Herman Melville’s Moby Dick sits on my bookshelf like a mountain whose cliffs bear the scratches and divots of many failed attempts at the summit. My ability as a reader is such that I have the necessary skill to finish it; doing so is a matter of dedication. The 2005 GameCube game Killer7 enjoys an occasional spin in the disc drive but spends most of its time gathering dust. Like Moby Dick, I know that I have the basic mechanical skills required to see it through to the end. What stops me is the the mental commitment required to wade through the unconventional game systems and surreal themes that make Suda’s games so uniquely challenging.
Although it is an extremely odd game, Killer7 illustrates the subtle shift that has occurred in the structure and difficulty of single player games. The skills needed to finish the average linear or plot-driven game have come to resemble those required in other media: getting to the end of a game is less about sheer skill and more about making the intellectual decision to persevere.