Why Hotline Miami?

#101 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@BoG: I always see this argument brought up about Niko saying one thing and doing another, the thing is people do this all the time. "I really want to quit smoking", "I'm sick of being hang over all the time I should stop drinking", "oh I'm getting so fat I should exercise". People lie to others just like Niko, alot of the missions he does for info on the soldier who betrayed him but alot of it is just out of money and Niko getting a kick out of it.

#102 Edited by TruthTellah (7654 posts) -

@DevWil said:

If Hotline Miami is satirizing violence, I don't see it.

Unfortunately, you don't see it because you haven't played it or really listened to those who appreciate it. It's like criticizing a game like ICO as just a boring, prolonged escort mission because that's what it looks like to someone who hasn't played it. The amount of criticism you're leveling on the game and those praising it is inappropriate for your level of understanding of the topic, and unfortunately, it's indicative of the same kind of assumptive criticism of things people don't understand all across the Internet.

This does not represent any kind of helpful or informed commentary on the game or the response to the game, and as someone expecting more of those praising the game, you should first consider expecting more of yourself and your own commentary on the subject.

#103 Posted by Genkkaku (730 posts) -

The last three movies I watched Killing Them Softley, Savages, Dredd are all way more violent than Hotline Miami is.. One of them is also going to be up for Oscar nominations..

Violence isn't a thing of the past, it also doesn't mean a game is childish if it deals in wanton murder..

When I first watched the trailers for Hotine Miami I didn't have any interest in it, it looked like an over the top violent game, but after playing it, it is well a fun game and It's more of a satire with it's allusions in the music and style..

#104 Posted by McGriddle550 (285 posts) -

WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?!

#106 Posted by Sargus (706 posts) -

@DevWil said:

Finally, movies and games aren't the same, and appealing to violent movies doesn't impress me anyway.

I have two questions:

1) Yeah, it's obvious that games aren't movies, but what differences between the mediums matter in this specific case? Is it the interactivity? What would make Hotline Miami "different" in terms of violence than Pulp Fiction?

2) Do you ever think that violence in more "high-brow" violent movies is justified? If not, then completely different arguments need to be made, and regardless I respect your opinion, even if I disagree. But if you think that movies should be able to get away with things that games shouldn't, I have to ask: Why? Because I think they're very comparable in many ways.

I personally think that, while glorifying violence is not something I promote and it's something that makes me uncomfortable (it's part of the reason I've never played the Manhunt games. They may have some merit, somewhere, but I just can't handle them), I think it can be done well and respectfully in both movies and games. If you disagree, that's OK, but I also think your rant disregards some of the "smarter" uses of violence as a storytelling or gameplay device.

I say this especially because, according to your profile, you play a lot of Counter Strike. To me, that seems like a more glorified version of violence than, say, Grand Theft Auto. Because at least in GTA the game acknowledges that you're doing crime and your character is not a good person. CS doesn't address that at all.

#107 Posted by ViciousReiven (793 posts) -

I think the game itself clearly reflects what I'd like to say right now: 

#108 Edited by Loafsmooch (260 posts) -

This game reminds me a lot about the danish Pusher movies. If you haven't seen them, Drive is pretty much a less realistic, less violent, less "druggy", americanised version of Pusher. Those type of movies can really induce some sort of anxiety, that's why I love those movies, they're so dark. This game has that same feel.

It isn't about glorifying violence, it's about reminding you that we live in a fucked up world, where bad shit can happen.

#109 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

Would you call Drive a marketing failure too? I've read plenty of reviews of the game and at least half mention the story as being more than it seems.

#110 Posted by cmblasko (1006 posts) -

I don't really mind the violence, but I just don't get the hype. Seems like a dime-a-dozen top-down shooter with a fun soundtrack. There were instances during the Quick Look where Patrick was acting so enthusiastic that I thought for sure he was being sarcastic.

