I’ve been obsessing over The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion pretty much since it was announced. The now-famous twenty-minute demonstration movie was as fine an example of geek porn as has ever been created. I figured the game would get pushed back; RPGs always do. Debugging a game that has a bunch of interacting subsystems takes a long time. So I wasn’t that disappointed.

One of the things I’ve done in the meantime is fire up The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind again. Morrowind is a fine game hampered by a few flaws (and a lot of bugs, though the patches do help). Morrowind is also huge. While I don’t think it’s quite up to Baldur’s Gate II‘s two hundred hours of play, it’s quite big, and just working through the main quest can take dozens of hours. And of course there’s all that optional stuff to do.

So imagine my surprise when I saw on Speed Demos Archive a speedrun for Morrowind. The time was listed as 7:30. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “somebody beat Morrowind in seven and a half hours.”

No. Somebody beat Morrowind in seven and a half minutes – beat, in this case, meaning “getting the ending movie to the main plotline”. It’s an astounding movie, and I recommend watching it. Yes, it’s a bit spoilery, but it’s not too bad because you don’t get any context about why he’s doing what he does.

Even more interesting is the fact that the same page also lists the previous champion’s run, a 14:26 run. The runner who made this run took a completely different tack – basically, he went magic user while the first runner went warrior. The fact that the runs look completely different is a testament to the depth of the game. And deep is certainly what I’m looking for. I’m hoping Oblivion is excellent enough to balm the wound World of Warcraft inflicted on me when I hit level 60.

I’m also hoping my computer is good enough to run it!