Why Hotline Miami?

#251 Edited by DevWil (842 posts) -

I played the game through the end of Part One. Breezed through it, too.

I don't feel any different about what I've said, except I can't even understand why it's fun now. I didn't find it enjoyable, gore or not. But I tend to dislike games structured like this one, anyway.

(Nobody sent me a copy of the game, so I'm not breaking my promise, by the way. And please don't send me a copy now.)

So there you go. Honestly, I think I've already answered to everything I need to. To sum up: games aren't movies. Games are about what you do. I don't think what you do in Hotline Miami is commendable or contextualized well.

The only thing left would be for me to finish the entire game, but I think pointing out the game's failure to invest me in my character, the setting, or the gameplay is enough to excuse me from the remaining content. There are too many games I'm actually interested in that I've yet to play through for me to dedicate the time necessary for this one.

Finally, when it comes to non-sequiturs and personal insults, I'm not interested in responding individually.

(I feel like this comment is more aggressive in tone than my previous ones. Honestly, that probably has something to do with playing Hotline Miami. I'm not picking on Hotline Miami in particular... see my previous comments about Counter-Strike making me more irritable. Also, the link to the APA piece that someone was kind enough to point out. Even in the 1980s, there were reliable studies that showed that playing violent single-player computer games made people aggressive. Violent multi-player games didn't, however...)

#252 Posted by OppressiveStink (355 posts) -

@DevWil: Games and movies share tropes and enough context to be compared to each other. Don't be lazy and reply to people's posts to you, you wanted this to happen, at least show some gumption and follow through.

#254 Edited by Atlas (2430 posts) -

All I'm going to add to this thread is that I am also totally baffled by the extremely positive reaction to this game, although like the OP I say that as someone who hasn't played it. I watched the quick look and the TNT and I just don't see anything special here. I'm not a guy that's big into top-down shooters or very arcade-y style games, so the only reason I would be into this game is if I liked the aesthetics and the style. But I don't. The visuals are muddy, the music is tedious, the whole thing seems to lack context, and the trial and error gameplay looks less than appealing.

While watching this week's TNT, I actually had to turn it off because they weren't focusing enough on Forza, a game I'm actually interested in, and they couldn't help but fawn over the game. And I couldn't help but watch the chat, which was full of people proclaiming it to be the most amazing thing ever. And I felt bad; bad because I couldn't see what they were seeing. It's that feeling of being on the outside looking in - that feeling that you don't understand what is going on around you. And it's especially painful when it occurs in a community which you self identify with and are invested in. I am not the kind of person who buys a game based solely on hype - that's why I didn't buy FTL. There has to be something that I see in the game that draws me in, that makes me curious, makes me want to see and feel it for myself. All I saw in Hotline Miami is repugnance, and yet all anyone else saw is radiance. Something wrong with me, or something wrong with everyone else?

It's also important to realise that sometimes things that are popular or acclaimed just don't click with you. I don't like drug culture. During the TNT many people said that the whole experience is very psychedelic and is basically cocaine in video game form - and that's supposed to be a good thing? My dislike of the soundtrack is probably similar to my inability to enjoy the music of Aphex Twin, even though he's an acclaimed artist and a big inspiration for some of my favourite bands and albums (i.e. Kid A-era Radiohead). That style of electronic music just doesn't move me. And I saw Drive at the cinema and thought it was a good but not great film; first 45 minutes or so is really dull, and Carey Mulligan looks so out of place and the dynamic between her and Gosling felt extremely forced and stiff. Kill Bill is another film I consider good but not great. So based on that, there's no reason why I should expect to like Hotline Miami, except that I like good games.

I do not have a problem with violence in video games. I do, however, expect a little bit more from them, such as context or focus or atmosphere or wonderfully imagined worlds to explore. Mindless violence is all well and good I suppose - at least in video games it's harmless. But it can't sustain an entire game, at least not for me. To that extent, I agree with the OP, and support his initial post. I do not wish to comment on misogyny.

#255 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

The point you keep missing every time you make a new comment is that simply because you don't find it enjoyable doesn't make it a bad game, and it certainly doesn't make the people who do enjoy it bad people. You seriously should step down from your high horse and see things from a perspective that isn't as skewed as your own. The fact that it is gory is not detrimental to anyone or the gaming community in general, despite what you attempt to make it out to be. And no matter what you say, you cannot separate movies and games. While they are not the same, they share far too many tropes to not be compared with eachother.

