Musings Of A Mad Hatter: Pixelated Love
I’ve always labelled myself as a hopeless romantic. I love things about love and I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I read or watch a good love story. I hate the teenage love thing however and just wish that would die in a hole. All those girls that photoshop “OHHH I LOVE HIM <3” into random photos of a dude on Facebook can just go bungie jump into a shallow well. My love life is pretty much a load of steaming shit because I’m a shy, conservative type and don’t make moves on girls so for the better part of my teenage life I was single. It didn’t stop me from seeing love as a beautiful thing, however, and I enjoy indulging in the topic. Enough about that, let’s talk about games. This is a gaming website after all right? Right?
I’ve very recently finished Catherine and I pretty much loved the game from the word go. I’m a sucker for anime and I thoroughly enjoy a good story and Catherine got top marks for all of them. The puzzle sections were addictive for me, but that’s besides the point. I found myself immersed up to my neck because I was so infatuated with the love triangle that was taking place in the game because frankly I haven’t seen it done so well in a game before. The game also asked you questions about your own perceptions about relationships and it constantly encouraged you to answer honestly. It asked how I felt about children and I responded with: “I fucking hate them,” Okay not in those words, but you get my drift. It hurt my morality meter because I was going for the ‘good guy’ morality, but I didn’t even care. I don’t like kids and I felt morally conflicted with choosing an answer that I know is untrue. Isn’t that amazing?
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Love was the premise for Catherine and it felt so refreshing to me that a game wasn’t shy about delving into the rocky topic of relationships and faithfulness and I found myself wondering why games don’t toy with this idea more often. Relationships in games have an almost taboo-like status with the main character having a love interest, but never getting to do something about it. Games should give you the freedom to do stuff like that. Not bound you to the metaphorical ball and chain that comes with linear storytelling. We need more freedom when it comes to the topic of love.
Mass Effect did this well with the addition where you can talk to your squadmates and potentially have them as a girlfriend / boyfriend. That was great for me. I enjoyed developing feelings for a certain squadmate and discovering their personality in a more intimate sense. That’s basically the very fabric of immersion. I didn’t do it because I wanted an achievement or I felt like I had to, I did it based on my own feelings and preference.
I’d also want to tackle another issue in gaming that has popped up. Gamers are going on and on about the subject of rape in videogames these days and I get the argument, but what of just normal consensual love? The Witcher 2 brought this to my attention because it didn’t censor its ‘love’ scenes at all and I started thinking, why don’t other games also do that? Why is it always a black screen or a hinted reference to sex by ways of moving the camera up and down outside a house. It’s stupid to me. We have games that let you cut other people’s heads off and throw their mangled corpses into spikes, but it’s suddenly a very taboo subject when you want a man and a woman to have sex that isn’t forced at all and done because they love each other (or both were just insanely horny).
We need to leave this mindset that sex is a bad thing and embrace it. Catherine would have been way more immersive if it had some sort of sex scene in it and not just some ecchi (please don’t Google that if your mom is around) scenes and pictures. The game is rated Mature already so why not just go all out? The game might have done that on purpose and I will understand if it did.
This may all sound like the ravings of a horny teenager, but that’s really not it. I swear. No seriously it isn’t. The general public generally say that games are not mature or ‘grown up’ enough and that pains me. We need to stop sheltering the idea and just go with it. If a game comes along that isn’t censored or held back because the subject is too taboo then I will commend it. Still, I wouldn’t want to see rape in a game. That shit’s just fucked up.