One of the best parts of Fable II was the dog. I affectionately named my Fable II dog “Killer” after the cockapoo my family had when I was growing up, I loved that little dog. Killer was the only dog I ever had as I am more of a cat person. The Fable II dog really did enhance the game. Killer moved and reacted in realistic manner; Lionhead did an amazing job with the dog in Fable II. One of the important features was while the dog would always be by your side, fighting, treasuring hunting, etc., he might get injured but never died. At one point in the game you must choose between keeping your dog, a boatload of money, or bringing a ton of people back to life. I chose the dog. This should suggest to you that I felt the dog was an integral part of the Fable II experience. I loved Killer in real life, and I loved Killer in the game.
Many of the Fallout 3 videos touted the experience with its dog, Dogmeat. I made the (possibly unreasonable) assumption Fallout 3’s dog would be a similar experience to Fable II’s dog. I was starting to doubt this when seven hours into Fallout 3 I had yet to even find Dogmeat. I did a quick Google to find Dogmeat. I quickly went to found him, and then adopted him. It didn’t take long to realize that the Fallout 3 dog was not the Fable 2 dog. While the Fallout 3 dog is a tough fighter, he often puts itself into danger, running into the middle of several enemies, often getting himself killed. Several times I reloaded the game to resurrect Dogmeat. Sure, Dogmeat has some advantages (finding weapons, ammo, chems, etc.), but ultimately I decided having to constantly micromanage him to keep him alive wasn’t equal to the benefits of him being alive. After the 5th or 6th time I got the message “Dogmeat is dead,” I finally just said “you know, I don’t care”. Maybe I will miss him down the road, but I just can’t believe how different the experience is.
It has been almost exactly two years since the Wii was released. I am continually amazed how many “non-gamers” have bought Wii consoles to play Wii Sports and maybe Wii Fit (and often nothing else). Many members of my family who previously would never have even considered playing video games now own and love their Wii consoles. My mother-in-law owns a Wii and plays plays Wii Sports with her mother, who is in her 90s. While I see more and more Wii consoles in stores (and have even seen them used at Gamestop once), Wii’s are still in high enough demand that they will probably still be the coveted gift this holiday season. I decided well over a year ago that I would wait until I could find a (really) good deal on a used Wii (or until they were readily available and the price dropped). Happily, I finally did find a really good deal on a used Wii with a metric ton of great games. So, with some luck, by next weekend the missus and I will be playing Wii Tennis (and I’ll finally get to play Mario Galaxy!!). I will try to hold myself back on Mario until I finish Fallout 3, but the temptation will be immense (I am a huge Mario fan).