The Killer
June 1, 2011 11:14 AM   Subscribe

The Killer. A notgame about the killing fields of Cambodia. [Via]
posted by homunculus (43 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Direct link to via article, for posterity (and a description of the notgame).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:28 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do not read the article linked above if you want to experience the notgame yourself. I am glad that I read it. Someone else might think otherwise.
posted by hat_eater at 11:31 AM on June 1, 2011


Very upsetting. As soon as the music began and I was marching my prisoner forward, I was done.

Now trying to figure out why killing people in Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Age, and Batman, among others, doesn't bother me at all though far more realistic, while this is a game I wish I'd never begun.
posted by bearwife at 11:32 AM on June 1, 2011


Apparently, the fields are beyond the beach.
posted by demiurge at 11:33 AM on June 1, 2011


Eventually I got tired of holding space, so I let go and it told me to take aim. I guess it doesn't tell you when you've marched far enough?
posted by MrFTBN at 11:35 AM on June 1, 2011


Needs more killing. Maybe some torture in a cutscene, and loud rock music during action sequences.
posted by aramaic at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now trying to figure out why killing people in Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Age, and Batman, among others, doesn't bother me at all
Perhaps because those are games. This is not a game.
posted by hat_eater at 11:37 AM on June 1, 2011


My experience is quite different from that described in the article. I wonder how many different 'endings' there are.
posted by knapah at 11:41 AM on June 1, 2011


After witnessing a pretty bad auto accident on Monday (though I don't think anybody was seriously hurt), it felt really weird going back to LA Noire and going for the $47,000 damage achievement, which basically involves smashing cars into each other over and over. Most of the time it was fine, but once in a while I'd get this sort of nauseating flashback to the accident.
posted by kmz at 11:48 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Not-games"/Art games/games of pseudo-profundity have got to stop relying on sentimental music as the immediate marker that "this is not a normal video game where you enjoy killing." With the sound off, from the very first image I felt a sickness in my gut, then I turned the sound on and immediately felt vaguely insulted by the emo. Field recordings or silence would have been 100% better.

Regardless, the color shift after a minute or so is one of the more vivid and realistic depictions of late-afternoon sunlight that I've ever seen, in-game or out.
posted by AndNeverWell at 11:52 AM on June 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


This was kind of silly. Maybe if I could be a gang of thugs that went around destroying temples, monasteries, and other centers of traditional culture in the name of communism. And then maybe I could play the part of a Carter administration lackey and just sit there and watch.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:58 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem with this is that it relies entirely on external information to give the experience content and meaning. You only have one decision to make, and it is without in-game consequences. The subject matter is profoundly upsetting, but any real sense of it is conveyed in text and music. Calling this a "notgame" feels like a bit of a cop-out to me, despite the palpable and laudable good intentions behind it.
posted by howfar at 12:03 PM on June 1, 2011


Good to know that the Khmer Rouge had a weepy and sentimental soundtrack.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:05 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, if you stand there it's quite pleasant to watch the clouds float by.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:08 PM on June 1, 2011


felt vaguely insulted by the emo.

Punch yourself in the mouth. Sigur Ros / Jonsi is not emo.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:14 PM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]



You know, if you stand there it's quite pleasant to watch the clouds float by.

Does Cambodia have christmas trees and snow covered mountains?
posted by ennui.bz at 12:22 PM on June 1, 2011


I am not sure that this says anything particularly interesting. The first time you are given any real agency in the game is when you are given the choice whether or not to shoot your prisoner, that choice lacks emotional weight beyond that given by the external context, which is you know this is going to be a game about the killing fields of cambodia and the emotional music and long "walk" that you have taken up until that point.

By contrast, I felt far more emotionally affected in Portal, an actual "game", that manages to create an emotional bond between you the player and an inanimate cube with a heart painted on it, and then tear that apart with a to incinerate the cube or leave the game. That evocation of atmosphere even though is relied on similar techniques, was much more powerful than the "choice" presented at the end of this "nongame" because I at that point was much more invested and connected with the story that game was trying to tell.

When you create a non-game about the cruelty and pointlessness of one of the most horrific acts in human history, and leave me much less emotionally affected than when I was killing an inanimate cube with a heart painted on it, I have to question whether you have succeeded in your goal. I think games, and especially art games or "non-games", which are not burdened by the ridiculous expectation that they will always be "fun" - can and do have powerful things to tell us about ourselves and the world around us. But I felt that that this was an crude attempt at emotional manipulation that did not really succeed.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:22 PM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was ready to criticize this, but that was wonderful, in part because it allowed me to make the choice I wanted to make*, complete with the consequences.

* Spoiler:









You can free the prisoner.
posted by byanyothername at 12:23 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm clearly in the minority opinion on this, but I thought the music was perfectly chosen.
posted by jbickers at 12:33 PM on June 1, 2011


I aimed at the sky and fired, then this dog popped up and started laughing at me.
posted by chairface at 12:34 PM on June 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Does it include the 5 years of US bombing from 70 - 75 before the Khmer Rouge started? (All done while the US media looked the other way.)
posted by marienbad at 12:34 PM on June 1, 2011


It's a rather long walk for such a short drink of water. Trite and pretentious.
posted by snottydick at 12:38 PM on June 1, 2011


I felt the music gave it a bit of an light feeling. Now this game is a truly frightening game about genocide.
posted by lemuring at 12:40 PM on June 1, 2011


> Now this game is a truly frightening game about genocide.

