In this month’s symposium, we’re going to talk about the game Catherine. It generated a fair amount of discussion when it came out in 2011 (as you’ll see in the links below); I think it might be time to revisit the game in light of the games that 2012 brought us. Personally, I’m particularly curious to see if our experiences playing The Walking Dead have informed our views on Catherine, given the two games’ approach to choice and questions, their unconventional narrators and characters, and how their genres relate to their narrative choices.
We’ll be meeting a little later than normal: we’ll start the discussion at 11pm EST / 8pm PST. We’ll meet on Thursday, March 7th; discussion will be over Mumble, leave a note in the comments if you need the Mumble contact info.
I’d like to experiment with providing some links in advance that could inform the discussion; this is probably too many, but, well, I keep on not getting around to writing a Critical Compilation for the game, so I have to put these links somewhere! (What do people think? Is this volume of links too much, or is it actually useful/interesting?)
- Kris Ligman wrote several articles about Catherine in Pop Matters’s Moving Pixels blog: “Constructing Community in ‘Catherine'”, “‘Catherine’: A Screwfly Box Puzzle Solution”, and her review of the game saying that “‘Catherine’ Is Fun to Play and That’s About It”.
- The Experience Points duo wrote quite a bit about the game as well: Scott Juster wrote in Moving Pixels on “Hitting Close to Home: Relating to Catherine’s “Family Values” and in Experience Points on “Being Annoyed by Catherine“, Jorge Albor wrote in Moving Pixels about “Sheep Men: Choice and Individuality in ‘Catherine'”, and the two of them did an Experience Points podcast on the game.
- Not to be outdone by his Moving Pixels colleagues, G. Christopher Williams wrote “The Taming of the Dude: ‘Catherine’ and the Sex Comedy” and “On the Clock: Narrative and Gameplay Tension in ‘Catherine’”, both from 2011, and returned to the game this year to ask “Is Catherine the Last of the Manic Pixie Dream Girls?”
- Kris Ligman, G. Christopher Williams, and Skyler Moss discussed the game in a Moving Pixels podcast: “Misogyny, Misandry, and ‘Catherine'”.
- I wrote two posts in my blog Malvasia Bianca on Catherine, one on “rearranging mental blocks” and one more general article
- Leigh Alexander said in Kotaku that “Catherine Poses Questions About Mature Relationships Most Games are Afraid to Ask”, and wrote in The Escapist about “Catherine’s Complex View of Commitment”.
- Lana Polansky’s review of the game for Kill Screen was one of the more thoughtful reviews out there.
- Gunthera1 wrote in The Border House asking “Catherine: Is this mature rated game about more than just sex?”
- Matthew Burns wrote in his blog Magical Wasteland about “His Vexing Inability To Put Down Roots”.
- Michael Abbott wrote in his Brainy Gamer blog about “The Catherine masquerade”.
- Patricia Hernandez wrote in Nightmare mode about “Playing Catherine as a cheater”.