The Video Game Odyssey: A Story of Life and Death

The Cat Lady is a more mature horror game, the kind that mixes in a deeper narrative behind all the thrills, spills and chills. Photo courtesy Steam Community The Cat Lady is a more mature horror game, the kind that mixes in a deeper narrative behind all the thrills, spills and chills. Photo courtesy Steam Community

Video games are primarily played for fun. But even with all the fun and whimsical titles that are released, there comes along the occasional title that manages to weave in mature themes and characters along with the fun. “Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” is a great recent example of a game doing this, mixing in a look at a young boy dealing with the grief and depression of losing a loved one with helping others in a magical world of escapism. But despite the game’s well-done emotional depth and story, it still remained a light-hearted JRPG romp that everyone could enjoy. There are games that mix in deeper and darker tones into their story, characters and theme. The end result is a game like the recently released indie adventure horror PC game, “The Cat Lady.”

Developed by indie developer Harvester Games, “The Cat Lady,” is the story of Susan Ashworth, a middle-aged woman with no friends, no family and no enthusiasm for life other than spending time with her cats. Finally, she makes the ultimate choice to take her own life. But this is just the beginning of Susan’s journey through a macabre world with dark, twisted nightmares. Without spoiling too much, her attempt is more or less thwarted and she is unwillingly returned to the world with a mission to destroy five killers labeled as “parasites” and the chance to rediscover a purpose for herself in life.

This is a different kind of horror game — it’s a point-and-click adventure that is less focused on trying to make you jump out of your seat with jump scares and is more concerned with immersing you into the depressing atmosphere of its world and its characters. “The Cat Lady” is a game that is driven by its characters, from the deranged “parasites” that Susan is sent back to fight, to the young woman named Mitzi who becomes the friend that Susan never had. It is through these characters that “The Cat Lady” explores mature topics, such as suicide, depression, mental illness and more. But it does so without sounding preachy, pandering or patronizing. It treats its subjects with a level of care, respect and insight that one would expect from a well-written novel. From beginning to end, “The Cat Lady” is an adventure that any lover of horror can come to appreciate.

So then horror game lovers, will you be giving “The Cat Lady” a shot? I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

What to get in touch and talk gaming? Contact the reporter at preston.sotelo@asu.edu or via Twitter at @p_sotelo


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