240: Wizards and Weight Watchers

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Wizards and Weight Watchers

Fable 2 is a game about choices: If you rescue villagers from bandits, you'll earn a halo and a saintly glow; if you sacrifice them to a dark god instead, you'll grow horns and draw flies. But some decisions are a little more superficial. Susan Arendt recounts her time spent dieting in Albion.

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I enjoy being chubby in games. For me its nice to have the hero resmeble me a bit. I was stoked in White Knight Chronicles that i was able to make a fat lil dude with a goofy smile.But my fiancee shares your opinion. I guess its a personal choice really but i like when a goofy lil butterball kicks everyones ass.Instead of another toned body pretty boy.

I have a slightly different perspective on this, while getting fat from eatting the wrong food annoyed me slightly at times (have you seen the massive amounts of high calorie food people in highly active professions, such as the military or sports, have to eat just to keep going?), what really tanked me off was the "good" and "evil" food.

Fair enough eating a raw baby chicken is a pretty evil act, but eating meat is not freaking evil, eating fish is not evil, and eating tofu is not "angelic". Humans are omnivores making a moral judgement about a person based on the fact they eat meat is just plain stupid, a vegan or vegetarian diet is not natural, and those that partake for personal or moral reasons (more power to you, do what you want, just don't force it on others or make judgements) can make themselves sick if they aren't careful about structuring their new diet or taking supplements.

Having a game, something I'm doing for fun, get preachy about something so asinine just ticked me off.

tkioz:
I have a slightly different perspective on this, while getting fat from eatting the wrong food annoyed me slightly at times (have you seen the massive amounts of high calorie food people in highly active professions, such as the military or sports, have to eat just to keep going?), what really tanked me off was the "good" and "evil" food.

Fair enough eating a raw baby chicken is a pretty evil act, but eating meat is not freaking evil, eating fish is not evil, and eating tofu is not "angelic". Humans are omnivores making a moral judgement about a person based on the fact they eat meat is just plain stupid, a vegan or vegetarian diet is not natural, and those that partake for personal or moral reasons (more power to you, do what you want, just don't force it on others or make judgements) can make themselves sick if they aren't careful about structuring their new diet or taking supplements.

Having a game, something I'm doing for fun, get preachy about something so asinine just ticked me off.

I see where you're coming from, but in Fable 2 it was purity and corruption mainly dictated by food, which just changes your attractiveness. You guzzle beer and munch pies, not only will you be fat but you'll have bad skin. Only eating crunchy chicks gave you the evil points.

As for me, my main character (in both fable 1 and 2) is always a big, fat, jolly and benevolent trader with a massive hammer, balencing good intention with corrupt and fatty food. I also created an Evil Lesibian Pirate Assassin, who was super pure (untill her rent rates caught up with her) and a neutral, pot-bellied wizard.

This mechanic seems similar to the Sims.

Whenever I've had a character in the Sims they would always eat something the moment their hunger was anywhere near threatening their mood without ever doing anything other than sleeping and reading books for skill points. The problem is that this made my Sim grow a beer gut and overall look nothing like how I originally wanted it to.

The only way to counteract this is to make them exercise daily. While this is realistic, it's not the whole side of the spectrum. In order to lose weight it would be most effective to also eat healthier and possibly less often along with exercise. This makes it a strange foil to Fable 2; while you can run around and save the world all you want, it's not going to help your waistline if you eat too many pies. In contrast, it doesn't matter if you eat salads or a whole turkey in the Sims, since you won't get slim unless you exercise regularly.

I don't remember worrying about my weight.

I would always buy a lot of healthy foods, and just spam them until I'm healed. Potions worked well to, since I owned lots of houses, I never had to worry about money.

The real problem I thought was that when I upgraded strength, my character looked like a roided out freak.

Seriously, the male characters look like they abuse the crap out of steroids, the female characters look like men.

I ended up not upgrading strength, which made the game pretty challenging.

