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I played the game Catherine. It's so stupid.

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#1 jamie


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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:21 PM

Hiya. I traded Skyrim in for this game and Silent Hill: Downpour about 2 or 3 months ago and I just completed Catherine. I haven't completed Silent Hill Downpour yet. I got three games at that time and the best of the three was the other one, Max Payne 3. Catherine is a very stupid game with a pretty fun central gameplay element. I just felt like making a post about the game Catherine and some of my thoughts on it.


The music is mostly pretty good so here is a song I like from the OST to set the tone.



Catherine is a game which obviously markets itself as lurid. There are some weird marketing choices that I think have to do with the fact it is Japanese and maybe they didn't clock on that the main character's t-shirt, which says RAVE on it, has a heart symbol for a V that kind of makes it look like a word with a very different meaning, and the use of the heart there being morbidly ironic. I don't think that is in any way what anyone intended, but you definitely wouldn't wear this shirt in public because anyone who didn't know it was from the game would assume you were wearing a t-shirt with some kind of wise-ass rape joke on it and you'd get looks at best. I'm bringing it up because in some way it explains how I feel about this game, but there is also a lot of awful bullshit in this game with the designers and writers definitely did intend.


I don't know how much of the team worked on this, but apparently it was the same team as Persona 4. That is what got me interested in this because Persona 4, while having a lot of issues that were partly due to the Japanese context, is a game I enjoyed quite a lot and spent 8 months slowly working my way through, getting attached to quite a few of the characters. People like Kanji, Chie - they were appealing characters and it was fun spending time just living alongside them in that safe, small-town environment. It was a nice place to visit.


Where-ever Catherine is set is not a nice place to visit. It is populated by idiots who think philosophizing means sitting around drinking in a pretentious bar, wearing appropriated clothing, and quoting things various old fucks said about the differences between men and women no more recently than 50 years ago. The cast of this game is repugnant, I did not feel anything for any of them and actively disliked most of them. More than that, I disliked who I imagine the writers of the game to be as people. This is a deeply sexist game in a kind of disturbing way. I mean you can see it from the outset - the virgin whore/nagging shrew dichotomy presented as some kind of meditation on the difficulties adults face in their romantic relationships. C/Katherine as well - something you see in movies by guys like David Lynch where women are all kind of interchangeable and merely represent different aspects of this idea of 'woman'. In no way is this game remotely capable of seeing women as people. It's unnerving that this was taken by anybody as a mature game, it has some of the stupidest writing I've ever seen in games and I just said at the beginning of this post that I like Max Payne 3, which is because I like Max.


If you want to, you can check out the level at which this game is operating in these two clips:









Just stop whenever you feel like it, I guess.


I'm not trying to dig at this game for being a bad representation of women, exactly. I don't want to make a big long sanctimonious post about that, because I've got no authority and it's an obvious complaint I could make in a few lines. This game is just a disappointment for being so ugly and pretentious. I was hoping that the Persona 4 team's mistakes in Persona 4 were going to be progressed on from and improved - like, for example, in Persona 5 maybe we could have an openly gay character who isn't treated like they are mentally ill, or something like that.


It's because I like these kinds of oddball games with social elements to them that I give a crap. You spend a lot of this game in the pretentious bar I mentioned before, just hanging out and talking to your friends. You control Vincent as he walks around and interacts with the other people people at the bar, getting to know them. It could've been a really relaxing experience coming in and playing this for a couple of hours before bed, but I didn't want to get to know a single one of these characters when 8 times out of 10 their opening line is something about I don't know, "Did you notice how all women are serious? Men need to be more serious, I think...", or just some other manbaby gender relation nonsense.


The stereotype Katherine with a K fits into isn't just a Japanese trope, you see it in pretty much all mainstream US comedies. You know, the emotionally (and physically, usually) abusive and joyless partner, usually a little older (as youth drains from women, so does the capacity to experience joy), contrasting with the free-spirited 18 year old girl maybe in pigtails maybe a cheerleader who will of course fuck this older loser guy and not expect anything in return. I mean, it's just boring and is holding everybody back.


So if you heard that Catherine was somehow a thematically mature game underneath its lurid marketing campaign - and I don't necessarily have an issue with the porn style marketing - then, it isn't. It's a really shitty experience on the narrative level. Fuck this game, fuck the people who made it.


The puzzles are great and I like the music. Here's the title theme, it's pretty good:



What I want to see is one of these social games which are actually pleasant to inhabit and is made by thoughtful people - by good writers. It was easy to go nuts over Deadly Premonition because of how lovable and open it was, but even that had some of the exact same problems that Catherine does, especially towards the end. Maybe we need to let David Lynch go as an influence because I think he is holding us back.


