All These Moments

All These Moments

Random ramblings in writing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PETA Declares Fable II 'Most Animal Friendly Game'

Overall, I have no strong objection to calling Fable II the most animal friendly game from 2008. The game never struck me as particularly animal friendly, except that you grow up with a trusty dog companion (who apparently ages at the same rate as a person rather than a dog). That is irrelevant though, because your trusty canine companion has nothing to do with why PETA chose Fable II.

Instead, the website describes how Fable II has "a strong pro-vegetarian theme, eating a plant-based diet helps you rack up 'purity' points, whereas eating meat makes your character fat and evil. A fun and innovative game, it's also an effective tool that teaches gamers the real-life benefits of a vegetarian diet."

I can see how the ability to be a vegetarian in Fable II would appeal to PETA, but feeding your character is not a one-way ticket to a fat and evil character. What they said about purity points is true, and a heavy meat diet will contribute toward your character being evil, but the differences between a good and evil character are more like the archetypal presentations of good and evil in films and literature, e.g. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

It is foolish to say the game has a "strong pro-vegetarian theme" because the selling-point of Fable II is that the player has freedom to do whatever he wants. The "strong" theme that PETA is describes is only there if the player pursues it. A writer for The Escapist describes how his character "ate meat pies by the handful, and killed the grocer who sold the celery." There is no real penalty for this behavior in Fable II, only a noticeable difference in your characters appearance and development. To provide some context, the wanted level and police officers in Grand Theft Auto IV more strongly punish players for running over random pedestrians, but that doesn't stop it from being a game where players zoom down the sidewalk for amusement.

Also overlooked by PETA are other activities in the game, such as killing rabbits, that do not make a character more evil. So eating meat can make a character more evil in Fable II, but not necessarily. Also, the evil meat-eaters are not the fat slobs that PETA describes them as (and sees meat-eaters the same way in real-life, whether or not we are). In fact, the game actually rewards players for going out and killing animals. So why was it that PETA called Fable II the most animal friendly game of 2008? Well it still has that dog...


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My name is Jared and I'm an English major at UT. Politically I'm a mix of libertarian and neocon with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Otherwise I'm just a typical nerd.

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