Aye, I didn't do up strength att all on my wizard or my evil lesbian pirate assassin. The reason you don't lose weight from exercise in Fable 2 is because you did in Fable 1. It was difficult to keep a fat jolly character in Fable 1 and, stragely enough, this is something people want. Plus, everything is exagerated in the Fable universe; 1 big pie will give you 20 fat points instantly. Your character can eat a totally of five pies in his life and still be obese. Simlar to how your child grows up over night, or if you return to your wife after three days of marriage she'll say "To think we've been married so many years, it seems like just the other day."

I like fat characters...because I am fat. Not "You eat at McDonalds 3 times a day" fat. But fat. I like them, especially when being fat isn't a detriment (unlike in San Andreas, where you had less stamina) Guess who my favorite Street Fighter character is?

Onyx Oblivion:
I like fat characters...because I am fat. Not "You eat at McDonalds 3 times a day" fat. But fat. I like them, especially when being fat isn't a detriment (unlike in San Andreas, where you had less stamina) Guess who my favorite Street Fighter character is?

Good sentiment.

I like Blanka...not what you were going after there though I guess :)

I hated that fable was blatently made by preachy, self rightous vegans. Scoring "pure" points for veg and "corrupt" points for meat. Someone missed biology class, we evolved to eat meat and veg. Unlike cows for example.

If it was cakes and icecream that caused the problems I could understand (although you would work it off swinging a sword all day) but meat?

Where is the lack of purity (or the fat) in lean chicken or steak? I eat meat regularly and need all of the energy provided as I do at least 4 training sessions per week, split between grappling and striking. I bet I am a damn sight healthier, fitter and have a better physique than any of those dirty vegans down at Lionhead. I need all the protein and calories I take on.

Celery the only way to slim down? Please, go for a run instead.

If you were saving the world with nothing but a sword, a gun and a dog you diet would resemble mine far more than that of some anemic tree hugger down at Lionhead.

Anyway, between the moral soap boxing and the broken in game economy I got bored of Fable II and never finished it.

Well written, for sure, just one thing:

Why did you keep saying Fable 2, when they have that in Fable too?
One of those... yeah, I don't know what they're called, I call them "bitch doors" have a "quest" for you to get fat.

It's probably because you were playing Fable 2 when you thought of this, or however you manage your articles.

Draw out of a hat, perhaps?

i don't realy see anything wrong with having a hefty hero in games, infact there are quite a few if you think about it. but in this case it all came down to choice you don't blow up Megaton in Fallout and think "why has my karma gone down?"

but i also see the ideal of a muscle bound warrior hacking down legions of orcs as oppose to tubs hacking down legions of orcs

Susan.

You have reopened an old wound today. Everything you said is right, but just add it to the laundry list of problems I had with the world Peter Molyneux created. Fable 2 is literally one of my poster games for, "Ok, great idea, I know what you're trying to do here but WHAT THE #@%!" sort of thing.

Still, you're entertaining as always, and I thank you.

tkioz:
I have a slightly different perspective on this, while getting fat from eatting the wrong food annoyed me slightly at times (have you seen the massive amounts of high calorie food people in highly active professions, such as the military or sports, have to eat just to keep going?), what really tanked me off was the "good" and "evil" food.

Fair enough eating a raw baby chicken is a pretty evil act, but eating meat is not freaking evil, eating fish is not evil, and eating tofu is not "angelic". Humans are omnivores making a moral judgement about a person based on the fact they eat meat is just plain stupid, a vegan or vegetarian diet is not natural, and those that partake for personal or moral reasons (more power to you, do what you want, just don't force it on others or make judgements) can make themselves sick if they aren't careful about structuring their new diet or taking supplements.

Having a game, something I'm doing for fun, get preachy about something so asinine just ticked me off.