#111 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@cmblasko said:

I don't really mind the violence, but I just don't get the hype. Seems like a dime-a-dozen top-down shooter with a fun soundtrack. There were instances during the Quick Look where Patrick was acting so enthusiastic that I thought for sure he was being sarcastic.

you have to play it to appreciate it fully, but it's really intense; not from a gore perspective, but from a difficulty perspective. One wrong move and you're dead; you might compare it to SMB or Trials: Evo.

#112 Posted by wh1terav3n (652 posts) -

Man, I can't believe the reaction to the movie Avengers. I mean, people actually seemed to like it! How could anybody like watching egotistical, amateur maniacs kill things for hours! And then joke about it and prod others into fighting them! Everyone must be crazy! Now, mind you I haven't seen the movie, but everyone seems to say it's "fun" and "funny", but how can you like a movie where there are overpowered characters killing things! And their so much more powerful than everyone else, it's like their killing children. All of these "critics" and "people" like this movie about killing babies! I just don't under...wait, we're talking about a video game here? It's ruining the children! Just like that movie Avenger's I heard about.

...But seriously, only about 30% sarcasm.

#113 Edited by cmblasko (1006 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@cmblasko said:

I don't really mind the violence, but I just don't get the hype. Seems like a dime-a-dozen top-down shooter with a fun soundtrack. There were instances during the Quick Look where Patrick was acting so enthusiastic that I thought for sure he was being sarcastic.

you have to play it to appreciate it fully, but it's really intense; not from a gore perspective, but from a difficulty perspective. One wrong move and you're dead; you might compare it to SMB or Trials: Evo.

Yeah, the positive critical response surrounding the game - which contrasts pretty sharply with my initial perception - is making me quite interested in playing it, but I think I will wait until after some of the technical issues are cleared up before I purchase it.

#114 Edited by Ghostiet (5153 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@BoG: I always see this argument brought up about Niko saying one thing and doing another, the thing is people do this all the time. "I really want to quit smoking", "I'm sick of being hang over all the time I should stop drinking", "oh I'm getting so fat I should exercise". People lie to others just like Niko, alot of the missions he does for info on the soldier who betrayed him but alot of it is just out of money and Niko getting a kick out of it.

I'll digress here.

Problem is, Niko makes questionable decisions that make no sense considering his character development. The choice that branches into multiple endings is idiotic, since Niko has absolutely no reason to take the "Deal" route, especially considering the motivation you mentioned. GTA4 has a lot of problems story-wise simply because Rockstar fell into the trap of "multiple" "choice", like with the terrible character of Kate and her role in the plot.

John Marston still has that problem, but it's handled a lot better (and it mostly happens due to the unnecessary "honor" mechanic, which fortunately doesn't play that much of a role). Mostly because it's clearly established that while John is a moral man, at the given moment he only cares about getting his family back and therefore he is willing to obfuscate his depth, since having an opinion endangers his loved ones. The entire Mexico arc exists to set this motivation in stone - the fact that he's exercising in hypocrisy is openly lampshaded by Landon Ricketts. "My side ain't chosen. My side was given.". Sure, the freedom kinda undercuts it, but it's easier to swallow, since it's a bit harder to be an asshole in RDR.

Niko's motivation is to provide for himself and Roman and to find the traitor. However, the first thing is gotten out of the way barely halfway through the game, but the story continues to put him in situations where he has to choose between satisfying his morality and getting money, but without showing him as a greedy man in any way. Sure, there's that justification of him not knowing anything apart from violence and violence happens to be the thing that works in the situation he found himself in, but it's explored so weakly that it rings hollow shortly after offing Vlad.

#115 Posted by Nadril (520 posts) -

Just bought the game myself today, and it's doing anything but glorifying violence. It's actually pretty fucked up, and the silence after a mission is over (as you walk back to your car over the mounds of dead bodies) can be eerily creepy.

And really the only story parts so far have summed up to "hey man, why are you so fucked up?"

