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Thursday, August 11, 2016

The art game canon: On Clock Tower 3 and sexual awakening

Game Theory by Matt S.

Unless you’re right into ultra-niche horror games, and have been for a while, it is very unlikely that you’ve played – or even heard of – Clock Tower 3. Released to little fanfare on the PlayStation 2 and doomed to immediate obscurity from middling reviews, Clock Tower 3 is nonetheless a real work of art, and despite its commercial failure, I do hope Capcom releases it on a whim as a PS2 title on PlayStation 4, because it really does deserve a second look.

On the more superficial level, it’s a game that, at the time, was really ambitious in its production. The game’s cut scenes were directed by none other than Kinji Fukasaku, the same legendary film maker that gave us Battle Royale (among plenty more). His involvement should be seen as thematically significant, too. Fukasaku was well regarded as a major figure in Japan’s fringe cinema movements; a genuine transgressive in his approach to his work. His films were dark and pummelling, and powerful and evocative as a result of that.

So too is Clock Tower 3 actually quite confronting. There you are in control of a young, vulnerable, 14 year old girl, decked out in a school uniform and physically average in every way, being stalked by a string of serial killers, many based on real-life murderers, and these villains are led by her grandfather, who has a genuinely incestuous interest in her. This girl – Alyssa – has no weapons nor way to fight back. Instead, she needs to run, and hide, and when she does so, you’re treated to a cut scene of her, cowering in a cupboard or behind a curtain, as the killer stalks back and forth in front of her hiding place. If you’re unlucky, he’ll find her. If he does, it’s probably game over.

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The art game canon: On Clock Tower 3 and sexual awakening
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