For example, say you're watching a very sad movie. At the end of the movie, the main character or someone they loved dies and that is a huge event because over the span of the movie, you have formed a connection with the characters. This indicates some form of interaction, does it not? How can you then say that you cannot compare the game in question to movies like Kill Bill and such movies? They share enough characteristics, do they not? Your arguments at this point are just incredibly petty and you do nothing to help back them.

Also, this last part is just for me, and not really a part of the discussion but I want to know what games you do play and don't feel bad about? 99% of the games released have something in it that, according to your definition, could be viewed as a glorification of violence.

#256 Edited by Animasta (14650 posts) -

@Atlas: I'm going to say it's just not your style of game; I did the same thing with Bastion last year and there's nothing wrong with not liking a game for the style or the gameplay or whatever.

Also the excessive violence ties into the story so

However, the problem with his post was that he was inferring all sorts of shit about the reasons people were playing it as well as the story just from watching a few missions.

#257 Edited by Pr1mus (3824 posts) -

OP, you sound like this guy:

You criticize the game, the people playing it, the industry that made it and the press covering it without having played it and taken the time to understand it. You base everything on 20 minutes of footage, 15 of which in the same level that Patrick takes forever to beat.

Posts and empty criticisms like these are the real shame here.

#258 Posted by dingraha (27 posts) -

AYYYo if you check this dude's gamasutra blog he's also a passionate vegan and plays minecraft without killing 'passive' mobs and only eats vegetarian foods and made an argument about minecraft being 'ethically wrong' for having meat be a more efficiently nutritious food source than wheat bread.

IDK if this has been mentioned yet or not but yeah not really a surprise the dude's not a big fan of the game, or a surprise that he's a turd about it.

#259 Posted by Tebbit (4450 posts) -

Hotline Miami is an important game because after years of carefully plotted and paced shooters, in which the developers are engineering their game to mould your experience to perfection, with slowly escalating set-pieces straight out of a film - here is a game that runs counter to all of that. It's fast, dark, mean, ruthless, awfully violent, has a blistering soundtrack and an incandescent visual style that is equal parts unique, unapologetically nostalgic and vibrant. There is no flair to the violence, it is raw, immediate and stark. The developer isn't trying to push you through a story, they are offering you a series of levels in which you have to kill dozens of people for bad reasons. You aren't the hero.

It's just so different from what has been offered over the last 10 years or so, it's not a homogenised piece of entertainment - it actually is a murder-simulator, presented in enough of a detached way that it isn't just violence for violence's sake, your murdering is actually quite grim - poignant, if you will.

It's also a fucking blast to play.

#260 Posted by casper_ (901 posts) -

i wasn't outraged by this game but i was pretty put off by the style/attitude/murder simulation.

but whatever there are plenty of pulpy movies out there that are in bad taste and they have their own unique bad tasty value to them.

#261 Posted by DrPockets000 (2859 posts) -

Wow, your mom must have been REALLY uptight about M rated games in the house when you were younger.

#262 Posted by murisan (1119 posts) -

Oi, cunt, someone is submitting your trash to Reddit. You're disgracing the website. Fuck off.

#263 Posted by BitterAlmond (401 posts) -

@gaminghooligan said:

@Animasta said:

and when you finish a level, and the music changes, you realize that you just murdered all of those people for no real good reason and it makes you feel guilty.

it's true. it's one of the few games where I go from the high of finishing a level to feeling like a total piece of shit for what I did.

This is an integral part of the game and its story. It's not just a game, it's art. You're meant to feel bad at the end of every level.

#264 Edited by Ghostiet (5229 posts) -

@Atlas: Problem is, you're not really agreeing with the OP. DevWil blasts the game on a false basis of it glorifying violence and having very little substance, misinterpreting the portrayal of a female character, while disregarding its influences (especially the fact that Hotline Miami is basically Drive: The Movie) and deeper meaning (that it is a critique of people excited by the violence and the growing excitement for violence - something that the Bombcrew paid attention to during the last E3) despite people around him explaining to him why Hotline Miami gets so much hype.

You're main problem is that you don't dig the atmosphere, which is a crucial part of enjoying the game. And that's fine. Art and entertainment isn't supposed to appeal to everyone, contrary to what suits try to tell us every day.

