Seeing as this is a longer episode, if you want to skip to specific sections then I talk about the absurdity of the narrative at 5:10, and then the mechanics of the game at 9:05. I don't talk about specific plot points in any great detail, so don't worry too much about spoilers - what plot details I do mention are more in the context of me not really understanding what's going on despite having completed the game multiple times.
After a lot of worrying about various computer issues and not being able to get this done due to a billion other things going on in my life right now, I finally got this done. I'm really excited about it, because Suda 51's Killer7 is a game I've wanted to talk about for the longest time.
This cult classic from 2005 is maybe the most insane game ever created. On every level - from mechanics, to narrative, to design, to genre - this game defies convention. Much of why this is can be attributed to the fact that when taken and examined individually, each of its components can be seen as flawed to downright broken. Killer7 rejects standards of control and narrative, but we have these standards for a reason, right?
Well, yes, but as Victor Shklovsky talks about in his essay 'Art as Technique' (or 'Art as Device' depending on how you translate it), 'art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object: the object is not important.' This essay discusses the idea of Verfremdungseffekt, or the 'distancing effect', which was used by authors such as Tolstoy and playwrights such as Brecht in order to shock the audience out of their comfort zones by rejecting the standards of their respective media. Tolstoy experimented with narrative perspective and Brecht destroyed the fourth wall, for example. The point is that, as Shklovsky argues, when we become accustomed to the standards of art, then art becomes habitual and as such its impact on an audience is lessened - you can see most things coming if they adhere to a particular structure. The distancing effect served to shatter that automation of perception, and as such return 'the sense of life' to art, as Shklovsky put it.
Through analysis of each of these elements, I will argue that through techniques of distancing, Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture utilise these flaws to create an experience that actually becomes a more meaningful artistic statement as a result of its imperfections. This game has been an absolute blast to go back to - if you don't have access to a PS2 or Gamecube, then emulators are your friend.
Anyway, thank you so much to everyone for your unbelievably generous support. I'm seriously constantly taken aback at how supportive you guys are of this endeavour and I can't tell you how much it means to me. Regular production is back on schedule now so expect another video next week. I really hope you enjoy the video and let me know what you think!
Thank you again!
Writing on Games