Author: jasejmedia

Tekken Esports – Daniel Lazarus And Jason Gooding

What is Tekken? Tekken is a fighting game series that was originally released in 1994. The premise of the games is that A King of Iron Fist Tournament is hosted by Mishima Zaibatsu Corporation. The prize being control of the company which allows them to hold the next tournament. The game focuses on a Mishima Clan Curse which begins when Heihachi Mishima throws his son Kazuya Mishima from a cliff, which he survives because of the “Devil Gene”. Kazuya then swore his revenge to his father through the King of Iron Fist Tournament.

There are A lot of other background stories that connect each of the fighters with each other and can be unlocked through the completion of the arcade mode with each character.

Esports or Electronic Sports is a form of competition through electronic systems such as video games. Most common forms of eSports are multiplayer video game competitions which are most commonly, real-time strategy, first person shooter, fighting games and multiplayer online battle arenas.  Although the Fighting game community often displaces themselves away from eSports lables they still fall under that lable.

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Back to Catherine… Or Katherine?

For my autoethonographic experience I chose to look at Catherine and after multiple play throughs I’m pretty certain I’ve experienced this game.  It’s not like any traditional JRPG but it has an incredible amount of depth especially after research of the characters, what they’re inspired by and even the roles each character has within the game and outside of the game.

One thing I hadn’t picked up until I googled it, was the setup of the game. It’s designed to look like a tv program called the “Golden Playhouse” which is run by “Trisha, the Midnight Venus”. At the beginning of the game she sets up the story and lets you dive right into the gameplay. What I hadn’t realised was that Trisha wasn’t just setting up the show and hosting it to us but she was in fact the architect to Vincent’s entire world and he was under a test from her and not through Catherine or Thomas Mutton (another character who reveals himself to be an incarnation of Dumuzid the Shephard and creater of the nightmares). Trisha, once incredibly in depth within the game; reveals that she is actually “Ishtar” and also reveals the true identity of “Astaroth” (a voice in an elevator within the nightmares). Aswell as Ishtar and Astaroth being around, Catherine ends up being a literal Succubus, and is revealed that her father is Nergal and mother is Ereshkigal. The nightmares are set in ‘The Tower of Babel’ and Vincent must pass ‘The Great Trials’.

So who are these characters or names? Dumuzid the Shephard, Astaroth, Ishtar, Nergal, Ereshkigal, and what is a Succubus let alone The Tower of Bable and the Great Trials?

After some googling around I found that Catherine’s characters or demons were inspired by Mesopotamian mythology.

Dumuzid the Sheppard was a mortal man who married a goddess named Ishtar but eventually cheated on her whilst she was in the underworld, resulting in Dumuzid becoming a demigod after being thrown into the underworld by Ishtar.

Ishtar is the goddess of fertility, love, war and sex (not emotional) and is supposed to fill humans with the necessary drive and sexual desire to reproduce.

Astaroth in different demonological texts is described to be “The Prince of Hell, Accusers and Inquisitors but said in Mesopotamian mythology that he is an avatar of Ishtar Herself.

Nergal is the husband of Ereshkigal who is the goddess of the land of the dead and is also Ishtars eldest sister.

A Succubus is a female demon that invades human’s nightmares and dreams and is believed to take the form of a beautiful female and have sexual relations with sleeping men.

The Tower of Babel, a tower built from humans when everyone was able to understand each other and only one language existed. The tower was to be built to heaven but God thought this would turn people away from him, so he came down and separated the creators and therefore separating all languages.

The Great Trials are a part of the game Catherine, in which is a ‘curse’ that only affects men past their late 20’s that are in problematic relationships. An odd twist with The Great Trials are that the nightmares in which they are held, cannot be remembered, the victim cannot get any rest, and if they die within the nightmare they die in real life suffering unnatural atrophy. The purpose of the trials is to split men from women they have no intention of having children with, hence Ishtar’s presence within the game.

With all these Mesopotamian references within the game, ATLUS, the creators of the game prove that these JRPGs can produce such immaculate and incredible stories whilst recycling old stories and lore around demonological texts.

So how well did the game go?

Catherine had received mostly positive reviews from major game publications and aggregators, winning six awards and achieving a runner up for two other awards. The game had sold around 500,000 copies by the end of 2011 and has since appeared in many “top games” lists.

How do I feel about the game? Having played Catherine only twice still, and after researching and finding out theres a WHOLE lot more behind the game, it has me more than operationally possibly keen to play and beat the game 100%. The research I’ve put into the game has only opened up more and more layers of interest especially with finding out new endings and possibilities in the game as well as all of the lore surrounding it.

http://gamerssphere.com/2014/09/19/catherine-religiously-offensive/

Catherine or Katherine?

In my individual research project, I focus on playing the Video Game “Catherine” which was released in Japan in 2011. The JRPG puzzle game “Catherine” is unlike other JRPGs in the way there is no “battle system” or “levelling up”, there are just constant decisions and crazy puzzles. So what’s the difference between WRPGs and JRPGs and why is Catherine so different from both?

Western RPGs often follow singular character development and vastly open worlds, putting less focus on main story lines and having plenty of side quests and stories that players can lose themselves in. This focus gives the players a large amount of freedom and implores the player to explore throughout the video game’s own world. JRPGs tend to have more epic storylines and usually don’t allow the player to create their own character but instead customise the abilities and strengths as opposed to super custom non-linear stories often found in WRPGS. The action scenes within WRPGs and JRPGs are usually the standout points for each of the genre’s, as WRPGs normally follow a more action styled state of play which involves non turn based attacks whereas JRPGs are mostly turn based. I have played WRPGs such as Fallout, Elder Scrolls and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. as well as JRPGs such as Final Fantasy, Star Ocean, Blue Dragon Plus.