#116 Edited by onimonkii (2421 posts) -

for me what hooked me is pretty much the whole package.

the gameplay loop, though over the top violent, is incredibly addictive. it requires speed, precision, and not just memorization of patterns, but also the ability to react quickly to changes, which can make things easier or harder for you at random. finally getting a perfect run through a stage is just as satisfying as fucking everything up and barely survivng.

the soundtrack is fantastic, it helps you get into a groove where you just want to keep going, and the graphics are pixels without feeling like they're mining retro nostalgia, even though the game is set in the 80s.

it all comes together to form a really tense atmosphere, it's almost like a horror game where you're the monster, but unlike other games, you're just as fragile as your victims.

#117 Edited by BuyBondsYo (18 posts) -

I like how this guy is completely writing off a game that he hasn't even played.

Either he's a troll, really stupid, or just likes controversy.

#118 Posted by Undeadpool (4868 posts) -

@DrDarkStryfe said:

This is like judging the entire movie industry based soely on the movie Porky's.

This pretty much sums it up. As do the numerous posts talking about how fun the game is to play.

I agree, the game industry has a lot of growing up to do (and frankly I think it's on a great track) but not every single game needs to be the equivalent of Philadelphia or Schindler's List for that to happen. There's plenty of room for Crank or Rambo.

#119 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1357 posts) -

I think the game is clearly on some level satirical and/or surreal, so that part of it doesn't really bug me (though it doesn't really entice me either).

I just don't think it looks all that fun to play from what I've seen, though others clearly disagree. It seemed if you took away the style and music, you're left with an unforgiving Flash game nobody would really care about, let-alone be totally pumped about. Obviously the style is a big part of the game, but I sometimes get the sense these kinds of indie darlings are loved for kind of superficial reasons. I'm torn on whether if this is an entirely bad thing and if I'm being unfair -- it's easy to be reductive about most games.

#120 Posted by JasonR86 (9379 posts) -

I posted earlier but I've had some further thoughts on this whole thing. Movie, books, music, and video games among other media formats aim to cause their audience to experience some emotion somehow some way. With that in mind, I don't see how using violence in a movie, game, etc. etc. is any different from using comedy or sex to create an emotion. Ultimately, a creator of a piece of entertainment is simply providing a product for people to experience or ignore. If people like the OP find Hotline Miami offensive then simply don't buy the product and stop drawing attention to it.

#121 Posted by Giantstalker (1445 posts) -

I bought it and kind of have to agree with the OP on at least one count: it's just not that great in how it plays or looks. Other than a catchy (but highly repetitive) soundtrack and the 80's aesthetic, I simply don't understand Hotline Miami's popularity.

Thankfully, it was only ten bucks. Still, that's money that admittedly could have been better spent on something like Unity of Command: Stalingrad Campaign, a much superior indie game that - like anything semi-serious - got thrown under the rug so everyone could fawn over stuff like this.

But in the end it's all just opinions, and I don't begrudge anyone for that.

#122 Posted by MiniPato (2657 posts) -

@DevWil said:

Most of you who are disagreeing with me are saying one of three things: 1. Don't take games seriously; they're just supposed to be fun. 2. Play the game and maybe you'll feel differently. 3. Movies are violent too. The second is the only disagreement I can entertain. However, it is a complete failure of both marketing and game criticism that I've read two reviews, watched a trailer, and watched a Quick Look and have the opposite impression that the game wants me to. Perhaps most importantly, you can't simply do something and say you're making fun of it. If Hotline Miami is satirizing violence, I don't see it. It seems like people are focusing their experience around how exciting it is to kill people in the game. Finally, movies and games aren't the same, and appealing to violent movies doesn't impress me anyway. Thanks to everybody who has responded, and I hope I cleared some things up. Sorry if I didn't answer your argument directly. This comment thread sort of blew up, and I'm typing this on a tablet, as I'm not home right now.

You can't judge a movie based on a trailer and some reviews and you certainly can't judge a game based on a trailer and reviews. It's a video GAME. The interactivity is what separates it from other mediums. Appealing to violent movies isn't trying to impress you, it's saying that not all videogames have to be hyperserious artsy fartsy bullshit to be 1. Entertaining and 2. be taken seriously as a medium. You have your Citizen Kanes and you have your Transformers. Not all movies have to be one or the other and not all videogames have to be ICO or Heavy Rain. And let me reiterate that it's a GAME. You have to play it to truly be able to judge it. If a game is extremely fun to play, but has a dumb story and doesn't have any kind of message, should it be dumped on? No. If it's fun enough to warrant high praise, then it deserves. That doesn't mean the medium is stuck in adolescence.

