Great moments in PC gaming: Entering the open world in Oblivion

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

What made it great: Oblivion's tutorial dungeon is nothing special. You get to hang out with Patrick Stewart for a bit, but it's just a linear march through a sewer and nobody likes sewer levels. But when it ends, when you've killed enough goblins to be allowed out into Cyrodiil, it's all the sweeter for the effort you've put in.

You step out of that dreary sewer onto a riverbank and see ruins, a bandit camp, rolling hills, and the white walls of the Imperial City. And of course, in 2006, it looked amazing. Suddenly, you've got options. You step into a world of possibility like a baby bird emerging from an egg or a xenomorph from a chest cavity. A text pop-up explains that "you can set off in any direction and begin exploring the world on your own. Good luck!"

And everyone does. That first moment of free choice is the first step on a road that leads to you becoming an assassin in the Dark Brotherhood, a champion of the Madgod in the Shivering Isles, or the head of every guild there is. It's such a powerful moment Bethesda repeated it at the start of Fallout 3 when you leave the Vault, only with more blinding sunlight, and it was just as potent.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.