Briefly Noted: Virtually Political


Like many recent video games, Fable II featured a vast, explorable digital world filled with people and places. Unlike most of those games, nearly all the property and items in Fable II were available for sale—and, eventually, rent. The game worked as a sort of economics simulator, with market prices for various goods varying by location, allowing savvy game-world entrepreneurs to buy low and sell high. 

The sequel game Fable III (Lionhead Studios) adds politics to the mix. Players not only participate in a complex in-game economy but are required to effectively run for the office of king. That means making promises to win over the game's citizens. But winning the people doesn't mean winning the game. After assuming the throne, players must keep those promises, a task that is likely difficult or contradictory, or take the game world in a whole new direction, risking the wrath of an unhappy citizenry.—Peter Suderman