Jim Louderback

October 24, 2008

Help, I’m Infatuated With My Fable 2 Avatar

Filed under: Commentary — Jim @ 11:59 am
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SG1S3227  Is it wrong to be infatuated with your video game character?  That’s the question I keep asking myself as I play through the stellar new video game Fable 2, from rock-star developer Peter Molyneux.

The latest installment in the popular Fable world takes place 500 years after the first, and includes a host of new features and capabilities.  I was particularly taken by the stunning new graphics which paint an open Oblivion-like world that offers nearly endless exploration opportunities.  And in this version you even get your very own dog – who becomes a key part of the game,  helping you to uncover hidden treasure and finishing off fallen enemies.

As with the first version, your in-game choices cause your character to evolve towards good or evil – and the rest of the world reacts as your character changes. But this latest version also lets you play through the game as either gender, which sits squarely at the root of my dilemma.

I received an early copy a few days before the official launch, and I’m not sure who was more excited – me or my nine year old son Sam, who has had Fable 2’s launch circled on the calendar for months.  Sam has played through the first version of Fable many times, fascinated by the game’s moral underpinnings, and the ability to directly see the effects of good and evil actions.

Neither the first or second installments are really designed for kids, though.  There are definitely adult themes, and the battles can seem particularly graphic – especially when you lop off an enemy’s head with just the right key combo.  I did have to explain to Sam what a "prostitute" was, during a relatively tame quest in Fable2 (a girl that likes to kiss a lot).  Even though sex is a far bigger part of the game — along with firearms, Fable’s technologists have just invented the condom — you can avoid it entirely, which my son has wisely chosen to do.

Not me.  When the game arrived, Sam immediately began playing as a boy.  After an hour I began my own character – and since you can play a girl I figured I’d give it a try.

But after carefully evolving my character Missy through the first third of the game, keeping her away from fatty snacks, and focusing her training, I’d grown abnormally fond of the girl.  Sure, I’d given her a more winsome haircut, and found some dye to turn her blond.  And yeah, I’d discovered the adolescent joy of stripping her down to her skivies; the Fable equivalent of ogling underwear models in the Sunday paper.

I’d even maneuvered her into becoming a master Blacksmith, in part because you need a job in Fable to raise enough money to buy weapon, houses and baubles.  I could have focused on woodcutting, bartending or bounty hunting, but truth be told a topless Missy just looked so darn good making swords I couldn’t help myself.

I’d grown so fond of her, alas, that I wouldn’t even let her flirt with other guys.  I’m not completely heartless, however, I did find her a nice lesbian barmaid to settle down with – alas, they’ll never have babies together, but they do appear to enjoy consensual sex.  It’s hard to tell, though, because as soon as they get into bed the lights go out.

The game itself follows roughly the same arc as the first version.  Your family gets knocked off early, and you spend the rest of the game saving the world and getting revenge.  In the first version you spend a few years in jail, and fight a series of gladiator-style battles in the arena.  In this version, you spend 10 years in the Spire, and fight a series of gladiator-style battles in the

imageEven though you can now fight with guns, battle hasn’t changed much.  You still button-mash your way to glory with hack and slash attacks and magic.  You no longer have a finite reservoir of magic (aka Will), instead you hold the magic button down to build up Will for more involved spells.  This is both good and bad – you never run out of magic in a fight, but you can’t immediately whack your enemies with a super-powerful spell.  The game also moved the magic button to the RED B, which was a major problem – as I frequently found myself accidentally casting spells in towns, scaring away potential lovers, shopkeepers and other townfolk, and incrementing my "bad meter".

On the plus side, in Fable 2 you never die.  Run out of life force, and you fall to the ground, lose any unassimilated experience points, and then rise to fight again – albeit with a brand-new disfiguring scar.  My son thought these blemishes were cool looking – I was horrified, and worked overtime to keep my Missy pure.

Neither Sam nor I have finished yet, although he’s much further along than me.  It’s not a game you rush to complete though, as much of the fun is found building your life, becoming an expert at different skills, and performing the various interconnected quests.