Although I prefer the story line and graphics from JRPGs I much prefer the action of games similar to the Elder Scrolls which is why I wanted to play something different. This is when I came across Catherine, although the game doesn’t encompass either of the combat systems found in traditional WRPGs and JRPGs it was a game that stood out to me and even still carries the developing storyline of a good JRPG.

So where can I even begin talking about this game when I’m still getting over how raunchy the cover art is and how awkward it felt buying it over the counter.

catherine_cover_art

The game cover in an uncanny way stays true to the theme of the game but still looks saucy enough to look like one of those Japanese Dating Simulators. Although the game does put dating and relationships into perspective the game takes a giant step away from the simulation and throws it into a horrific nightmare filled with Climbing and Suspense.

I’ve played the game twice now and experienced two different endings which I will bring up later but first I will talk about what the game is about. You play as a man named Vincent who has been dating a woman named Katherine which he has known since high school whilst being seduced by another girl… Named Catherine… Most of the interactions take place within a bar, where Vincent drinks and hangs out with his best friends, otherwise the game takes place in a nightmare world where you are forced to climb to survival. There are plenty of cut scenes outside of the bar and nightmare world that take place within Vincent’s apartment with Catherine or around Vincent having lunch and spending time with Katherine. Time spent in the bar is used on interacting with Vincent’s friends, the bar tender and waitress as well as the rest of the minor characters, along with drinking which leads to different conversations and a speed boost within the nightmare puzzles, playing the arcade which gives you hints and tips with the puzzles and how to beat them and also sending and receiving texts from both Katherine and Catherine.

As the story goes on you begin to learn that the nightmares that Vincent has been having are the same nightmares that the people around the Bar that you interact with are having. It makes for an interesting plot development when you find out that the people that are dying within the game are the same people that have been having the nightmares. It is heavily implied by the first puzzle that you must ‘climb to survive’, which gets you thinking about the people that are dying within the game. At the beginning of the climbing you race and compete against these ‘sheep’ unknowingly who or why they’re within the nightmare with you. All that you know is they’re conscious of being in the nightmare with you. The more you race and the more you talk to the sheep you begin to realise that they are the people you know from the bar and people that are dying in reality outside of the nightmare.

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What else I found interesting was all the drinking involved in the game. Every night you’re at the bar you can choose to drink which is a bad influence on your relationship with Katherine but gives you a speed boost of climbing within the nightmare.

And those speed boosts definitely come in handy, especially when you’re running away from one of the bosses which just happens to be a giant foetus with machine gun and chainsaw limbs (yes you read that correctly).

All in all, I found this game to be incredibly interesting and terrifying at the same time, but I was constantly drawn by the relationships of the characters not only between Vincent, Catherine and Katherine but also between characters like Erica and Toby where Erica turns out to be a transgender so begins to suffer the nightmares as she decided not to tell Toby they couldn’t have children which he strongly desires.

I’d like to found out more about the reception this game received globally and how its idea’s even started!

It’s Still not a word in my internet browsers dictionary

The first thing that still comes to mind when thinking of “Gojira” is that everyone always brings it up whenever you talk about “Godzilla” and other Kaiju based topics (king kong, Pacific Rim…) and I still feel that few actually go out of their way to watch the original. I will always think this until people start talking about the original film instead of going onwards to the sequels (.vs Mothra etc), and thats just me being pretentious. But am I allowed to be pretentious through my autoethnographic experience? After-all it is what I’ve experienced compared to what others may not have.

Although my experience was purely one of excitement and awe of finally getting a chance to watch the film, I did learn a thing or two about the Japanese lifestyle, such as how the Japanese see their own map and how they view films.

The Map of Japan seen in Gojira is displayed on ‘its side’ from a western perspective but shows how the Japanese see their own country. This makes me curious as to whether their maps of other countries also follow the same rule of display in Japan compared to Australia or other countries.

Watching the film techniques and the VFX within the film also proved that the Japanese were not to be tossed around in the cinema industry. What they could produce in terms of story line, themes, action sequences and even special effects should not be overlooked by “Hollywood Blockbusters”, I was usually quite sceptical but the Japanese CAN produce great film outside of Anime. The film industry that Japan had started had such an influence in film that Hollywood has copied and ripped off of Japanese cinema, remaking films such as Gojira, Ringu, Ju-On and more.

Who would’ve known that by assuming Japanese cinema was kinda lame that I’d in reality missed some of the best stuff?

Autoethonography: It’s not a word according to my internet browsers dictionary

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use it or avoid understanding it. It’s actually a pretty simple concept to understand, “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis et al. 2011, pg. 1). Or in easier terms to understand its research based on the authors own personal experience, feelings, thoughts and observations on the subject.

Through this course we will be conducting autoethnographic research on ‘Digital Asia’ and products of the Digital Asian world. The first experience of this was through the Japanese 1954 film “Gojira” (Godzilla) – an absolute classic film which has only since been evolving more and more in Japanese cinema since its release.

Everybody always talks about “Classic Godzilla” and how great and funny it is because of the costume and visual effects mixed with the unbeatable acting but I feel like most of the people that talk about “Classic Godzilla” have not actually experienced the greatness that “Gojira” is. Personally my experience of the film was with great awe, I expected way less in the way of VFX and was amazed at the replication of destruction shown in the film especially with the knowledge that Gojira was just a man in a suit, also the spectacular camera work that hadn’t been seen before in large scale cinema like this before. I found myself paying a lot of attention to the effects that were used the film to create such a well produced film, from scaling of buildings being destroyed with the plain knowledge that Gojira was just a man in a rubber suit, to the satisfying roar of Gojira that makes me feel warm and fuzzy every time.

I think I’m going to find myself binging more Gojira films in the near future…