And hell, now, when the OP allegedly played the game, he's using the argument of "it didn't appeal to me" to legitimize his rant. Which really makes me want to leave this thread, and we all should - after all, he wrote a piece about Minecraft being unethical on the basis of not following the efficiency charts of wheat bread and red meat. This is what's baffling, it's an attempt at raising the medium to true art, thinking that true art has to be analyzed in outrageous ways. It's not the "Death of the Author" phenomenon, it's brain death.

This is not analysis. Not anymore. It's acting like a Roger Ebert figure, trying to prove that Super Mario Bros. is a commentary on communism. Or a gigantic circle jerk, where people who can't think have thoughts, which they write down, even though they can't write, so people who can't read can agree with them.

#265 Posted by Nadril (524 posts) -

@jakob187 said:

@Voidoid said:

@DevWil said:

If you take out the violence of the game, it ceases to be fun

I seriously doubt that. It seems to me it is the intense high-risk tactical gameplay experience that is fun.

DING DING DING DING! WE HAVE A WINNER, FOLKS!

The violence is merely that: violence. It's the gamer side of us that loves to see violence in our video games (ya know, rather than committing violence in real life). The thing that makes the game FUN is how tight, concise, and millisecond-reaction-driven the gameplay is. Getting through a full level in one full sweep without a death is a seriously rewarding feeling. The violence itself is just icing on the cake, the part where we say "hey, I executed that guy...and he is totally cut in fucking half". That's all.

I'm actually going to somewhat disagree with this. I fucking loved the game (big surprise of 2012 for me), and I feel like the Violence was really important to it.

There is a lot to Hotline Miami other than just the actual gameplay. I think it's one of the few games that doesn't glorify the violence, and actually makes you feel really fucking weird about it.

I mean, in most games when you beat a level or mission it's a nice, cinematic ending or at the least a victory tune. It pumps you up about beating it. In Hotline Miami it does no such thing. In fact, it puts this awkward static silence up and makes you walk back to your car and look at what you did. Most violent games don't make you look at what you did. Generally during the violence you are pumped up because of the epic score going on and are just trying to get through the level. It never takes a second look at it.

Imagine if in Call of Duty after you do this huge fight with the enemy the music suddenly goes silent and you have to walk back to your convoy, and look at all of the death and destruction you caused. What if, instead of a bunch of hi-fives and celebration it was just a somber walk back, reminding you how fucked it actually was.

Hotline Miami does that, and it does it well. You don't really pay attention to the ultra violence because you have this soundtrack leading you on (plus, it's addictive, fast paced nature). The silence in this game is one of the weirdest feelings, it's hard to explain.

At any rate I don't think the game would be the same without the violence.

#266 Posted by Dragonmaw (1 posts) -

Wow.

Saying Hotline Miami glorifies violence is like saying Trainspotting glorifies heroin.

#267 Edited by InfiniteStateMachine (215 posts) -

Wow what a terribly written article. But gamasutra has been slowly heading that way over the years. I guess they have a mandate to get more hits so they let their editorials be run by pundits.

I bet this game really pisses off DevWil

http://www.kongregate.com/games/raitendo/passage-in-10-seconds?acomplete=passage

EDIT : Just looked at the other articles posted by the author. Basically the Bill Oreilly of the game editorial world. Just says things to get a reaction.:

Minecraft is Unrealistic and Unethical

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DevinWilson/20111210/90780/Minecraft_is_Unrealistic_and_Unethical.php

#268 Posted by Shrimpy (96 posts) -

My only problem with Miami Hotline was that it's way too short.

#269 Posted by aurahack (2265 posts) -
#270 Posted by GetEveryone (4455 posts) -

@crcruz3 said:

@GetEveryone said:

@DevWil said:

If someone wants to send me a copy of Hotline Miami on Steam, I promise I'll play it before the end of January 2013 (I'm busy) and write a review of it.

Um...

This goes for me, too, guys.

Yup, I'm really against the depiction of violence in this game, and intend on writing a thesis on my reasoning behind it.

So, if someone would just go ahead and buy me it on Steam, that'd be great.

Definitely don't want to just play it.

Nope.

Disclaimer: I totally do.

I bought a pre-order on Steam, after playing 10 hours I thought: this is great and I've telling my friends so but this fucking morons are all over XCOM and Borderlands 2 and are not going to play it! So I bought 3 more copies and gifted to them. Two of them are loving it and the other is still playing the shit out of XCOM and hasn't even installed it.

P.D.: I've played 180 hs of Borderlands 2 and almost 40 hs of XCOM. Love them both.

P.D.: Hahah, as I write this Steam notifies me that my friend that hasn't installed the game is connected to XCOM!