The reason your thread blew up, or at least why I'm compelled to respond, isn't because you don't see the appeal of Hotline Miami. But because you're one of those people that think videogames have to be either a highly respected art medium or be simple entertainment. Fact is, it can be both. No one has to grow up. By chastising developers and critics from liking something you deem juvenile, you're stifling the medium more than you are elevating it.

#123 Edited by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Giantstalker said:

I bought it and kind of have to agree with the OP on at least one count: it's just not that great in how it plays or looks. Other than a catchy (but highly repetitive) soundtrack and the 80's aesthetic, I simply don't understand Hotline Miami's popularity.

Thankfully, it was only ten bucks. Still, that's money that admittedly could have been better spent on something like Unity of Command: Stalingrad Campaign, a much superior indie game that - like anything semi-serious - got thrown under the rug so everyone could fawn over stuff like this.

But in the end it's all just opinions, and I don't begrudge anyone for that.

It being indie is not the reason why that game didn't get the attention that Hotline Miami got and you know it. The reason it got thrown under the rug is because it's a hardcore strategy game not because it's an indie game. I like the more hardcore strategy games (though that seems a little too much for me) but come on.

Also Journey was plenty serious, as was Bastion

#124 Posted by konig_kei (575 posts) -

To me this sounds like you have never played a video game before, just watched gameplay of them. Video games are more than just what you see its not a movie, the mechanics are what separates games from other entertainment mediums and not all games are 'art' just like not all movies are 'art'. Take off your fucken beret and get off your high horse, games are entertainment first and this game happens to be very entertaining.

#125 Posted by Giantstalker (1445 posts) -

@Animasta: I understand you fully when you say Unity of Command doesn't have mass appeal. It sure doesn't, won't debate that, but it's still a fine game.

But how does a top-down, gory 2D action game with retro everything suddenly become the most popular game of the moment? I just don't see the logic in it, or maybe it's got nothing to do with logic at all!

I'm like that one guy who doesn't get a joke while everybody's laughing at how funny it is.

#126 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Giantstalker: it's hardly the most popular game out at the moment, not even within interest enthusiasts circles.

#127 Posted by Dimsey (943 posts) -

I have no qualms about the games content. Hell, I think it's rad from top to bottom.

But what I do find a bit off putting is people who have been rallying against violence in games all year are now stroking themselves over Hotline Miami.

Perhaps not necessarily for the violence, but they've not commented on that being a problem like they would for say - God of War.

Just strikes me as a tad hypocritical. But whatever. People will like what they like.

#128 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

I love how games are the only medium people like this single out for violent content. Give me a break. It's supposed to be ridiculous and desensitized in its violent content.

@Giantstalker said:

Thankfully, it was only ten bucks. Still, that's money that admittedly could have been better spent on something like Unity of Command: Stalingrad Campaign, a much superior indie game that - like anything semi-serious - got thrown under the rug so everyone could fawn over stuff like this.

Dude no strategy game like that is going to have this kind of popularity. Nothing against the game whatsoever. Just saying. Like you say it's all taste though.

#129 Posted by deerokus (517 posts) -

Writing an essay about a game you haven't played is... something.

#130 Posted by TheVideoHustler (406 posts) -

Holy crap. People sure do write a lot about nothing.

#131 Posted by IzzyGraze (838 posts) -

The music was the main reason I bought this game. I love it. It might not be for everyone but I personally enjoy it very much.

The murder-fest doesn`t really matter. People have said it serves a narrative purpose and I can see how it feeds into the style of the game. However, I feel this game is more a puzzle like Super Meat boy. If the gore didn`t bother you in Meat boy, I`d say it shouldn`t bother you here. However I do enjoy the violence. I think the GB crew comparing this to the movie Drive is apt. I can`t really describe it but it gets the style of drugs, hitmen, mobsters and a bit of the criminal underworld.

