What was it? The video driver had updated and I needed to go get yet another update. Thankfully the app GeForce Experience did all the work this time.
Alright, so I'm running windows 10 and recently installed Skyrim SE on my laptop. I have started it up twice so far with success and finally fine tuned the graphics to run great so I decided to go to Nexus Mods to begin modding the game.
After installing numerous mods I ran it and it worked, but none of the mods were active (my bad on not being a frequent PC gamer), so I downloaded Nexus Mod Manager, which was able to detect the mods I dropped into the data folder and finally got them activated. Now when I start skyrim, the launcher appears and I press "Play". The 'hourglass' shows up and I can hear the processor kick in, but nothing. Just desktop. I go to task manager and find Skyrim is there, running normally. I seem to remember back in the day I could use a "switch to" option to force an application to pop up in a window. I am totally lost and before I go uninstalling things I was curious if there is an easy fix for this.
(I also tried running as admin and troubleshoot compatibility, but no avail)