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Video Games: MW3 and Skyrim

It’s First Person Shooter Versus RPG

A screenshot from the new video game

Credit: Bethesda Software

Above: A screenshot from the new video game "Elder Scrolls: Skyrim."


KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with gamers waiting in line for Skyrim at Game Stop in Lemon Grove.


On Tuesday, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" racked up record sales for video games. At 12:01 this morning, "Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" was released. I talked to gamers waiting in line at the Lemon Grove Game Stop last night.

The popularity of video games is booming and even outpacing movies. While Hollywood mourns the demise of DVDs and struggles to get people excited about buying BluRay, gamers are lining up to shell out $60 for a video game. This week proved to be an especially big week for the gaming industry with the release of the latest "Call of Duty" first person shooter game "Modern Warfare 3," and the long awaited next installment of "Elder Scrolls" called "Skyrim." The two games represent the two main cliques in the gaming world. FPS games tend to involve a community of gamers as it can be played online whereas RPG games tend to engage the gamer on a solitary quest. RPG gamers are often looked upon as the nerds among gamers while RPG players like to call the FPS players as "casual gamers." But this week, everyone had something to look forward to. Check out the trailers below and note how cinematic the marketing of the games has become, even to the point of "COD" calling upon actors Sam Worthington and Jonah Hill to star in its trailer.

"Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3," like most video games, got released on a Tuesday, which posed a dilemma for gamers who wanted to play it immediately and for days. That's why the unusual Friday release of "Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" on the eve of a 3-day weekend pleased 17-year-old Cameron Martin.

"I think it's kind of perfectly planned so I don't have to do anything tomorrow except this," says Martin, "But I hear a lot of students came down with Modern Warfare-itis Tuesday and there were very few students actually at school on Tuesday."

The school attendance office couldn't verify a spike in absenteeism but many in line claimed to know people who had ditched work or school to stay home and play. A first person shooter game like MW3 might keep a gamer busy for dozens of hours but a role playing game like "Skyrim" can take hundreds of hours says my 18-year-old son Tony Weidinger. He and his friend devised a plan of attack for Skyrim.

"We got there at 10 so we figured that we would at least get a good position in line we were like 5th, 6th," says Weidinger, "Then while we were waiting in line we got a bunch of Monsters, 5, Extra Strength Monsters and then get the games come home set up two TVs, two systems, with two different games and play 'em till our bodies give out or we have to leave."

So between Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3, gamers are unlikely to see the light of day until Monday.

You can also listen to my NPR feature on gamers taking advantage of the 3-day weekend.

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