Then you get the cutscenes with the dudes with the masks. Those remind me a bit of Donnie Darko or some sort of David Lynch film. Dark and fucked up.

So that`s why I like the game. Does it further video games as a form of media. Maybe a bit, just because of style. But for women? For deep character driven dramas? Probably not but I haven't played it all. I will say this. You rescue a girl from a mobster and she's all fucked up on drugs. She was probably used as one of their 'girls' so that would be why she's in her underwear and helpless. I mean, you have to kill like 10 or more dudes to get her out of there, so I can understand why she didn't do it herself. But yeah, they didn't have to write a female character that way and it doesn't help women. I'm just saying there's a reason she looks like she does in the picture.

#132 Posted by TheVeteran13 (1197 posts) -

I didn't read your post but it's cool cause I really don't care about your opinion anyway.

#133 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@DevWil: Hotline Miami is insane. The game aesthetic is like looking at an hallucination of a mass murderer, and the worse thing is, that YOU'RE the mass murderer. And, yes, it does incentivate you to kill people in terrible ways. It does that by having quick and responsive gameplay, making you want to try again to fix the one mistake you commited. And so you kill again, and again, watching people slowly crawling, begging for their life, while the alien colors and repetitive music tries to enter your brain.
The little narrative beats suggest a number of things, being abstract enough so you can make your own conclusions. Seeing Hotline Miami in action is looking through the eyes of a murderer: It can be disgusting, it can be fascinating, etc. Playing Hotline Miami is swinging the axe! It is blood-pumping! But you also have to deal with other emotions, after all, you're mindless killing people.
What i'm trying to say, but i'm having a hard time saying(This must be due to my lack of sleep), is that Hotline Miami is what you make of it. It is an experience, and people have different reactions for that. However, suggesting that a woman being saved makes the game anti-feminist is silly and hyperbolic, just like saying that the violence makes this game less mature. It is understandable that the concept of ultraviolence may appeal to teenagers more than for adults, but violence itself doesn't make any medium "less mature". Violence, when portrayed in a medium, is a tool to get an emotion out of you, even if it's a negative emotion. Don't be so harsh on the game just because the violence is there and it attracts people.
Also, i really hope you read this, instead of dismissing it as just another comment comparing violence in a game to violence in another medium.
#134 Posted by Karkarov (2622 posts) -

@LikeaSsur said:

I share the sentiment on being baffled, but not because of all the reasons you listed.

I'm baffled on how a top down shooter became so loved so quickly, while doing absolutely nothing new or unique, save for the soundtrack.

Same. I have no clue why people like this game. I watched video's, read reviews, and am sitting here scratching my head saying.... so this game is good why again? It has a good soundtrack... okay. And? Gameplay from the early 80's except with a mouse and keyboard... uh huh... Oh it also takes "maybe" 4-5 hours to beat. The story is also complete nonsense and sounds like it was written by someone high on crack. Yeah... so why not just buy the sound track and ignore the game?

#135 Posted by CrossTheAtlantic (1145 posts) -

@Animasta: In fact, hasn't the tired critique of the critically-acclaimed indie games been that they're too self-serious? Something like Hotline Miami seems like a shot in the arm.

#136 Posted by ShaggE (5983 posts) -

@Karkarov said:

@LikeaSsur said:

I share the sentiment on being baffled, but not because of all the reasons you listed.

I'm baffled on how a top down shooter became so loved so quickly, while doing absolutely nothing new or unique, save for the soundtrack.

Same. I have no clue why people like this game. I watched video's, read reviews, and am sitting here scratching my head saying.... so this game is good why again? It has a good soundtrack... okay. And? Gameplay from the early 80's except with a mouse and keyboard... uh huh... Oh it also takes "maybe" 4-5 hours to beat. The story is also complete nonsense and sounds like it was written by someone high on crack. Yeah... so why not just buy the sound track and ignore the game?

Maybe people like different things?