I wouldn't recommend Catherine.



#2 DDay


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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:29 PM

I liked Catherine sure it has it's pitfalls. Vincent hard to relate with witch make the story week since you build no attachment to Vincent and his plight. Did you beat the game?

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#3 jamie


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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:30 PM

yeah, last night. I enjoyed the last stretch of puzzles - overall the puzzles stuff is really pretty fun for me, and I like how difficult it is.

#4 scoby


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Posted 28 February 2013 - 12:56 AM

I've seen stuff from this game without knowing what it is.


the main character design is pretty good. it follows the japanese otaku-culture tradition of having a slightly more presentable version of an otaku or an everyman who, by some magical experience, gets a harem of plastic girls and/or women who act like fucking aliens and should pretty clearly not resemble actual human beings to anyone who pays attention. I legitimately like the otakuesque clothes and hairdo they decked him out with and his tired 'skipped class the whole week so I could stay up 72 hours staring at a computer screen playing the new halo and drinking mountain dew and masturbating' eyes.


I think, without a lot of good reason, that most people probably realize on some level this stuff they do with female characters, but they just sort of accept it as a japanese thing that's stupid but part of the experience. not that if this is the case everything's fine or anything


without wanting to sound too dumb or serious: maybe games are just kinda hopeless, man? there was also that western indie game that I really don't care what it's called, where you had to intervene between an arguing couple and type in words like AGREE/DISAGREE/YOU GET DIVORCE and sound like a braindead neanderthal in some revolting take on human interaction. that game was real gross with stuff like gender, too, and not worth playing. like, it's conceivable that at some point in the future that someone will be able to make a game like this and not come off as being weird and gross, but gaming and game design are just so engrossed in popular media and a subculture that kind of celebrates lots of anti-social stuff, that it doesn't seem very likely. it's definitely a 100 year storm.



I don't really get the davey lynch refs, but I didn't play Deadly Premonition. 

#5 Barack Obama

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:17 AM

lol a friend got this game and was describing it to me and i was just like "yeah no thx"

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#6 jamie


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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:24 AM

i was gonna edit the post to say that but i forgot, that there are definitely people who can take one look at this sort of stuff and say 'yeah, okay, nope!' and get outta there. i'm not really one of them because like I said, I enjoy these kinds of games even if I have a problem with every single one of them that I've actually played because unfortunately the people who make them are all big babies. it's just a certain kind of fiction, or a way of interacting with the fiction, that appeals to me. world building and role-playing but in settings that appeal to me and based on character interactions.


i mean these things are anime in many ways and i've tried watching anime and it bores the hell out of me in the first episode. it's just the interactivity, the exploration, tactile stuff. it's an escape, i just wish it was a better escape. catherine is an example of everything you can do wrong with this kind of thing.

#7 Barack Obama

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:37 AM

Well i mean i actually like some animes and that kind of narrative-heavy shit too, it was just described to me in a manner you just did here: infantile melodrama trying to be "mature"

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#8 Barack Obama

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:40 AM

it's really shocking that grown-ass-men write and produce this stuff... sure they gotta play to the "gamer audience" but like this kind of smug wannabe high-mindedness mixed in with straight up juvenile portrayals of socialization indicates that they're not simply pandering to the lowest common denominator, but actually trying to be pretentious. it seems like this stuff is made by bedwetters with access to wikipedia

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#9 Rajew


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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

What I want to see is one of these social games which are actually pleasant to inhabit and is made by thoughtful people


Maybe Animal Crossing is the game for you, bub. (no seriously, Animal Crossing is the best game and I hope more are being made)


Good choice on trading in Skyrim though.


Also, thanks for the review! I just went from a "not gonna buy Catherine cause of money but I WANT to" to "not gonna buy Catherine". I think there is an indie game with identical gameplay about a robot or something so if the gameplay experience itself was enjoyable but not the theme/plot/whatever then maybe that robot game is something I should track down (i love movin blocks)

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#10 Vellfire


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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:47 PM

Just on that note, new Animal Crossing on 3DS in June. Just f y i.

Really Catherine is just an example of why most games are just less and less appealing to me these days. If you manage to even find a game that isn't about shooting people, it's still full of gross sexist racist immature garbage.

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#11 EIias



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Posted 02 March 2013 - 06:42 AM

i like games and one day adults will make them and that will be a cool thing indeed

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