The pastoral and the sublime in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The landscape in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is treated here as an expressive aspect of the game whose meaning transforms as it is explored. The landscape, which is made up of the human realm of Tamriel and the demonic realm of Oblivion, reflects a Manichean moral framework that is at the game's heart. The landscape is encountered in the sublime mode, understood here through Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant, in that it emphasizes an incomprehensible largeness and expanse. This lends the game's moral framework an epic grandeur. But as the landscape becomes more familiar to the player it tends to migrate from the sublime to the picturesque mode, a waning that may be read in relation to the game's resolution of its narrative conflict.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGame Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Landscape
  • Oblivion
  • Pastoral
  • Picturesque
  • Sublime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics


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