Fable II and sex, sex, sex!

My brother got Fable II for his birthday and while it’s fun, I can already tell that it’s going to be a veritable treasure trove of bloggy material. It’s all about how you can CHOOOOSE anything you like, and while you still can’t CHOOOOSE to be a pacifist (in fact, you’re forced to beat up a bully in one of the first cutscenes) I’ve stopped even hoping for that (since, as we all know, killing is totally A-OK if nobody likes the guy you kill!). It does finally let you CHOOOOSE to be female, so I consider my qualms about the first Fable sufficiently assuaged.

However, this game has some messed-up attitudes about sex. Background information: your actions are rated as Good or Evil, and as Pure or Corrupt. Good/Evil acts are those that affect others (charitable donations, murder, etc), while Pure/Corrupt acts are those that affect yourself (playing the lute or eating rancid beef jerkey, of course.) So, sleeping with a prostitute is a Corrupt act. (Not Evil, because it only affects you!) But wearing a condom (even while sleeping with a prostitute) is a Pure act! In fact, it’s such a Pure act that it basically cancels out the Corrupt-ness of the prostitution! And the official guide book is very keen on telling us this, like it’s a great treat! How grand.

Now, I’m playing this game with my two younger brothers, so we’re not having sex with anyone. In fact, we literally run from people attempting to flirt with us (who are all over, even though we’ve barely done anything noteworthy, and still have our original stinky clothes! I dread walking around towns after we’re awesome). I wish it was easier to avoid the constant sex stuff, but whatever. At least we haven’t been accosted by any of the apparently-prevalent prostitutes yet.

We did, however, play the little mini-game available here (since it earned us in-game stuff!). It still says “enter thine date of birth,” which, as you know, infuriates me, but I’m more interested in the section where you basically pick a wife by picking a woman to help. There’s the skinny woman in green, who wants you to kill her husband and will reward you with a life of fortune (and implied sex) with her (because you look interesting, and her rich husband is really boring). There’s the “fat” (but not really) woman in pink, who wants you to find her pig, and will reward you with pie (she comes on to you first, but really the reward is pie.) And then there’s the thin-ish-but-still-curvy girl in brown who wants you to find her little brother, and has nothing but gratitude to reward you with.

Killing the green woman’s husband is the “evil” option, and you will be a perfect match due to your selfishness and greed. Saving the brown woman’s brother is the “good” option, and when she thanks you “more than gratitude” will be “sparkling in her eyes,” and you will be charmed and settle down after a respectable period of time. Finding the pink woman’s pig is neutral, I guess because you’re doing it for the pie; you eat pie at her house every day until you decide you might as well move in.

The women all stand in a row and typify a broad range of choices. As you go from left to right, they go from evil to good, and from greedy to selfless, and from sexually-charged to chaste. It almost makes it seem like a chance at sex is one of the rewards for evil (which conflates sex with greed by making sex a “prize”!) In general, it seems to conflate evil, greed, and sex in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I’m not too comfortable with the conflation of greed and evil, either, since as a girl society always seemed to say to me that I ought to be totally selfless or else I was a bad person (lies!), but since that’s not a message men recieve (like, at all) and this is geared at men (what with the women-as-prizes-and-sex-machines-which-are-the-same-thing) I’m primarily concerned with the association between evil and greed, and sex.

Sex is not evil. (It actually sounds pretty pleasant!) It’s also not notably greedy. It’s something you do because it feels nice, which is technically selfish in the sense that it’s focused on your personal self’s happiness (for everyone involved!), but we’re allowed to be happy sometimes. Taking three helpings when the sign says “one per person” is greedy and not nice. Sex…is more like taking a nice bubble bath or going out to a movie. Sure, you could have spent that time and money helping the poor. But is it really notably greedy that you didn’t?

I’d like to see what other people have to say about the mini-game, and of Fable II in general (though the mini-game is probably more within the scope of the average reader, as it is a matter of minutes rather than hours). Any thoughts?

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3 Responses to Fable II and sex, sex, sex!

  1. Dolly says:

    I’m pretty much annoyed for the same reasons you are. I mean, aside from the continuing fact that game producers intentionally design games for white, straight guys and design female characters to fulfill typical, sexual stereotypes, I don’t know how much more there is to complain about. Is there a min-game where you can play as a female protagonist and pick from male suitors (because I’m assuming it would be WAY too progressive to assume these producers had lesbians in mind). I really was more curious as to how you feel about your brothers playing a game like this. Do you wonder at all if they’ll eat up the stereotypes?

  2. Sady says:

    “She comes on to you first, but really the reward is pie.”

    Really, isn’t it always?

    I can’t say I’m surprised; the whole “having sex workers in your game/movie/book/whatever to be edgy” thing has been done, and done, and DONE. I actually end up having WAYYYY too many conversations about GTA with people (dude people, obvs) wherein I’m like, “yeah, OK, so you don’t think killing the sex worker is a bad thing given the fact that you’ve killed so many OTHER people in the game, but how about the fact that they’re presenting a moral equivalency between, sex for money and all the other various types of crime in the game? Don’t you think that sexualizes violence in any way, or is generally sex-negative? And do you know anything about the reality of sex work that you haven’t got from this game or a bazillion other things presented from the POV of a client? Or…” and then they are like “OH MY GOD IT IS A VIDEO GAME.” But it’s not. It’s the climate we live in. And then I go rant about this on your blog. But thank you, lady, for the analysis.

  3. eloriane says:

    Yeah, the pie-lady will have sex with you too, but you wouldn’t want that because she eats too much pie and is therefore fat like her pet pig. But the pie is worth it!

    And I’m totally infuriated/disgusted to the point of speechlessness by prostitutes in games, just their mere existence, but extra-infuriated by stuff like in GTA and Fable.

    It’s particularly frustrating because, like I said, I play with my brothers, and one doesn’t play sex minigames with one’s siblings. It’s just…no. (It might not be a minigame, it might be an awkward animation, or even just a window that pops up and says “Congratulations! You just had unprotected sex with a prostitute! You have gained 75 corruption points and 1 STD!” but, like I said, brothers, so we’re not going to find out.)

    We’re playing a Pure/Good character, so thank GOD, there aren’t really any prostitutes around… but in your “game stats” page it keeps track of tons of things, like how many spells you’ve cast and how many hobbes you’ve killed… and how many times you’ve paid for sex. And how many STDs you have! There’s actually an Xbox Achievement for sleeping with two prostitutes at once.

    I just…what the fuck? I’m enjoying the game, I guess, but…what the fuck?!

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