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ouched avatar 2:01 PM on 08.31.2009  (server time)
Fable 2 : Gateway drug for the non-gamer?

So last night, my soon to be wife actually expressed an interest in playing a game I had picked back up again recently, Fable 2. She doesn't get these impulses often, so I do my best to indulge them.

As far as a gamer with a significant other who does not, I came out pretty lucky. She doesn't see them as an enemy, or competition for time, as she does possess a shred of self esteem and her own interests. Nor does she show a complete ignorance, as recognized I was playing Fable again by just hearing the a few seconds on the game's start screen song from down the hall. At the worst, tolerates them. At best, accepts them. Some games, with characters and narrative she seems to follow along with, such as Lost Odyssy, or Uncharted:Drake's Fortune. Those that lack them are generally given as much regard as a unwelcome stray dog, such as Ace Combat 6, or World of Warcraft.

We set up a profile for her, and she starts the game. Obviously, she picks female character, and despite her prior experiences with the 360's control pad, handles herself pretty well against the early swarms of beetles and handful of bandits. I thank Lionhead Studios for dispensing with Fable 1's magic meter and allowing for a free form, simple combat experience that easily allows even a novice to feel like a bad ass early on. She kills Thag, makes it to Bowerstone, and we call it a night, as its late. But unlike her last 360 experience, she's done it all on her own, and seems to have enjoyed it, even having collected a few early achievements. She was just able to appreciate the game for what it was, as she hadn't heard a single bombastic statement ever uttered by Peter Molyneux, or been exposed to any of its early trailers, which aspects of, appear no where in the final product.

All in all, a great excursion back into games for her. She even jokes about getting her own 360, a jest, but I smile. So much better than the last one. Which brings us to, Mass Effect.

She hadn't express an interest in going near the 360 for other than Netflix, since she tried this game. She created a character, made it through the first planet, and was inducted into the Spectres, before putting down the controller in frustration and wanting nothing more to do with it.

You see, she made it through the first planet, but only by the good graces of her squad mates, who carried most of the load. 3rd person shooters are probably just not for her, as "run and gun" style game play doesn't mesh well with her at all. She liked the interactivity of the dialogue, and I suspect she found the Mass Effect universe interesting, but the extent that she wants to experience it is seeing me play it. Which isn't unusual. Even gamers have that with certain games. My friends in high school would rather watch me play Resident Evil 4 on Game Cube than take a turn at the controller themselves.

She didn't like the controls, she didn't like the primitive shooter mechanics present in Mass Effect, and good luck explaining a cover system to a non-gamer for the first time. She reverted back to her comfort zone, i.e, occasional, simple, casual games like Wii Sports. Since Wii Sports pretty much only gets fired up when we have visitors, we don't see much Wii Sports in our apartment anymore. Significant other interest or no, if I throw another virtual bowling ball in the next year, that disc may end up in the microwave.

You see, I had some hope for Mass Effect. It somewhat fit the profile of games she played from beginning to end when we were in college. Those, were Bioware's fantastic KOTOR, and Obsidian's tragically uncomplete flawed sequel, KOTOR II.

She wanted to try them herself after seeing me play through them. She enjoyed them quite a bit, and she seemed to really enjoy how the games let the player determine what happened as you progressed through the game, as well as the story itself. The fights looked cool, despite requiring minimal of input from the player, allowing her to just que up several actions at once and just play the role of the spectator. If only she could have just told Shepard what to do instead of being tasked to do it herself.

So here's where I come to you, the readers(if any of you are still left at this point).

If she finishes Fable 2, and enjoys it, what to I try to get her on next? She seems to enjoy hands off titles, like the KOTORs, and some hands on titles if the interface isn't too complicated and the camera system isn't prone to seizures. She digs science fiction and fantasy. I'm holding out hopes that Dragon Age:Origins isn't too tricky, as that may be up her alley as well.

While she accepts that games are part of my life, there's quite a distance between accepting and embracing them herself. I just think it would be fun to have another activity we share. I've picked up cooking with her, though no, I will no under any circumstance pick up her main hobby, knitting. Not going to do it. I'm more likely to put an eye out with those damn needles than I am to finish a row.

Does any one have a similar experience where a significant other was on the cusp of gaming? What pushed them one way or the other?

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