Total Oblivion

"A fast-paced, suspenseful dystopian picaresque, part Huck Finn and part bizarro-world Swiss Family Robinson..."



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Skinny Dipping

Long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Crawford Award. Title short story listed for the 2000 O. Henry award.

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Penny Arcade blogs about Killer7:

Simultaneously, I think it’s rare that we as players truly think about what it would mean for a game to be “art,” straight up, with no qualifications. I’m not even sure the two terms can abide without rancor in the same sentence. Games are products, we buy them, and like other things we buy we have a reasonable expectation that it will produce a certain quantity of “amusement” before we have exhausted its supply. This definition is not sufficient to describe art. Art can be illegible. It can be exhausting. It can be maddening, offensive, and revelatory. Sometimes, it is literally Our Savior in a jar of pee. There is certainly no guarantee that you may be amused consistently, we take it for granted when we play a game that such was their intention, even if they have failed in it. Art can and will elude you. I’m fairly certain these themes are incompatible with the entire anatomy of consumerism.

Killer7 has an utterly fascinating premise, completely infused with a bold aesthetic and brilliant audio married to ancient gameplay cliches one could reasonably call decrepit. I do not believe this to be a good “game.” As an experience outside of the inputs it solicits from the player, it’s something intriguing and frighteningly original. It’s a beachhead for a type of technology unafraid to challenge the player along axes other than pure logic or dexterity. I would caution you against buying it, because unless you are absolutely steadfast in your determination to enjoy it, this game will drive you fucking nuts.

I am glad I bought it. Whether I’m glad I’ve paid full price for it, however, is another, more open question. More about it when I get to the end (or “end”?) but, yeah, it’s a bizarre and beautiful work of Art. It’s the kind of game Baudelaire would have coded.

In fact it’s kind of mind boggling, now that I think of it, that it was even released.

Mon, July 11 2005 » Games

2 Responses

  1. David Moles July 12 2005 @ 10:50 am

    Do you wanna, like, tape yourself playing it and edit out all the repetitive bits? ‘Cause I don’t think I can sit through the gameplay-on-rails.

  2. Alan July 12 2005 @ 11:52 am

    I’m hoping to provide some of the dialogue on the blog when I’m done with it. Just to give a “flavor,” last night I had a decapitated head talk to me about a chocolate sundae.

    The gameplay is actually more dynamic than I would have thought too-you’re on rails, but the combat switches to first person pretty seamlessly. Also, the characters never seem like they are lost! A lot of games I’ve played are on de facto rails; this one just codifies it.

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