What he said. I entirely agree with it. Games and novels (and people...) going preachy - especially over such things as that are pissing me off. Food is food. Predation is in nature and performed by a very big portion of the species, and biologically we are omnivores. You can eat whatever you want, but don't tell others what to do - and I'll stick with my omnivore diet, both in real life and in games. Also, mmm, raw chicken babies. They're delicious.

With most of my post out of the way, I'd have to give a very irrelevant opinion... I think that games that allow you to have more, uhm, diverse body types aside from generic Big Muscly Dude, Thin Lady-Boy and The Woman, almost inevitably wearing a plate bikini or a dress and in case of the former wielding a weapon her body wouldn't be able to support (If you're wielding that huge sword around, chances are, you've got muscles. And scars. And fairly conventionally "male" arms).

Being able to make a fat character is always cool.

AVATAR_RAGE:
i don't realy see anything wrong with having a hefty hero in games, infact there are quite a few if you think about it. but in this case it all came down to choice you don't blow up Megaton in Fallout and think "why has my karma gone down?"

but i also see the ideal of a muscle bound warrior hacking down legions of orcs as oppose to tubs hacking down legions of orcs

Being fat and having strong and well developed muscles aren't mutually exclusive. It's entirely possible, in real life or otherwise, to have a gut and at the same time possess strong arms and legs.

Am I the only person in the world that regards Fable 2 as pretty much the perfect video game (Glitches excluded)? Yeah, it's got it's downfalls, but what game doesn't? It's the best thing ever!

I'm currently playing Fable 2 and previously when I noticed how fat my character is I decided to use a fat reducer potion I got from Knothole Island. From then on I never bought fatty or impure foods and I've been sporting a halo and my hair turned blond ever since. I don't have my badge here because my system is offline when I continued playing through the game from the middle of January till yesterday.

Mutie:
Am I the only person in the world that regards Fable 2 as pretty much the perfect video game (Glitches excluded)? Yeah, it's got it's downfalls, but what game doesn't? It's the best thing ever!

Yes, you very well may be. Not saying that its a bad game but so many more out class it.

I hate that every sci-fi game has everybody and every race in perfect shape and never explains how did they cure obesity(I would at least want to know about humans).

I certainly don't hold people in real life to the same standards I do my avatars.

But that's the whole point: Videogames aren't supposed to be real life.

I put it to you that the problem here is one you brought in with you. You hint at this yourself in the article: there is no reason for your protagonist's size to be a negative thing. But it is, because you perceive it as such.

This may seem like a bit of a shallow point to make in the context of a videogame, but it's particularly relevant here precisely because we cannot as easily make the same point in real life. I have yet to talk to a single person dieting and not have them mention diabetes, heart disease, mobility or simply just not fitting into their old clothes as a motivation. And yet give people a game where none of these factors apply and they still diet.

Maybe it's not what the players of Fable 2 precisely wanted, or even what the designers intended, but as an instance of videogame-delivers-message it hits pretty hard. We live in a very sizeist society.

(And because some people reading the thread will unfortunately think it matters: no, I'm not fat. I eat what I like and don't put on weight. One day nutritional science will catch up to reality.)

oppp7:
This mechanic seems similar to the Sims.

I'm actually fondly reminded of my fat CJ from my third playthrough of San Andreas who inspired my tubby gnerd (looks kind of like the nerd in Robot Chicken who's fat) from my second playthrough of Saints Row 2.
The difference was that keeping CJ fat was work. I had to hit those fast food places like clockwork and always have a good vehicle on hand to jump in.

Sims are more similar to Fable (from the sound of it) in that it's hard work to keep a sim slim.

Ah, I remember CJ's diet from San Andreas so I could do the jetpack missions. Bike for three days straight without eating, sleeping or stopping. Good times.

