It’s 2015 and I’m only just playing Skyrim, that smash hit from 2011, for the first time. How did this happen? When I try to answer that question, the first thing I think of is Led Zeppelin.
My first exposure to rock music was through my dad’s record collection, so I ended up listening to a lot of the Beatles, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, and, of course, Led Zeppelin. But then something happened. I was in high school during the 90s, a time when the sixties were back in a big way and kids were listening to Zeppelin as if they were another Seattle grunge band; between that and Zeppelin’s ubiquity on rock radio, I got burned out. I needed a break. But somewhere along the way, my brain got confused and convinced me that I actually disliked Led Zeppelin. So, for ten years or so, I just kept on not listening to them. The hiatus became indefinite. I would change the station when they came on the radio. I didn’t buy any of their music on CD, that newly emerging music format. I simply lived as a person who wasn’t at all into Zeppelin.
Fast forward to 2005. My brother turned thirty that year, and for his birthday I made him a mix CD with a song from each year of his life – beginning with 1975, the year he was born, and the year Led Zeppelin released Physical Graffiti. Listening to that album to decide what song to open the CD with, I realized something that I knew when I was 12 but had since forgotten: Zeppelin rocks! Within days I had purchased the most recently remastered versions of their first six albums, and was making up for a lot of lost time on air drums and air guitar. Order was restored to the universe.
Why did my brain come to the conclusion that I disliked Led Zeppelin when in reality I probably only needed a brief respite from them? Could it do the same thing with pizza? What else do I only think I don’t like? I don’t know. But this is what happened with Skyrim. When people kept telling me, over and over, insistently and enthusiastically, that I should play Skyrim – that I needed to play Skyrim – I dismissed them. Skyrim just wasn’t my type of game. I wasn’t into that sort of thing.