Alchemy and archives, swords, spells, and castles: Medieval-modding Skyrim

Erik Champion, Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller, Katrina Grant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim1 has great potential as a teaching and learning tool. The world of Skyrim, although sometimes labelled pseudo-medieval,2 can aim for a level of historical accuracy comparable to many scholarly digital 3D reconstruction projects. These types of projects are now widely accepted as a vehicle for a new way of thinking about old topics, and as a valuable prompt for engaging students. The advantage of using Skyrim is that the historically informed mods3 can be combined with sophisticated game mechanics to immerse and inspire students in procedural, contestable, and reconfigurable simulations. Through playful exploration, students can investigate the game world and engage with both the historically-informed and fantastical elements. But they can also become designers, and investigate historical developments through the creation of new assets, modified game mechanics, and social storytelling. Designing simulations is a further learning experience and Skyrim's Creation Kit is thus also a pedagogical tool. In this chapter we will explore ways in which Skyrim can be used and modified to explain, through play, three related aspects of medieval society: culture, architecture, and landscape. We will then discuss its modding capability, and conclude with some suggestions for how future Elder Scrolls games and mods could be leveraged as teaching and learning tools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching the Middle Ages through Modern Games
Subtitle of host publicationUsing, Modding and Creating Games for Education and Impact
EditorsRobert Houghton
PublisherWalter de Gruyter
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783110712032
ISBN (Print)9783110711967
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2022


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