Sgt. Sykes said:
Isn't that the point of RPGs? To role-play? Be it in videogames, tabletop games, or in the bed room, it's still you who's playing someone else. Of course they can't surprise you since it's you who's making the decisions.
Games like Skyrim are bland, open, and meaningless. Little you do is of consequence outside of superficials, and they even go out of their way to make sure you don't close off paths.
Playing a character doesn't generally mean ultimate freedom and the like.
I mean, if that's what tickles you fancy, go for it. If that's what you think of when you think "role-playing," though, you're not really using it in any conventional sense.
One of the best things about other forms of roleplaying (both tabletop AND the bedroom) is that you bump up against the characters and actions of other people. RPGs give you a sandbox to run around in, but not much real chance to develop character or to have your actions tested. VRPGs are so scared of making you do things that they'll let you meander on even the most urgent of things until you accept the latest mission, if even then.
"The fate of the world hangs in the balance! But only if you take this quest and follow this marker."
And I daresay, in other forms of roleplaying, there's an outside imperative. Whether it be your GM or your lover, if you decide that your character is going to go out and chop wood for 37 hours, someone's not going to stand for it.
In a sense, "have it your way" can actually hurt a roleplaying experience. But then again, in a world where most of us live in insulated bubbles and don't even get news that doesn't speak to us, in an on-demand world, is it any wonder that the minute we're asked to do something we don't want to we whine like entitled kids?
Roleplaying a constructed character is valid as roleplaying, often times more so than the so-called "open-world" RPGs that have become the hallmark of the "true roleplayer[sup](TM)[/sup]" which is less about roleplaying and more about self-gratification. To continue your bedroom reference, it's less roleplaying and more masturbation. And these games tend to be carefully crafted around stroking your ego as the Messiah, the Chosen One, The Next Big Thing, whatever.
And OT: I think Yahtzee's trying too hard to force a metaphor here. But then, Saints Row 3 was a hollow, shallow experience and from what I hear, SR4 is more of that but "zanier." Maybe it does reflect "us."