invitation waiting for a traveler. Some travelers only peer through the crack; some come inside and look around for a little bit before leaving. When the right door meets the right traveler, something else happens: a special connection is established. We explore these worlds more than any other; we learn everything about them. They become a second home.
One such second home, for me, is the world of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
At a first glance, this door didn't seem to lead to a place that I'd be interested in exploring. My relationship with high fantasy settings has always been rocky and complicated to say the least, so the premise of the series didn't immediately appeal to me. What caught me was seeing the world itself and the immense amount of detail and care that went into its creation and rendition. The world itself is a character, carefully designed through each aspect of its nature, history, and culture; the game lets you explore and interact with this universe in extraordinary depth and breadth. The region of Cyrodiil is truly alive and breathing; it is real. This was what drew me to it, and what makes me come back every time. Exploring the world allows you to see the threads composing its weave - cities, forests, caves; the full design, however, will only reveal itself incrementally - by playing again and again, overlaying the information that you've collected in your travels to see how everything relates to everything else. It's all up to you to figure it out, and there is great delight in doing so and seeing that all the pieces fit together.
And so ten years and thirty playthroughs went by, running through the immense wilderness of Cyrodiil and finding out what secrets are hidden behind the waterfalls.
The site you're currently reading contains a collection of essays that I've written about Oblivion, exploring the aspects of its world that I found most interesting - both for myself to write these thoughts down in a coherent fashion, and for others to be able to read them and appreciate these things as well.
By presenting this universe, I hope that someone else will peer inside this door and begin another adventure.
Table of contents
❖ Note: the essays on this site are meant to be accessible to any reader, regardless of how familiar they are with the source material. The essays contain details that could be considered spoilers; however, Oblivion isn't a game about amazing plot twists. If you're reading this site from the perspective of someone who hasn't played Oblivion yet, I would say that you should only stop reading if you want to get into the game completely cold, or if you are going through a particular storyline right in this moment.