Catherine, a game of love (and anxiety)

Steve Henn Aug 1, 2011

Catherine, a new video game by Atlus, sucks its players into a morally ambiguous world — forcing them to think about relationships, and possibly even the inherent conflict between making a real commitment to another and truly expressing their own individuality.

Oh — and you’ll also need to be awesome at using your thumbs to impersonate a mountain goat and climb a tower of nightmarish blocks while avoiding being crushed to death.

That last bit is actually a nightmare inside the game. Ben Kuchara, gaming editor at Ars Technica , explains:

You don’t remember these nightmares during the day, when you have to deal with the two women in your life. The protagonist of the game is named Vincent, and he seems to be aimless. He drinks every night, he smokes like a chimney, and he can’t seem to commit to anything for long. There are people to talk to, clues to pick up, and choices to make, and all this changes how the game progresses.

What Vincent does during the day changes the shape and feel of the game he’s forced to play in his nightmares. I asked Ben what winning Catherine looked like.

“I don’t know if there’s even a way to win,” he said. “As the game moves on, you kind of seems to get ending that game thinks you deserve.”

You make your bed — you have to sleep in it. Even in the virtual world.

Check out Ben’s review here.

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