Like many other folks in my gaming circle, I've been swallowed whole by Skyrim. I only just got it a week ago, but it is... compelling. I agree with those who praise it for its ambition, which is impressive. I enjoy just walking the world, and the emergent quirkiness that sometimes develops from the random generation can be charming, funny, or just dangerous. I was in the middle of playing the new Zelda game when my brother gave me Skyrim as a gift. I'm a longtime Zelda fanatic who had never played an Elder Scrolls or Fallout game (I know, I know), but since Skyrim's arrival in my home, I have completely dropped Skyward Sword. I'll get back to it, of course. But I'm not sure when.
This post isn't really about Skyrim, but about what it inspires (to the extent that the post is about anything at all). What Skyrim inspires is interest in a hex crawl, somewhat west marches style game. We've had about a 6-8 month break from fantasy roleplay as our group has been engaged in a regular Mage: The Ascension campaign, albeit with a few one shots of other things mixed in -- a dash of rainy city D&D, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (2nd edition), Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game, and perhaps something else here or there. But it has been mostly a world changing Mage campaign in which everything appears to be coming to a head. It looks like the Mage game will wrap up in the near future.
A hex crawl, sandbox, pick-your-favorite-descriptor fantasy campaign is a likely follow up, and time permitting, when I can pull myself away from Skyrim, I'll be posting my thoughts on the initial setting ideas as well as the approach I'm taking to putting it all together.
Also, I assume you have seen Secret Santicore 2011. You have read it? It may be my favorite thing the OSR-osphere spun out in 2011. Having one person request something and another person produce it -- that really worked.
So, kudos to everyone involved in making that wonderful thing.