Time Warp:

AVATAR_RAGE:
i don't realy see anything wrong with having a hefty hero in games, infact there are quite a few if you think about it. but in this case it all came down to choice you don't blow up Megaton in Fallout and think "why has my karma gone down?"

but i also see the ideal of a muscle bound warrior hacking down legions of orcs as oppose to tubs hacking down legions of orcs

Being fat and having strong and well developed muscles aren't mutually exclusive. It's entirely possible, in real life or otherwise, to have a gut and at the same time possess strong arms and legs.

Trufax

image

Your article reminded me much about "Time of the Twins", "Test of the Twins", and "War of the Twins" by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The story in that trilogy starts off where the mage twin sets up circumstances for his warrior twin to go back in time and get drafted in the gladiator's arena. All because the warrior twin became depressed after the previous War of the Lance heroics (where his brother betrayed and abandoned him and the others) and became a drunken, obese sot. The mage brother needed a warrior bodyguard once more and arranged to outfit his brother in his previous role - after letting the gladiator fights put him back into shape. Great series.

I remember doing the same thing once I realized that eating the random items I found in my journeys had gotten me a gut. At first I went "eh, I'll just ignore it", but I couldn't. I had chosen the perfect clothes for my girl and had spent so much time making her look the way I wanted her too, trying out outfits and hair, that I wanted her to be thin as well. It was how I wanted her to look, so I also jumped from one veggie vendor to the next buying up all the celery in the land.

you cn make your fable character fat? now i really want to get fable

This is a good article but I wish it came out last year when I was playing the game. I kind of feel like the fact that you could gain weight in Fable 2 added some depth to the game. It was an overall cool decision.

Thank you Susan, I deeply appreciate the little giggles you dispense though out my day.

I couldn't really empathise with this. I'm more of a long-distance fighter - the very first spell I learned was Raise Dead to keep my enemies busy whilst I picked them off from afar. Thusly, I rarely needed healing at all and the potions I found or dug up mostly sufficed.

I didn't even know you COULD get fat until I visited my friend and saw her gleefully running around in her undies, glorying in her obesity. I, trained to level-grind, hadn't realised that pies gave a LOT of XP and were a much quicker option.

Makes me wonder what else I've missed out on in that game...

VERY true about all that running around, though. It doesn't make sense.

Then again, considering you can brutally murder a town full of people and then pay off the Temple of Light with the coins found on their corpses....

Dom Camus:

I certainly don't hold people in real life to the same standards I do my avatars.

But that's the whole point: Videogames aren't supposed to be real life.

I put it to you that the problem here is one you brought in with you. You hint at this yourself in the article: there is no reason for your protagonist's size to be a negative thing. But it is, because you perceive it as such.

This may seem like a bit of a shallow point to make in the context of a videogame, but it's particularly relevant here precisely because we cannot as easily make the same point in real life. I have yet to talk to a single person dieting and not have them mention diabetes, heart disease, mobility or simply just not fitting into their old clothes as a motivation. And yet give people a game where none of these factors apply and they still diet.

Maybe it's not what the players of Fable 2 precisely wanted, or even what the designers intended, but as an instance of videogame-delivers-message it hits pretty hard. We live in a very sizeist society.

(And because some people reading the thread will unfortunately think it matters: no, I'm not fat. I eat what I like and don't put on weight. One day nutritional science will catch up to reality.)

You're absolutely right, and your point is all the more true when applied to women, who are consistently valued based on their attractiveness. But I didn't really want to delve too deeply into such - pardon the pun - weighty matters in a piece that was meant to be lighthearted and fun.

triorph:
Yes, you very well may be. Not saying that its a bad game but so many more out class it.

Well, it's just right for me. I like other big name games like Gears of War, Fallout 3 and Dragonage, but none of them live up to the Fable series in my eyes. I can spend ours strolling round, appreciating the composition or modeling my character it to something different with each play through. It's concise, it's inventive, it looks nice andit's super chilled out.

(Apologies in advance for 'filibustering' again, Russ. But I just got so much well-written stuff to say!)

