Thursday, July 06, 2006

When Silver Suns Have Golden Moons

So I have a confession. I'm playing a X-box game, and kind of enjoying myself. And worse still is that its Fable. This is a game that I totally lambasted when it came out. No female playable character, the lenght is really short, it's on X-box--the usual complaints. But now things have changed.

My brother got himself a new 360, so I got the leftovers. I think because I came into Fable with very low expectations my hopes weren't crushed when I started playing. The best part of the game, by far, is the ability to be queer. I get to chose my sexuality! I no longer have to be forced into the status quo! I can marry my same sex partner, and stroll through the town in my dress with pride. And the fair citizens will cheer for my life choices and high reknown, not knowing that it is I who is breaking into their homes at night and stealing their potions. And it warms my heart that after a hard day of slaying hundreds of Hobbes, I can come home and make love to my wife. Wait a minute, Wife?! I married a dude, game!

So here comes the disappointment: I, too, fell into the Fable trap of high expectations like so many others. I thought that I would enjoy the same benefits of a het relationship. I was wrong. The first thing that pissed me off was that the game continually refers to the love of my life as my wife. How hard would it have been to program the game to change the text depending on the gender of my partner? And here's a thought, why not just call him my partner--it works both ways. It just gives a weird, "this choice was not our focus when we made this game" vibe. A feeling that is furthered by the fact that I don't get a wedding ceremony for my same sex partner. Would that have been so difficult? I just would have liked something, it didn't have to be a wedding, but some cut scene that shows that we are now together, and that this marriage is just as valid as the heterosexual one. I was disappointed after these realizations, but I was still proud that I just married a guy.

So naturally, I wanted to bask in the glory of my newly changed stat. Oh more disappointment, so much disappointment. What was waiting for me when I check my status of sexuality?...GAY. I'm Gay. If I married a women I would be Heterosexual. But now I'm gay. Instead of using the opposite term of homosexual, Lion's Head thought it was best to use a slang term. (A term I was called through my childhood and adolescence.) I wouldn't have cared if the other option was straight, but no, they use the scientific name for that. But me, I'm gay. So there it is. So close but so far away. Well, at least I can be Bisexual.

I have to say that I am very impressed that Lion's Head added same sex marriage into the game. In a game based around the choices you make, its only natural to allow for more than one sexual preference. I can't think of many other games that allow this, and have it be such a large, interactive part of the game. I just wish that they would have put more effort into the "gay" experience.


Brinstar said...

Those details re: sexual orientation differences are really interesting.

I was toying with the idea of getting Fable: The Lost Chapters for the PC, but decided not to get it in the end. The game sure does look like fun -- a couple of my friends showed me the game on the Xbox, but the weird constraints in what is supposedly meant to be a more free-form sort of game put me off.

And it's not like I don't have other games to play as well.

Shions_Glasses said...

Well I say, if you get it for free, go ahead and play it, but games such as Oblivion are probally the better choice to spend your money on.

Bint Alshamsa said...

I think this is one reason why I love The Sims 2 so much. You can be hetero, bi, or gay and you can even change the character's preferences over time if you want. It really isn't that hard to do. The Sims 2 allows same sex couples to get "joined" in marriage using the same ceremony as the het couples in the game. It didn't cause any uproar from consumers so I don't see why more games don't also offer the same sort of choices. I know that having this option makes me a lot more likely to stick with a game that would otherwise get pretty boring from doing the same things with every character.

Anyways, that's my little ranting contribution. Thanks for this post. It brings up a lot of good points.

Jacob said...

I understand your gripe about queer representation in video games but, at the same time, I'm not surprised. A game like Fable is a mainstream game and mainstream society still has a hard time accepting homosexuality. I do commend the makers of Fable for at least giving the option to be queer because that's much more than most games offer.

I also wanted to confess about my recent desire to acquire an Xbox 360. I consider myself a loyal Playstation fan but when I read about how much PS3 was going to be when first released, I was very disappointed. In fact, now I'm thinking of acquiring an Xbox 360 for simply one reason: Oblivion. The game looks and sounds awesome and I enjoy immersing myself in games like that but, at the same time, I know I will feel like a traitor if I do (that and worrisome about the new system breaking down). I probably won't end up doing so but the desire is strong.

Shions_Glasses said...

Bint-- I didnt know that was in the Sims games, thats pretty cool. I might check those games out. The creator sounds like a nice guy.

Jacob-- I am in the same position. I can't believe I'm really considering a 360, and that 400 dollars seems cheap. But at least there will be the Wii, oh the wonderful Wii.

Leah said...

I agree with your feelings on the matter of homosexuality in Fable. I am playing through The Lost Chapters on the PC at the moment, and one of the "extras" is a bordello in Darkwood. Yes, you can have sex with the prostitutes, but the thing that really suprised me is that you are required to cross dress as a woman and proceed to have homosexual sex with the bordello owner if you want to complete the side quest found there.

I am not sure what to think about it. The positive to this is that my character now runs around with a red wig and fake eyelashes on.

Shions_Glasses said...

Thanks for the comment it raises a lot of questions for me, cause my bro didnt have the new version. I'm not sure what to make of it either. Is it a good thing? Forcing players to experiance something that they might not have chosen otherwise, or is it a cheap attempt to be funny, or quirky? I guess I don't know the complete context that the quest is in, but it just seems wierd. Are you decieving the owner, making him think you're actually a woman? (a la FFVII) Regardless of gender, I find it uncomforting to have a quest force you to have sex with someone. It borders on something very wrong.
But you're right, it is very cool that you have a wig, and make up. I would kill 10 rock beasts, and slaughter a village or two just to have that in my version! I too enjoy relaxing in my dress after a long day. And my renown is high enough so no one would dare make fun of me in it anymore.