#137 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7240 posts) -

I haven't played it yet, but from what I've seen no one has praised it solely for its violence. It's getting praised because it has a good aesthetic not commonly seen in games, fast and fun gameplay that seems satisfying and has puzzle elements as well as having an awesome soundtrack.

I think your FPS comparison is invalid, people aren't tired of FPS games because of the killing, it's because of the way the games are structured and how similar some feel to one another. What game has come out recently that is anything like Hotline Miami? None. That's part of the reason it's getting praise.

And I assume since you don't like games about "random" killing, you only play games that give you a reason to kill every single person you come across? Because you might be a bit hard pressed to find alot of them.

#138 Posted by BuyBondsYo (18 posts) -

@Karkarov: Maybe because the gameplay is really good.

#139 Edited by DevWil (843 posts) -

@Sargus said:

@DevWil said:

Finally, movies and games aren't the same, and appealing to violent movies doesn't impress me anyway.

I have two questions:

1) Yeah, it's obvious that games aren't movies, but what differences between the mediums matter in this specific case? Is it the interactivity? What would make Hotline Miami "different" in terms of violence than Pulp Fiction?

2) Do you ever think that violence in more "high-brow" violent movies is justified? If not, then completely different arguments need to be made, and regardless I respect your opinion, even if I disagree. But if you think that movies should be able to get away with things that games shouldn't, I have to ask: Why? Because I think they're very comparable in many ways.

I personally think that, while glorifying violence is not something I promote and it's something that makes me uncomfortable (it's part of the reason I've never played the Manhunt games. They may have some merit, somewhere, but I just can't handle them), I think it can be done well and respectfully in both movies and games. If you disagree, that's OK, but I also think your rant disregards some of the "smarter" uses of violence as a storytelling or gameplay device.

I say this especially because, according to your profile, you play a lot of Counter Strike. To me, that seems like a more glorified version of violence than, say, Grand Theft Auto. Because at least in GTA the game acknowledges that you're doing crime and your character is not a good person. CS doesn't address that at all.

Yes, the fundamental difference between a game and a movie is the difference between doing and watching.

I think that violent content in games and other media can totally be justified.

But here's the thing with Hotline Miami: I think it'd be way more successful if it were just a short (like, 10 minutes or less) game in which you do some awful stuff to people and then are forced to reflect on it, and that's the entire arc of the game. However, the fact that the game asks you to do it over and over again (in the name of fun) really deflates any arguments for it being a strong commentary on violence. The reason people keep playing is for the violence, and most of the content really seems to be celebrating violence.

Regarding Counter-Strike... I played Global Offensive a lot when it first launched, but not so much lately. I see a couple of big differences between CS: GO and Hotline Miami: the former is multiplayer and the violence is much better contextualized, I think. In fact, I think CS: GO actually says some surprising things in its game mechanics. For instance, to play a complete match, you have to embody the roles of both terrorist and counter-terrorist, and I think that's actually very interesting. That's something people tend not to think about (and it's something a lot of people in this thread would discourage me from analyzing...).

In CS: GO, I sort of see through the violence into the play structure underneath, and I think a lot of other people do too. It's not exactly about "shooting people in the head", it's about clicking the left mouse button when my cursor is on the opponent's player model. It becomes much more abstract. The primary interaction of a CS: GO match is not "kill the other team". It's not even "destroy/protect the bomb site". It's "win more than half of the possible rounds" (so, win 16 rounds if the halves are 15 rounds each).

However, after playing CS: GO, I can notice myself feeling more irritable and agitated, even if I was playing well and winning. I'm not sure it's a healthy activity.

And I fully appreciate that there's an element of that kind of abstraction in Hotline Miami (many people have talked about the puzzle-like nature of the gameplay), but I don't think it gets away with it to the degree that a game like Counter-Strike can. There's so much attention to detail in modeling the gore and the game itself seems so gleeful about your homicidal ways. The violence never seems like a means to an end for me. It seems like an end in itself.

And, simply put, I think single-player games and multiplayer games are fundamentally different. In a game of Counter-Strike, anonymous as the interactions may be, you are arguably engaged in a social activity. Similarly, we can look at a chess match and say that the two players aren't at war with one another (despite chess's militaristic content), but rather they're simultaneously collaborating and competing. They both want a challenging experience, and they know they depend on the other player for that. A grand master wouldn't want to play against me, because he would win too easily.

