Chopping wood, pouring drinks, making pies, doing simple smithing, delivering packages, buying toys, repairing the rent house, and finding my keys. These, and other mundane activities, are what I've done the past week by choice in a video game and I had the time of the life.
The game: Fable 3 and a little Fable 2. An European Action RPG from Lionshead Studios. Peter Moleneux is the head of the operation and quite infamous for being ambitious. The first Fable he claimed you could plant trees and they would grow. That Fable 2 your dog would change with your actions drastically. He tends to promise the world and he just delivers the northern hemisphere. Many gamers get upset over this, but I never understood why. The usual arguments are about how Moleneux doesn't give all he delivers, that the morality in the games are all black and white (pun intended), and it has a cartoon like style of goofiness. This fits the premise of the games, as they frequently give the feel of a fairy tale.
Essentially you play a hero. The first game, simply Fable, you are a child whose town was ravaged by a band of thieves during the Dark Ages. A leader of the local Hero's Guild saves your life and trains you in the ways of combat. You are then sent out in the world to be a hero and save your family. Fable 2 seems to take place approximately the 1700s and follows the hero after his sister was killed by the local lord. He must band together the last living heroes (there's something special in their blood or its genetic or something) and save the country while getting revenge for your sister. The third game is just a few generations later, You play the prince of the land. Your grandfather/grandmother were the protagonist of Fable 2. Your brother is a tyrant of a king and the last hero is dead. You take arms against him and take the title of hero just to find out he was being a dick to save up enough funds and technology to defeat....okay....this is kind of retarded.....
Literally darkness incarnate. Evil black goop that is all that's evil in the world.
The game play is amazing. You adventure, while defeating enemies using Melee, Magic, or Ranged weapons. The more of a type of combat you use, the more it affects your style. Melee affects how broad shouldered and buff you are. Magic causes glowing runes to appear on your face and body. And ranged makes you taller. And there's morality. The morality is good choice bad choice only. There is no gray area. Many people complain about this. I personally think it fits the fairy tale feel of the games, as there is no ambiguity in it. There are bad guys and there are good guys. You are either a saint or a cannibal. This and the combat was pretty much all of the first game. The second and third game, however, added in a few things I loved. Boring chores.
We finally reached what the introduction sentence listed off. In Fable 2 and 3, you can do chores around the town to gain some money. These tend to be rhythm games in one sense or another. These are hypnotically fun, as the villagers will gather around to watch you make pies or pass drinks to other bar patrons. And actually, the more you do the chore, the better you are at it, giving you more money. Then you can have relationships. Children, adults, your wife, your worst enemy will chat with you. The majority of the time you play the silent protagonist bit, hugging and tickling them rather than chatting up. You can even give them simple gifts like toys.
Usually the most profitable job in the game is real estate mogul. You can buy properties, set rents, and rake in the cash. The only real catch is that you have to make sure the homes stay in livable conditions.
In 3 they went so far as to add a variable scale. It goes from Fear to Love and hits about four bars of this scale. If you want them to go from neutral to friend, you have to do something for them. Usually this is taking a package to a friend a few towns over. This is quick, simple, and often just busy work. The most exciting task I mentioned at the start is hunting for keys. There are about 50 keys in each game, and they are used to unlock elaborate chests lying around the country. These keys are hidden all over the place. Hiding in houses, sitting in the middle of the desert, anywhere.
These are all mundane tasks, but since there is an achievement for doing them, and I love the world it is in. The way the world of Albion and all of Fable fits together is beautiful and sweet. This world is hilarious and surprisingly alive. They give you money and sometimes you even get morally "good" points for doing them. It feeds off of almost all my personal video game addictions.