Pot Luck Pies

The thing about luck is that it’s always unexpected. No one ever expects good luck to happen to them, and if you’re the kind of person who does, you’re certainly bucking the trend.

A food that is found perhaps a little more often than strictly necessary, but certainly welcome during the holiday period in my house is pies. Yes, pies. Mainly beef pies, but sometimes chicken/vegetable pies also make an appearance as well. That’s all well and good – there’s nothing wrong with pies, and they make an excellent lunch when combined with a couple slices of toast or similar – but sometimes my dad will cook a whole batch of pies at once, eat some, and then refridgerate the rest. Which is cool, fine, I can deal with that.

I should point out at this stage that the pies mentioned above are almost always store-bought – while homemade pies have ocassionally been spotted in the Ling household, they’re usually too much effort to bother with on a regular basis. But damn, they are tasty.

Anyway, the point I tried to make is that these pies all look the same. Combine that fact that my dad likes to cook a whole batch at a time for later consumption, throw in the fact that he mixes different varieties of pies (beef, other assorted meat, vegetable, chicken etc), and you get: pot luck pies. There’s no way to distinguish between them when they’re in the fridge, short of taking their tops off and inspecting them manually. There’s just no way to know what flavoured pie you’ll get before you eat it, hence, pot luck pies.

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of ARR PEE GEE games, that is, role-playing games. The defining feature of these games is choice – while you’re still expected to follow some predetermined plotline in order to resolve some conflict, there are usually a plethora of side-missions, quests, and assignments that you can either choose to ignore or to do. In regards to your character, there will usually be personal/moral choices somewhere along the line as well – some choices are obviously “bad” (killing innocents, stealing candy from babies), others “good” (helping people find their lost socks, helping old women across busy roads). The thing about these choices is that, just like my dad’s pot luck pies, you’ll never know what the outcome of your choice will be. Unless you read a walkthrough/guide ahead of time, there’s usually no way to know if your actions and choices can have far flung ramifications – either in the reward, or even as a plot point later in the game.
The only example I can think of this happening is in the game Deus Ex – early on in the game, you’re tasked with giving away a pistol to some associate’s daughter. Give away the pistol, and you’ll lose a pistol, but gain some additional help from the associate later in the game. Obviously, you can choose not to give away your pistol, but you’ll recieve no such help later in the game.

To be honest, it’s choices that scare me. As an obsessive RPG-er who takes games far too seriously, it’s important to me that I have the best equipment possible – but what happens if it’s at the expense of team member’s approval? Where do I draw the line – do I make an exception this time and deny the next reward? Do I just kill innocent people and take the reward anyway? What happens if I’m playing “the good guy” and one of my tasks is to go to a small fishing village and slaughter everyone there without any good reason?

Sometimes playing the game again alleviates these fears. It means I can “be the bad guy” and choose all the things I wouldn’t have on my first playthrough. I’ll have to admit, though, playing the game again isn’t always as good as it sounds – not because I don’t want to have to make a whole set of choices again, but because the game itself isn’t compelling enough to play right through again.

With that in mind, Mass Effect 2 is only days away, and I’m still yet to finish Mass Effect 1. I’m pretty close, though – as characters from ME1 carry across to ME2, hopefully I’ll reach level 60 on my second playthrough before ME2 is released on the 28th. I’ve already preordered the digital deluxe edition via Steam (rant coming soon).

I also rekon I’ll have another crack at Dragon Age once I’ve finished my current playthrough (just in time for the expansion in a months time, maybe?), most probably as a human male mage. Maybe this time I’ll court Leliana instead of Morrigan, and maybe I’ll play the bad guy. The cool thing about have choice is – I get to choose.

It’s nothing like pot luck pies.

Oh, and by the way – my dad mentioned that there was a higher chance of me eating a vegetable/chicken pie than there was of me eating a meat pie. I just happened to think of this post when I was eating a pie – thus, this blog post was brought to you by some generic vegetable/chicken pie.

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