How good is Bethesda Studios' new role-playing game, Skyrim? It's so good I'm afraid to open the box.

That's right, instead of opening it up and loading it on my machine, when UPS delivered my copy I instead carefully wrapped the box in Christmas paper and put a label on it saying To Andy from Santa.

That marks the first time ever that a new video game didn't go straight onto my hard drive upon arrival. And if rave reviews and my own apprehension aren't enough to convince you, check out Matt Yglesias musing about the possibility of a productivity dip as U.S. workers abandon their jobs and real lives for the wonders of the game's richly-imagined world.

Intriguing, no?

I say think of Skyrim as a sort of insurance policy. If winter turns out to be a bust, by all means load it up. And if instead the snow starts falling, well, there's always summer to kill. Exactly when I'll be opening up my copy remains to be seen, but I can always ski by day and play by night, right? Right? I mean, would it really hurt that much if just opened the box now and read the install guide? No harm could possibly come from that, now could it?

Hmm. Maybe I should give the box to my wife and tell her to hide it now before it's too late...

→ get your copy of Skyrim at Amazon

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents