Catherine

So recently I’ve been watching game-plays of Catherine over again, and it’s made me realize a few things that I hadn’t noticed before. One, how genius the writers are; two, the psychology of a man; and three, a realization with my own dreams.

Catherine is a puzzle solving game with an anime styled cut-scene and animation that has such a riveting story and plot to it. While it may be for more mature audiences, and even has me feeling embarrassed at some points, it gets an overall “well done” from me. I constantly would be mentally solving the block puzzles myself, and it is true that it’s such a unique, while still a story adhering game. The tower of blocks Vincent must climb is truly metaphorical, something I commend the writers and designers of the game for.

If you haven’t already watched or played this game, you should check it outThat way you know what I’m talking about. Oh, and spoiler alert, even if its an old game. 😛

It really has been a long time since I last watched this with my sister. She knows the best games to watch, as stupid as that sounds since we’re not actually playing it. But we enjoy them for their story, and like me, mentally solving before the player makes the next move in my head is fun too, even if I can’t mechanically make those moves myself. Strangely, I started watching it again, and it is still a compelling story with its own charm that I so enjoy.

It begins with the ingenuity of the writers. You start out with a simple story, about a man and his girlfriend (Katherine) in a mundane world, with mundane problems, only exaggerated from the start once (the other) Catherine shows up. The duality of the name resemblance also elicits a tongue-in-cheek reaction from me. How simple, yet complicated, is this one letter change of a difference? It means the world, literally in this case, to make that distinction.

And as these relationship problems and emotional turmoils builds up, you delve more and more deeper into another kind of world, one that some married men might jokingly describe as an eternal place of torture. But, it really does become that for Vincent. In fact, all of a sudden, we see supernatural crazies happen, as dreams/fantasies blur with reality. In some instances, our dreams and fantasies become reality. That is after all, called an illusion: what Catherine is as a being, a succubus.

The execution of the story was so aligned and so tactfully arranged in such a way that any player watching or playing the game might not have realized this until the supernatural clues were spoken out loud by the characters themselves. I love this kind of story,one that just unfolds naturally and chronologically makes sense, even in such a naturally chronologically blurred timeline that involves dreams. How amazing is that, that a story involving something that should not make sense, does?

There’s something charming about dreams. At least for me, it’s not that I read into them anymore than I should, but they are still vaguely a story. We laugh, cry, and feel in them just as much as a coherent, fluid, and real story. We sometimes remember them, and sometimes don’t. For someone like me, I remember a lot of my dreams. But sometimes, just like Vincent, I wake up tired and exhausted even after I’ve rested well. Is it perhaps because I invest too much energy in them, even if subconsciously? Maybe some of these experiences are mutual to the writers of Catherine, and maybe that might be a part of the inspiration or motivation for how the story became. Either ways, or if none of it all, it was an interesting thought that occurred to me.

The other thing that stood out to me about this game the second time around, is that I’m beginning to understand the character’s psychology, specifically, all the male characters in the game who fall to the succubus’ trap. How can someone be so cruel to their girlfriend of long standing and cheat? What is the thought process of someone who cheats on another? It’s not exactly a male exclusive mentality, but the character insight, their actions, their reactions, their words, and the comparisons of all three in conjunction or dissonance with each other — it was almost enlightening. When Vincent demanded to meet Catherine and coerces Thomas to summon her, he is so determined, yet as soon as she instantly appears, he becomes a fool and acts shy, awkward, and little afraid. The saying/idea is the same and well known: men become fools for women. But thinking more than just that, their thought process is fascinating: if their ideal type is right there before them, they become confused, or suppress any other moral conscience. Perhaps it might be a shallow thought; who couldn’t resist someone who is the perfect ideal type, appearance wise? Women and men clearly have different chemical balances and makeups, and therefore a mental state or psychology to them. So is it true that men are purely in it for the looks? That all men are pigs? That might be a huge generalization, but for a moment, I could believe the justification on why Vincent cheated on Catherine. It was all in his head after all — the illusion, the affair, even his inner dialogue. It is revealing that internal struggle to the audience, ultimately, that also revealed his most human nature, even if by most standards it is wrong. After all, no human is exempt from sin, and perhaps that’s why even for a moment I felt understanding for him even though I have never dated before, or could ever know what he was going through.

What I found so fascinating was the complexity of the conflict within the basic story. Even more so, the connection to dreams even gave it an element of horror, when Vincent realized Katherine was after all a succubus and could not pin a shred of her existence until he remembers Thomas the bartender. How wonderfully simple! The solution is simple, but the journey, especially in the final levels of the puzzle solving madness, was not.

I’ve always always always seen dreams as “movies inside of my head, every night when you sleep in your bed” to quote DHMIS. It’s hilarious to think about, but to me I’ve had some of the most fantastical dreams, or the saddest dreams, that would end and I’d lay there on my bed trying to go back (sometimes successfully and/or regretfully) or to just ponder about. I love sharing them, but it’s hard to relate to when it’s a jumbled mess that only you can make sense of. All I can do, is place them out piece by piece on an online diary like this for my own enjoyment to read back on. And I’ve always wanted them to last, so I can remember. I imagine the worst way to die (for me personally) would be to have Alzheimer’s, where I don’t remember anything and decay day by day. But perhaps that itself, is another dream that becomes reality, where every day is “a movie.”