Archive for January, 2012

The Problem with “Fable 3”

Over the summer, I came into possession (through slightly illicit means) of a mostly new copy of Fable 3 (okay, I got it from Goozex).

I’d never been “into” the series in general. The humor was just north of being functionally retarded, the “moral” choices in it seemed insignificant, and by Fable 2 the combat and RPG systems seemed almost non-existent. But that didn’t stop Fable 3 from coming out, and I’ll be honest, the draw for me was the latter half of the game. “Be a king!” the ads proclaimed. “I want to be a king,” I thought. “I want to make choices.” So I sought out the game… and didn’t play it for a while, because I thought I had made a huge mistake. Yes, like Gob.

Mostly, though, I had other games to play, and I was in the middle of a prolonged Halo: Reach binge that lasted way too long (and not long enough, if you ask one or two of my friends). Lionhead’s newest just wasn’t interesting enough to be worth my time.

That’s too bad, because I found some really cool stuff contained in Fable 3, once I got past the bad voice acting, even worse writing and piss-poor characterizations. (This is supposed to be British humor? Because I’ve watched BBC shows, and they’re funnier than this ever was. I mean, I’m supposed to laugh at a bird taking a shit right in the opening video. That’s not funny. That’s peddling to the lowest common denominator in gamers, and that’s the last thing this industry needs right now.) The problem with Fable 3, however, is the reason that it’ll never be a good game, or even a great game. It’s a simple problem, and one that plagues more games than I think most would care to realize: the problem with Fable 3 is that it’s half a game, and things end just when they’re starting to get interesting.

Let me explain.

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Something in the water…

Some months ago, I wrote an interesting piece that was intended as a direct rebuttal to a Kotaku article criticizing a Christian website with which I had been long affiliated. On that site, I was at times a writer and usually an editor tasked with something that was usually quite difficult: somehow “fix” the pieces that were being published on the site, while being met with much resistance. The final published review I wrote on the site was a review of Alan Wake; that was followed by the Kotaku rebuttal, which led some here, to a blog which had been dormant for over a year.

That isn’t going to be the case any longer.

I’m writing this post to say that I’m going to be back in full swing, intending to write (at least) one post a week, with a refocusing. As much as I love music and film, I want this blog to be about games, and how it intersects with other aspects of the culture. Games as a whole cannot be taken by themselves, and so here I am, and here we are.

Games are – by necessity – influenced by the environment in which they were created. No designer exists in a bubble outside of the culture, just as no musician does, and no writer does.

In the same way, we see representations of what interests and influences the artist in the art itself: Kojima was influenced by this, Miyamoto by that, et al. And so it goes.

I don’t mean to say that I’ll analyze things and put them where I believe they should go. That is far too lofty a goal for me to undertake. What I mean is that I’ll write about what interests me and place it here, because it’s the least I can do.

I’ve not been unsuccessful on the writing front since the last post here. I wrote a fairly lengthy piece over at Bombadillo, detailing my experiences playing with morality and choice in Fallout: New Vegas and a number of other titles. It gets a little long-winded by the end, and could probably have used the benefit of another editor, but that’s the way that goes.

I’m currently playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, reading George R. R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows and watching Mad Men, season 4. Nothing if not mainstream, right? But this comes after a three-month stint of reading exclusively Cormac McCarthy, of watching Korean cinema (I Saw the Devil will change your life; no Saw movie will ever be adequate, ever again), of working so much in my day job that I could hardly sleep at night from exhaustion. This is not an excuse, but a reason, a reason to begin again.

And so it goes, and on.

Hope you stay around for the ride.