Saturday, October 25, 2008

 

The Dark Time of the Year


I have a particular craving when the dark time of the year arrives. I want to spend more time in the kitchen cooking up squash and pork and drinking wine from my favorite vintners. I want to sink into a lush novel--preferably something transporting and rich in imagery. I'm a little more curious about movies than I am in the summer.

And I want a nice, fat, juicy video game.

I forgot to take my iPhone to our local Gamestop, so I'm unable to show you photos of the scene in there, of the 7 foot statue of some metal war hero, the 20-something tattooed youth who nodded with approval at my choice of game, of the recent cover of Game Informer covering my beloved Bioware's upcoming DragonAge for console game. I can however direct you to the review of Fable II at MSNBC--which triggered my curiosity--and show you a screenshot or two. (For hardcore fans, yes, I did play and enjoy Fable I).

We have begun to play and I'm so very pleased that in this recent incarnation, I get to be a girl. I can't wait to run around in a fantastic landscape, to learn to shoot archery (which, actually, I did at one point know how to do), to practice magic, to find some hunky hero to romance, in short, save the world. And since my next novel will incorporate elements of virtual reality (a serious and contemporary topic for any of you doubters out there), I can chalk it all up to research. (Even Scarlett Thomas approves of video games--or at least she said she did when her site was working).

Thus far the graphics are gorgeous, the AI intelligent and the storyline compelling. It's pretty much de rigeur now that video games give us the chance to go good or bad--it's annoying when an otherwise good game doesn't give us that choice--but Fable II promises to be an even richer experience than the norm. It is fascinating to me how this game--and games like it--draw on so many seminal works that inform the imagination: there is the vaguely English accent of the semi-Dickensian world narrated by a Judi Dench like narrator (Stephen Fry does show up, btw), the magic a la Tolkien, the difficult moral choices cum Star Wars. Put these things together and you have the universe in which virtual heroes mostly live. Miss this, I think, and you miss a cultural trend that influences many. Is it all a waste of time? Perhaps. But then, they said that about the novel too. See what the Independent has to say, and maybe the skeptical among you will reconsider.

Comments:
I've read there are some significant bugs in Fable 2, let me know how it goes. It's on our list along with LEGO Batman and Gears 2.
 
But can you play it on a Mac?
 
I haven't found it buggy, but I do find the combat bizarre. It's like Onimusha meets . . . Oblivion? I guess? I don't know. I wonder why they went this way because it is so much easier (unless I just explained things to myself).
 
I've also heard the game is very easy. We just got LEGO Batman tonight, so we're all set for the next month or so :)
 
Well, Scott, I have to say, I love the game. The tutorial was a little slow, but now that the game is underway, it's fun. Nothing truly groundbreaking, but a good, solid and fun game. And you get a dog.
 
ok... I want to kill myself... I wrote a huge comment that just erased...
 
Hi!! I'm Macarena from Argentina and my recent post juste got erased BU.
I know the game because the ilustrator or character design is Jo Chen (jo-chen.com). I have her 2 manhua (wich is chinese for manga), and I really wish to illustrate like her some day.
 
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