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Categories :: Computers : Games Articles


Category :: Games Author :: April Whidden 
 Article Title :: Gothic for PC - A Perfect 10?

Back in the early days of my marriage, I had made the mistake of bringing the game Gothic into our home. My husband and I were still in that blissful, honeymoon period and I really had no idea that his addiction for games rivaled only Bobby Brown’s addiction for..well…anything other than games. Happily, I installed Gothic, giddy that I had found a game that looked interesting to play and was a bargain at under twenty bucks. My husband had already informed me that he had downloaded the demo and wasn’t interested, and so for a few sweet hours Gothic was all mine.

And then my husband woke up from his nap.

“What’s that?” he asked, looking over my shoulder.

“Oh, Gothic. You tried it, remember? You didn’t like it so I’m going to play it.”

“Yeah…I remember.” He said warily. He leaned in closer.

Now, I’m not the greatest gamer that has ever lived. In my twenty years of gaming I’ve finished exactly one game (unless you count Pong). My love of games is only exceeded by my complete inability to be any good at them. Having my die-hard, gamer husband giving orders behind me got to be a bit nerve-racking. “Go here.” “You should have bought the sword.” “Why didn’t you train when you had the chance?” “You can’t leave the camp without pants.”

After nearly two hours of this I finally gave in and let him have at it. That was the very last I saw of my husband’s face for the next three months. He was so absorbed in the Gothic world that I actually began to wonder what he might look like. I took out old pictures to remind me. Every once in awhile I’d catch a fleeting glimpse of him, running from the computer to the fridge, and maybe to the bathroom, but other than that I was a single woman.

That experience was as close as I’ve ever felt to being cheated on.

When he finally beat the game, (and then later Gothic 2) he emerged, a tired lion after the hunt “It’s the best game ever,” he’d tell anyone who would listen. People grew weary of his Gothic banter. They had heard of his heroic deeds so many times their ears bled. I had to hire people to pretend to be interested, but he even managed to run them off. For months I endured this, and then on one beautiful spring day he did not mention the game, and I knew life was back to normal.

That was until a few weeks ago, when he returned from a three-week trip to the bathroom, PC Gamer in his hand. "They are going to release Gothic 3 soon!" he announced merrily, plopping down in front of the computer to check his available RAM, and then my world went black. What was it about this game that made my husband disappear so completely that I had to file a missing person’s report? I had to find out.

Me: Honey, is Gothic your all-time favorite game?

Darling Husband: Yep

Me: On a scale of 1-10 what would you rate this game?

Darling Husband: 10

Me: A ten? Really? You’ve never given anything a ten. Whose the hottest woman you can think of?

Darling Husband: I don’t see the point of this question

Me: Just answer. Who would you say is the hottest woman you can think of?

Darling Husband: Okay…Angelina Jolie

Me: (throwing a shoe at him). Okay…fine…but the right answer was me. Havn’t you learned anything yet?

Disgusting Husband: Oh yeah…I meant to say that.

Me: Uh-huh…Anyways, would you give Angelina a 10?

Disgusting Husband: Nah

Me: Would you give ANYTHING a 10? A food, another game? Anything besides Gothic? (our love perhaps, you cold-hearted man)

Stupid Husband: Nah

Me: Okay, fine. What is Gothic about? Tell me why you wet your pants whenever you hear that word?

Now This is the part of the conversation I like to call….You had to ask.

Long-Winded Husband: Gothic is an open-ended RPG. You start out a prisoner within a clear, magical barrier. If you pass through the barrier you die. You have to join one of the three prison camps. There is the old camp, and the new camp, and a hippy, commune type camp where you sit around and get high.

Me: Well, that’s an obvious choice.

Oblivious Husband: (continues unphased) After you decide which camp you join you work your way up through the ranks. You can ‘level’ any skill you want. If you want to be a mage, you can be a mage. Like archery? You can be a great archer. Melee, thief skills, anything you can think of. You can do whatever you want in Gothic.

Me: Can you sit around and eat cheetos?

Perplexed Husand: There are no cheetos in Gothic.

Me: So, well no cheetos, well then……is there a purpose to the game? And why are you a prisoner?

Not-So-Patient Husband: (exasperated) I just told you the purpose. To become whatever you want to become. And I don’t know why you are a prisoner. You just are. You decide why you are a prisoner.

Me: Perhaps because you ignore your wife.

Smart Husband: (silent)

Me: Okay, well, anyway. Say I want to become a non-prisoner. Can I do that?

Still-Somewhat-Patient Husband: Well, yes, I guess that is the overall purpose of the game. But don’t you see, you can be an archer?

Me: So Gothic is great because you can be whatever you want to be.

Darling Husband: (nodding excitedly as I was beginning to catch on)YES!

Me: And that’s it? So it’s basically a clickfest?

Not-Quite-As-Patient Husband: Well, you can explore too. Part of the beauty of Gothic is that you never stop exploring. Each little nook and cranny of the universe holds mysteries for you to unfold. And the replayability (sweat beads on his head) is great! You can replay in each different camp pursuing each differerty type of career. It is never the same.

He had the same look of joy I felt when Target was having a two for one hot dog sale.

Me: Is the ending always the same?

Exasperated Husband: Well, yes I guess so. But it’s the journey, see?

I was beginning to feel sorry for the guy. He was really doing his best to enlighten me.

Me: If the ending is always the same then you really can’t become what you want to be. Ultimately you are a puppet right?

Not-So-Darling Husband: No, you arent a puppet You still have free will.

Me: Anything else I should know?

Defeated Husband: Well, outside the barrier the king is raging war on orcs. The irony is that he needs ore to defeat the orcs. The only place to get the ore is…

Me: Inside the barrier, right?

Jubilant Husband: Yes!

Me: So how do they get the ore if you are destroyed crossing the barrier?

Darling Husband: It’s magic ore.

Me: Of course.

Darling Husband: And people can go inside the barrier and ore can be moved out. So, one of the camps has created a barter system with the king. They supply the king ore and the king supplies them with food, supplies, women…

Me: Women???? Do the women WANT to go in there, with all the prison men? Do they know what they are getting into?

Desperate Husband: Well, nobody wants to go in there. But…

Me: How can you like a game where women are treated like a commodity? I bet the men are fat and greasy and old too. Right?

Husband-Who-May-Have-Said-Too-Much: ……

Me: I bet the women have to cook and clean after their “other” duties too. I bet the men don’t have any hair. You know what it’s like to have to be a slave to a bald man?

Wishes-He-Wasn’t-A-Husband: They aren’t real women you know.

Me: ….

Darling Husband: ….

Me: Sounds like a horrible game.

Distressed Husband: (looking defeated)

Me: Okay, fine. I’m an adult. I will get beyond the traficking of women. Tell me more.

Darling Husband: Well, the best part of the game is the layers. There is politics and espionage among the camps. Each has it’s own agenda. It’s a huge spiral storyline. It’s (wipes a tear from his eye) the best game I have ever played.

And we had come full circle. Now for my husband to say it’s the best game he has ever played is truly something. I can’t think of a game he hasn’t played. For him to play tribute to this sleeper game, Gothic, really gave me pause.

Me: Honey, do you love me as much as you love that game.

Darling Husband: Of course I do. If it wasnt for you, I never would have played Gothic in the first place.

April Whidden is a freelance writer from Portland, OR. She writes on a variety of topics including video games, humor, parenting, marriage and family and child care. Her website is http://www.aprilwhidden.com. Feel free to email her at april@aprilwhidden.com.

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