On the other hand... I'm developing a strong distaste for single-player experiences, at least in the way they're typically designed.

This is going to sound like an exaggeration, but bear with me:

Most single-player computer games are about obsessively killing cartoon characters.

Am I really that far from the truth in saying that?

Is that really what we want to do with our time? For me, the answer is no, and I don't see the point in playing Hotline Miami if the main point is to get as many red pixels of blood out of as many animated characters as I can. The eeriness might very well be effective, but it's entirely secondary when considering the broader experience of playing the game (as far as I can tell).

And, while this isn't directly related to the rest of what I've written here:

I've read another review of the game since my original post. Eurogamer gave the game a 10/10, and I'm still left uncertain as to why it's good. Here are some excerpts:

"There is no time to think. There is no 'think'."

There's something to be said for gameplay becoming so intense that you're not actually thinking about it (flow, etc), but Tom Bramwell (who wrote the review) spends an awful lot of time actively refusing to actually analyze the game.

"...it's amazing slapstick fun. Stop thinking."

"I don't know why I like the Don - I haven't thought about it."

"It's not haunting or anything like that - this is a silly video game, right?"

This type of "criticism" is exactly what I'm embarrassed about. If a game is fun, we tend not to look at it any closer. If a game isn't fun, we tend not to look at it at all.

If all we want out of our games is for them to be viscerally pleasurable, then we might as well be drug addicts.

And, again, sorry if I'm not responding to anybody's criticism of my words. I'd really like to do so, but it becomes a bit unmanageable. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

#140 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@DevWil: Just because the gameplay is fun means the message it's trying to convey doesn't work? I don't think I buy that. There's a (purposeful) disconnect in the murdering part and the not murdering part. and just because the Eurogamer reviewer doesn't want to think about the stuff that isn't the gameplay doesn't mean it's not there. Here's a small list of the stuff it does to make it not just a mindless gorefest.

1. that disconnect between murdering and not murdering. Once you finish a level, which has very fast paced music (usually techno based), this music plays while you go back to your car, stepping over all of the people you murdered. It made me feel guilty about it. You go to the video store, the pizzeria.

2. The excessive gore doesn't make me think "OH AWESOME" it makes me think oh man this dude is messed up. All of the downed execution animations are way too long and way too brutal for me not to think he's messed up. He kills helpless civilians. You can't not kill them. You play the game as a second character later on and he does not kill everyone, he leaves people alive and shit.

3. You have interludes, talking to people in your masks, who tell the MC he is a horrible person.

I'm not a huge fan of the ultra violence in most games either but here it has a point.

and one more thing; just because some people are enamored by the gore and by the ultra violence does not mean all of us are. It all ties in to what I liked about it, namely the story. (course the gameplay was rad too) I think you're just trying to pin something on this game that's not really fair and not really valid but you wouldn't know since you haven't played it.

#141 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (660 posts) -

@DevWil: If you're categorically against bothering with the game, it's worth looking at Cactus games' general stance on design at least. Just to get a general sense of their diegesis. They were pretty well known in the indie games community prior to Hotline Miami's release for putting out a metric shit ton of games at an astonishing rate. They often tend towards the aggressively surreal (a la Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf) or more confrontational works, in particular "Norrland" - which is a reference to the northern half of Sweden, where the developer lives. The game is free for download and is reasonably short.

You can download it here:

http://cactusquid.com/games/norrland.zip

Or you can read the Rock Paper Shotgun write-up for it here:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/11/30/at-the-steps-of-the-bone-hut-norrland/

Cactus is not exactly a developer that's into shameless glorification of violence as an end to itself. Their general ethos seems to be that game mechanics typically give you zero insight into the interior life of the protagonists. As in Norrland, you engage in the simple mechanics of satisfying all the general macho urges of the equivalent of a Swedish hillbilly in the woods. The game ends with a confrontational dream sequence that only scratches the surface of the pervasive self-loathing of the character. All the things you were doing prior to this were simple escapes, ways to not deal with their disgust and disaffection for a few minutes. For me, the implication of this was to question what it is we get from going hunting and "mastering nature" and getting wasted and "checking out" from the world for a while in whatever manufactured ways we can. Essentially, asking what all the little ways we let ourselves get away are actually hiding from us.

