Amusing Adventures in Variety!

Posted by Whit Barringer , Friday, October 29, 2010 11:00 AM

Video games provide something every grad student needs but can't get out into the world to get. No, it's not sunlight (though I could really use some of that, I assure you). It's variety. There are many days when my classmates and I have said, "I have not been out of my [insert living space here] in [insert number] of days." It gets tiring and, for me and my roommate (whom I will refer to only as D here, for no particular reason), video games are a way to escape monotony. And escape I did! And it was craziness all around.

Fable III, if asked, would say that it is about revolution, but in my eyes it's about discovering how many awesome things the game will allow you to do. The first half or so of the game (which both D and I are currently playing) is amassing troops to overthrow your brother, the king. The second half, one would presume, is what happens after the revolution. Today in Fable III, I did the following things:

 1. Married a pawnbroker so that I could start a family and get a better deal when trading to boot.  But my soulmate/one-stop shop was kept away by his job (read: he was programmed to stand in the same place for 24 hours a day) and was unable to be lured to our bed to consummate his marriage with his hero princess wife. So I divorced him and he ended up hating me (typical, right?) and giving me a worse deal on all of his goods.  I went on to immediately start dating the Town Crier.

2. Belched at children and danced with strangers.

3. Bought up property like the recession never happened.

4. Played on a miniature D&D board and participated in a narrated adventure.

5. Cross-dressed with a beard and a suit of armor.

Fable III is enough to give anybody variety. The game is seriously addictive and is the kind of crack cocaine addiction that ends grad school careers. With the voices of John Cleese, Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry, and a dozen others, it's hard not to find it charming on top of all of the variety.  But lo, I did not stop there!  I had to have my dose of Halloween scariness and play Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare.

Picture it: it's 1911 or so, and you're in the dying Wild West - the last remnants of a bygone era. You come home to your wife and child and one of your farmhands is missing, having gone to town hours before. There's a storm outside, so you hope for the best that your farmhand, who is like family and is called "Uncle," has found shelter from the storm and isn't lost.  Then, in the middle of the night, Uncle stumbles in, growling and clawing and chasing after your wife.  You don't understand what has happened to Uncle yet, but you will soon realize that he is a zombie. You go out and shoot him, but not before he is able to put your family in danger.  You are now on the hunt to find out what happened and whether there is a cure.

The following things happened in Red Dead Undead or while playing it:

1. Called Blackwater, one of the towns, "Undead Hell," to which D replied, "I think this is more like 'Undead Heck.'"

2. Laughed at the signs reading "CLOSE THE DAMN BORDERS!" and one of the survivors claiming it must be the Mexicans who have infected the living.

3. Accidentally got my horse killed.

4. Whistled for a new horse and got my old horse, recently undead.

5. Screamed when a zombie bear attacked me. (To be fair, I always scream when the bears attack me in this game, especially when they sneak up from behind.)

6. After the bear attack happened, I said, "Dammit, I thought I was going to be an adult for this."  To which D replied, "I'm sorry, did you just become a little girl?" as he turned on his electric razor.

7. After I screamed and jumped at the sound of the razor, I decided it was probably time to call it a night.

8. Felt my adrenaline start pumping mmediately after having two scares in a row and hearing the creepy Red Dead Undead music, which is basically two echoing piano notes being played.  Even the damn music is desolate.

9. Turned off the console and turned on a light.

Happy Friday, and a Happy Halloween!

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