Even though its 500 years later, the world seems familiar, the characters haven’t changed a lot, and you still get the somewhat guilty pleasure of kicking chickens and munching on crunchy chicks.  It does seem harder, however, to become really good, or truly evil, but that’s OK.  As long as I can keep growing my character’s attributes and exploring the amazingly detailed and often wryly humorous world, that’s OK.  But next time, perhaps, I’ll opt for a male character instead.  Until then, don’t tell my wife, please, about my emotional attachment to Fable.  She just wouldn’t understand.

30 Comments »

  1. Jim, I too cannot stop playing Fable 2. I love the game so much! it is such a beautiful and engaging game. I think that with all of the quests it will have a big replay value also.

    Comment by Tyler Howarth — October 24, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  2. yeah, I want to replay it as a guy, and also as a bad person. If only the world was a little bit more open like Oblivion..

    I can’t wait for the follow-on packs as well. Nice job PM

    Comment by Jim Louderback — October 24, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  3. To respond to the original thing. Wow, dude. That’s….um…yeah. Whew.

    Comment by Frank Matthews — October 27, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  4. Eat a dick, Louderback.

    Comment by Jim Hanson — October 27, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

  5. Jim,
    C’mon man… I “get” cutting I.S. & P.S., but NOT PIXEL PERFECT!
    Bert is a Pshop god, and the design world needs someone like him.
    Please reconsider Pixel Perfect’s fate.
    I agree with the rest of your decisions.

    Comment by BiggDunc — October 27, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  6. Martin’s show was canceled? Martin freaking Sargent?! OMFG come on! And THE Sarah Lane? WTF?!

    Not cool, man. Seriously. Rev3 means nothing to me now.

    Comment by jeremy — October 27, 2008 @ 10:13 pm

  7. Eat a dick, Louderback.

    Comment by James Thomas — October 28, 2008 @ 9:09 am

  8. Haha, I think you have a lot of hate mail coming your way because of the canceled shows (WHAT THE EFF WERE YOU THINKING BABY RAPER!!) but as for Fable 2, why are all the chicks so barrel chested? My female avatar looks like she could swallow a goat with one gulp… And I was apparently a bad lesbian lover too because my wife divorced me.

    Comment by Joe — October 28, 2008 @ 11:05 am

  9. Eat a dick Louderback

    Comment by Brad — October 31, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

  10. Mr. Louderback, I understand that cuts must be made in the current economic climate, and I understand Pixel Perfect, and even PopSiren – even though I love Sarah. I understand.

    But Martin Sargent?

    Martin Sargent is one of the funniest and most talented people involved in new media and has always been a great voice to represent the weird side of the web. If you were unhappy with the format of his content, you should have met with him and restructured things, or even canceled his current content but planned more.

    He was a valuable asset to Rev3, and you tossed him aside like so much garbage.

    I struggle to avoid vulgarity and insult in this letter, because I would rather you read it and understand it not as condemnation, but rather as a plea for sanity.

    I urge you not to repeat G4’s mistakes by cutting your core talent.

    If you have any business sense, you will call up Martin, apologize, and offer to work with him on designing a new show. Something like the old Unscrewed would go over VERY well with the old Tech TV fans (and believe me, they are your core audience at Rev3)…

    Good luck, sir.

    – AB

    Comment by Pseudonym A. Mous — November 3, 2008 @ 9:29 am

  11. You should start playing World of Warcraft, You could find a nice blood elf to settle down with. Who needs a wife anyways? It would be better to take away your wife and instead let video games raise your child. Really it could work out two ways.

    A. you would have plenty of time to sit around, smoke pot and play video games.

    B. Your child will become the master of all video games, giving you complete control over the video game cycle.

    Eventually you could get him on WOW with you, hook him up with a cute undead chick or something, and then whip him to farm gold all day. I mean, hell, you could even retire off of this shit. We need to start manipulating our children to do all of our biddings. That way all you have to do in order to get rich is have a child. Through an intense boot camp like environment, soon them will be doing intense MMO farming, giving you enough REAL money so that you can retire and smoke pot while drooling at your Fable 2 character. I know your going to say something stupid like “I dont smoke pot” or “I would never want my child raised that way” but COMEEEE on. Just think “I do what I want”, this could really make your life sick as hell.

    Also…Take these crushes to the next lvl my friend. I happen to have invented a tv with just you in mind. With this simple contraption you can stick your man handle all the way THROUGH THE TV!!!! Thank GOD!!!! I’ll send you one don’t worry.

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