The point that stands out most to me in the article is this concept of "what a hero looks like." Look at us. We're 21st century Moon People who lose ourselves in digital worlds for hours a week, and yet our concept of what a hero should look like is, like Sue said, about as progressive as the Welsh Triads. This wouldn't be so ridiculous if we still lived in a society where physical prowess meant the difference between life and death. But we don't, and it is. Modern heroes aren't the most physically developed - they're scientists, inventors, business people, and social activists of all ethnicities and body types who are heroic because of their MENTAL PROWESS. Because in our world, what you think is infinitely more important than how much junk you can carry and how good you look doing it (contrary any observation of professional sport salaries.)

But who cares, right? Fable 2 (and many other RPGs) don't take place in the modern world - they take place in a faux-Medieval Europe world. And therefore it makes sense that the traditional concept of heroic comes into play.

But that raises an interesting question: why are we still so interested in playing around in faux-Medieval European worlds? Why has this setting become "standard fantasy?" What is it about white, traditionally attractive people in Renaissance Faire outfits fighting gremlins with magic that is so damn appealing to modern Moon People? I'm not sure what this says about us, and if what it says is in any way complimentary. All I can say for sure is that, while I enjoy a good faux-Medieval Europe RPG as much as the rest of you, I'm starting to get bored with pretending to be a traditionally attractive white male who owns the made-up world because I CAN HAS MAGICKS. This is fantasy - let's try some new things. If we do, we may realize that there are other fantasy tropes that engage us Moon People on a more intriguing level than a European cultural relic that was outdated and considered over-the-top when Mallory sat down to make up King Arthur.

I don't know. Maybe we could try a heroic woman who is only heroic because of her brain? Last time I played that was in the Longest Journey series, and therefore it's been awhile.

And btw, I'm not necessarily in favor of another Gordon Freeman. As much as I like Halflife, there is no doubt that the supposed MIT genius was just a space marine who traded in the helmet for Weezer glasses. Which, again, was a fun change of pace and all. But a knight in glasses instead of a helmet is still a freakin' knight.

Wow, I know exactly how you feel! Early on in my first play through I found myself unable to get more health potions, and foolishly saw pies as an alternative.

After just one encounter in which I ate perhaps three of said pies due to just how ineffective they are at healing and my impending doom, I stopped. But from then, perhaps a quarter of the way into the game, with tons and tons of celery being eaten in between, to the finale (a disturbingly short distance) he lost little wait. Indeed, my original hero is something of a chubbster.

Ha! I remember my own quests through Fable II, and it wasn't long before my character also became a big-boned, diabetic heffer. One thing I couldn't get my head round was that your character loses weight on eating huge bulks of healthy food, despite common sense suggesting that over eating tofu or vegetables will still result in a few more spare tyres.

What I find most interesting about this article is how the player faces no consequence whatsoever if they happen to be fat. As you pointed out, they are still just as physically capable as their muscular, vegetable-eating counterparts. What I wonder is whether or not this was a mechanic purposefully inserted into "Fable 2" as a means of conveying the idea that image isn't everything, and that people who have issues with their weight need not feel constrained by the numerous societal pressures placed upon them. If this was indeed the case, I think that's really cool. As the article emphasises, video games are an escape from reality; the freedom to eat as much as you want and be as big as you want, while at the same time not having to deal with any of the consequences of these actions, is as good an escape as any.

But oh, how society has trained our impressionable minds to flinch at the slightest signs of imperfection. Even in something such as a video game, we just can't help but critique and try to "improve" our digital-selves, trying to conform to a notion that doesn't even exist within the game itself. I remember feeling the exact same way with San Andreas - every time I started a new game, one of the FIRST things I'd do is go to the gym and workout until my character was an über masculine he-man. CJ's twig-like physique at the beginning of the game was something I simply couldn't associate with his gangster image.

I really enjoyed the article, and although it was light-hearted, it certaintly brings up a number of complex issues inherent in both video games, and our society in general.

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