Hotline Miami seems to be deploying a very simple arcade aesthetic to as satisfying an end as they can make it: reasonably tight controls, an inexplicable points-based system (I'm convinced that "flexibility" was programmed in as a joke by the devs. I've only ever gotten zero.) Except the AI can sometimes be erratic, so the constance of something like Super Meat Boy's levels falls apart. It's puzzle-ish, but the pieces sometimes change shape, or look like they fit but don't.) Rather than have any kind of narrative reinforcement of what the player is doing, that becomes more and more suspect as the game goes on. I don't ever see the avatar as empowered. Their motivations are never delineated. The processes the game demands of you require a certain detachment. If you're into Bogost, the game's procedural rhetoric is one that requires a movement into mechanical actions - you can try to "plan" your way through a floor, but what you're mostly doing is front-loading your reptile brain with actions and responses. Rather than, say, Call of Duty, where you have game mechanics that make you into an unfeeling killer and a narrative that sterilizes those feelings, Hotline Miami's processes demand you become an unthinking killer and gives you a narrative that questions your motivations for enjoying the game. If you're worried about the state of violence in video games, you and Hotline Miami are basically on the same team, it's just that they're not interested in being zealots about it. So, yeah, part of the rhetoric is that the game is indefensible. There's enough there that to write it off as simply reveling in violence does it a tremendous disservice, but if you want your video game violence to be absolutely didactic and to make its arguments abundantly clear, you're probably hoping for too much from any media.

Buuuut whatever. If you're looking for thoughtful, cogent discussions, an internet forum is the worst place to find it.

#142 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@MuttersomeTaxicab: people have gotten flexibility, it's by not using the same weapon more than once or something (or always switching between kills I am not sure)

#143 Posted by WEB_War4 (111 posts) -

Pretend you're on a crusade and the game isn't violent, it's justice(?).

#144 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (660 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab: people have gotten flexibility, it's by not using the same weapon more than once or something (or always switching between kills I am not sure)

Noted!

#145 Posted by WMWA (1159 posts) -
@EuanDewar

Is this a satire of a dumb post

Dumb satire
#146 Posted by Gahzoo (361 posts) -

@EuanDewar said:

Is this a satire of a dumb post

This.

I was honestly confused while reading.

I don't even want to argue

#147 Posted by Ramone (2931 posts) -

@Chavtheworld said:

@LikeaSsur said:

I share the sentiment on being baffled, but not because of all the reasons you listed.

I'm baffled on how a top down shooter became so loved so quickly, while doing absolutely nothing new or unique, save for the soundtrack.

Which incidentally is shit.

I will fight you.

#148 Posted by Demoskinos (13869 posts) -

Stabbing dudes like uh uh uh uh

#149 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

Stabbing dudes like uh uh uh uh

no stabbing dudes only slicing dudes

unless using the drill on someone's brain counts as stabbing

#150 Edited by FoolishChaos (408 posts) -

The game reminds me of movies like Taxi Driver and Drive. If you've watched either of these movies, you know that the violence is not the crux of the movie, but its impactful. The violence in Hotline Miami is the core of the game for sure, because its a video game and it brings you back to the moments that were most exciting from movies like that. But with the music and the short time between levels, it sets up a narrative we've heard before and implants that theme in your brain, without necessarily needing an hour of exposition. I don't want the first hour of Hotline Miami to be the equivalent of Ryan Goslin being quiet and developing a love interest in a game with pixel men. Our brain forms the full picture even given the small amount of dialogue and music, because its reminiscent of stories we have witnessed before.

Telling this kind of story would be hard/impossible without the horrifying violence. If you don't want to experience this kind of tale, then that's up to you. But I do, and its not just about the violence.

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