Has anyone hacked that to see what the outcome is? I don't have 16 years to finish it.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:46 PM on June 1, 2011


Marienbad raises a good point: does it include the support from China, done while the world looked the other way and continues to try to do so?

Also, what about the Vietnamese invasion? Or, conversely, the Chinese invasion of Vietnam to punish the Vietnamese for having the temerity to attack their Khmer clients?

No?

Huh.
posted by aramaic at 1:00 PM on June 1, 2011


That game didn't do very much for me - the conclusion seemed inevitable and I agree that the music seemed to be asked to carry much of the emotional weight.

This one, on the other hand by the same designer, is one of the more emotionally affecting pieces of art I've encountered recently. Inspired by the designer's experience teaching kids in South Korea for a year, it's a reflection on loneliness (both his and theirs, I assume...)
posted by obruni at 1:06 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pitfall ripoff.
posted by PHINC at 1:34 PM on June 1, 2011


Grr. The first two times I got blown up by landmines before we got past the beach, then on the third time, I apparently missed the hostage, who went running off.

What happens if you manage to shoot the guy?
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 PM on June 1, 2011


Huh. So ya'll didn't just blow up, I take it. Not sure what the message would be with that ending, except that, hey, sometimes people blow up.
posted by penduluum at 2:03 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The proper sound track would be John Lennon's Imagine. It's like Paul Pot wanted to make Yoko's dream real and ended up in a nightmare. A good case study on how best of intentions can lead to hellish results. Nazi's are to Conservatives what Khmer Rouge are to liberals.
posted by astrobiophysican at 2:09 PM on June 1, 2011


Nazis are to Nazis what Khmer Rouge is to Khmer Rouge.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:24 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record: Pol Pot studied at the Sorbonne
posted by Vibrissae at 2:29 PM on June 1, 2011


I aimed at the gunman's head. The prisoner went free.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 2:34 PM on June 1, 2011


also, shooting "Old people" was considered a waste of ammuntion.

Old people being those who were not KR.

Pol Pot studied at the Sorbonne

radio electronics, ain't that ironic.
posted by clavdivs at 3:21 PM on June 1, 2011


Spoiler:


















I kept walking until it seems a landmine got us both. Okay. Lesson learned?
posted by Splunge at 3:26 PM on June 1, 2011


I blame Jason Rohrer
posted by Bwithh at 3:37 PM on June 1, 2011


I didn't really get the point of this game, until I found the key that allows you to jump. After that, you can bounce from palm tree to palm tree, gathering up as many Pol Pot pies as you can. After that, you can get the tanooki suit, grab the prisoner, and fly to Hong Kong. (Definitely beats taking the boat!)
posted by markkraft at 3:52 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


For the record: Pol Pot studied at the Sorbonne

Exactly. Neo-Marxist hotbed of the times; here is the Ph.D. thesis that led eventually to the killing fields. Liberal idealism can be dangerous.
posted by astrobiophysican at 4:02 PM on June 1, 2011


er, astrobiophysican, Khieu Samphan and Salot Sar (Pol Pot) were two differant people. (took the cia and others a long time to figure that- and yes I read the paper in the 90's ) Also by 59' Sar and been gone from France for 5 years. The thesis won Samphan much acclaim and was instrumental in him getting into the kings inner circle, a move that would have a very horrid effect.
no, the thesis did not led to the killing fields and certainly not to this stupid game. If you study Samphans results and what took place between 1977-79 agricultural reports, you will see a contradiction in policy.

Paris was a "hotbed of ideals" during this time which Jacques Verges termed "the springtime of peoples".

and last, Samphan is still alive.

I would like to re-utter how much this game is not to my liking.
posted by clavdivs at 6:43 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


thanks for posting this homunculus. Please post more FFPs.
(forgot i had a brain)
posted by clavdivs at 6:47 PM on June 1, 2011


Meh. Really trite and cutesy. Total waste of time.

That said, the KR clubbed people to execute them. After you had a nice hole filled with people with crushed skulls someone would go in with a knife and cut the throats of anyone still breathing. Bullets were very expensive for the regime.

And it's far too simplistic to say that China and the KR were allies.
posted by bardic at 9:29 PM on June 1, 2011


I'm going to post a speedrun to YouTube.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:54 PM on June 1, 2011


Grr. The first two times I got blown up by landmines before we got past the beach

>Huh. So ya'll didn't just blow up, I take it.


Not to cast aspersions on anyone or anything, but how heavy-handed were you guys with the spacebar?

It affected me more than I thought it would; I found the music more than a little trite at first, but as far as emotional short-cuts go, that and the pace of the game (Where at first I was just tapping the space bar once in a while until I got bored and impatient with the prisoner, and then slowed right the fuck down when I realized we were on the beach, and then felt bad for a fucking stick figure) worked well together.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:01 PM on June 1, 2011


« Older No longer do you need to go to the corner for a...   |   It's all in the brain. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments