Vincent Brooks: A Look Back at an Unconventional and Not-so-Great Game Protagonist

By: - 15th Jul 2013
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Vincent Brooks, the main character of the 2011 puzzle/psychological title Catherine, serves to drive the premise of the game but wins few points as a protagonist.

Vincent Brooks, a 32-year-old coder, is introduced to us as a man who is in a five-year relationship with his girlfriend Katherine McBride.  He is essentially living a typical bachelor life consisting of hanging out with his friends and chatting about his goings-on over drinks.  He is also hesitant about taking the next step in his relationship with Katherine.  His lover clearly expresses her desire to get married, but Vincent does not feel the same way.  It is at this point that I cannot help but notice how Katherine’s last name may serve as a not-so-subtle reference to her intention.

Vincent’s life continues to plod along until one night when he chooses to stay behind after a night out with his buddies at Stray Sheep, the local watering hole.  The night is uneventful until a provocatively dressed young blonde approaches him, and before he knows it, he wakes up in bed with none other than this mysterious beauty.  Intriguingly, her name turns out to be Catherine.  Coming to grips with the fact that he cheated on Katherine, Vincent must decide what he has to do next.

That Vincent is not a typical game protagonist is perhaps an obvious statement.  In a medium largely dominated by cocky main characters, Vincent is an interesting departure who is often unsure of himself and moody.  Importantly, Vincent is also not honorable.  During my first playthrough, I was appalled with what Vincent chose to do after sleeping with Catherine.

Granted, I understand that life can sometimes throw interesting curve balls at people.  It is clear that Vincent did not intend to cheat on Katherine, but, in my opinion, he should have come clean with her as soon as possible.  Instead, Vincent chooses not to admit his infidelity to Katherine and spends the majority of the game figuring out what is best for him.  What follows is a series of intense near-misses as neither woman knows about the other, yet often times almost run into each other.  Vincent also experiences a roller coaster of doubt and fear thanks to events such as the potential pregnancy of Katherine.  He leads both women on, at times with no regard to anyone’s feelings except his own.  In my opinion, Vincent’s handling of the situation is selfish and undeserving of sympathy.  Nevertheless, Vincent’s sentiments and actions directly lead to him getting trapped in a nightmare where he must navigate intricate puzzles, and this happens to be my favorite part of the game.  So, in a way, as much as I despise Vincent, I am grateful for his selfishness.  Yes, you read that correctly.

Thus, you should not follow Vincent’s lead, but whether you like him or hate him, Vincent stands as one of the more unique protagonists in video game history.

Do you sympathize with Vincent or are you disappointed in him?

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