Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fable I & II: What Choice is All About

In my younger years I was frankly addicted to the Xbox exclusive game Fable. I may have played it a total of eight times through from beginning to end. So naturally I was thrilled for the arrival of it's long awaited sequel in 2008. Unfortunately, completely Fable II felt more like finishing the original game again. It was less of a new adventure and more of a rehash of the one before it. But there was something which struck me about the series that had amazed me.

Choice. The first two Fable games were about choice, however ridiculous those choices were. Often one would pick between the most horrible thing imaginable and it's high-holy counterpart. So by the end of each game the world could be drastically different than it was when your hero set out on his quest. But that was a lie, and between the games something unintentionally deep was revealed. No matter how good or evil I had been in the first game the world of the second was unaffected.

It was inevitable that all of my "heroes" actions were for not. I could become the greatest evil to ever exist, I could make every in Albion happy and safe, but when my descendant in the second game began his journey I was but a faint memory. Isn't that just like reality in all the saddest ways. Oakvale, my main character from the first game's hometown had been burnt to the ground. Later I would see it rebuilt. But regardless of my hero, nothing would stop it from being buried underwater in Fable II.

We as human beings have an inherent freedom of choice. Every day we can spend of time making tough or simple decisions, avoiding conflict or marching through the streets. But the way of the world, nature and time, keeps going despite us and all our pretentious influence. In our lives we are the only ones who can perceive ourselves as heroes, but on a grander scale (a grander scale than our pointless human existence) our actions are meaningless.

What a depressing game... and I thought it was about fart jokes. That is another great example of choice in Fable. I can marry man or woman (progressive), I can go around punching every citizen in the face, I can buy up almost every building, I can just wander aimlessly laughing at strangers, I can chop wood for hours, but none of it even matters to my own story at the time. The linear plot of my life is set in stone, and there is truly only one ending. I make a choice (good or evil, or neutral in Fable II) and the world goes on, uncaring.

That was the best part of the games for me, perhaps only because I found some unintentional depth. The games are fun on their own, if not a little bland and very similar. So I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to playing the third, or if I will play the third, but I did get something out of the series I haven't seen in many video games. That's something admirable... I guess...

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