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?