Pfft, if your friend isn't interested, tell him there's a sorry soul out there desperate to play it and to send it my way.

Some people, eh!

#271 Posted by jayc4life (111 posts) -

I've been through 3 playthroughs of this game, and 6 pages of this thread, and I've come to the stark realisation that Hotline Miami is EXACTLY like DEFCON.

You're supposed to feel repulsed by the level of violence, the absurdity of the killings, and the phenomenal bodycount you're racking up. You're supposed to feel like a bad person for playing it. It's part of the design.

The only way to "win" as such, is to not pick up the phone, and not to play.

#272 Posted by coaxmetal (1580 posts) -

this game is actually really good, theres more to it that just a murder simulator (but its also a great one of those). The gameplay is super demanding, music is great, visuals are good, story is... weird.

#273 Edited by DevWil (842 posts) -

@InfiniteStateMachine said:

Wow what a terribly written article. But gamasutra has been slowly heading that way over the years. I guess they have a mandate to get more hits so they let their editorials be run by pundits.

I bet this game really pisses off DevWil

http://www.kongregate.com/games/raitendo/passage-in-10-seconds?acomplete=passage

I don't work for Gamasutra. They have user blogs just like Giant Bomb.

The game you've linked to doesn't piss me off. It doesn't bother me at all, because it left out a lot of why Passage is effective. I don't think the creator of this parody paid very close attention to Jason Rohrer's game.

Now, let me reiterate: I've played Part One of Hotline Miami and I stand by everything I argued. It's honestly a matter of volume. Most of the game experience is this bloody, brutal action experience that the designers ask you to engage in over and over with (in my opinion) insufficient context.

#274 Posted by Animasta (14650 posts) -

@DevWil: you are repulsed by the ultra violence and that's fine whatever (although counterstrike is fine because of reasons), but the insufficient context is part of the point.

Though honestly I don't know why I'm bothering, you've ignored all of my arguments to date.

#275 Edited by Ghostiet (5229 posts) -

@DevWil said:

The game you've linked to doesn't piss me off. It doesn't bother me at all, because it left out a lot of why Passage is effective. I don't think the creator of this parody paid very close attention to Jason Rohrer's game.

These sentences are super hilarious, considering what you are doing here. Prolonging this discussion is pointless, since you refuse to acknowledge the validity of any point, despite thorough analyses by other users pointing out that you might be at least partially wrong. Hell, you played Part One of the game just to conclude that you are in the right because you failed to see the appeal without explaining why, which really just sounds like you don't want to admit defeat. Hell, someone posted the ending that bluntly hammers in Hotline Miami's mockery of current violent trends in video games and the growing desensitization to gore and violence. And yet you're still yammering about it glorifying violence and not giving sufficient context to being analyzed as a mockery/condemnation.

It's like saying that hippos don't exist, being given a detailed description with photos, then going to the zoo, seeing one's ass because it happened to sleep and then proclaiming that you are still right about them not being real since you failed to see an animal fitting the description.

Have your opinions, man. Just write from a pony instead of a high horse next time.

#276 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -
@aurahack said:
Perfect.
#277 Edited by DevWil (842 posts) -

I've watched the ending now. It only makes me feel more strongly about what I said, but I don't have the context of the preceding content (which is why I didn't want to watch it in the first place).

I haven't ignored anybody. I've read every comment (except for one that was very long-winded and tangential... sorry) and responded to the things I felt needed to be commented on. Almost everything else has been name calling or misunderstandings of what I actually said. Much of the rest beyond that has been arguments that didn't impress me for one reason or another. I don't have to agree with anybody in this thread, just like none of you have to agree with me.

I'm still waiting for someone to prove me wrong about the misogyny, and I still contend that the game spends too much time rewarding your violence for it to effectively be commenting on it. I mean, the game ostensibly really wants me to do these things (they're necessary for completing the game). If it actually doesn't want me to do these things, then apparently I've played the game better than anybody who has finished it.

I think Hotline Miami–at best-tries to have its cake (violence) and eat it (condemn it) too. The way the game is structured, I don't think it pulls it off. I personally made a game (called Forgiveness... look it up if you like) in which you do something violent and then (hopefully) come to regret it. The difference is that I don't turn around and ask you to do it again for no good fictional reason.

I'm probably going to write some sort of follow-up blog, but I honestly think I've been pretty clear thus far.

This might be my last comment. I'll keep an eye on the thread for a little longer, but I think I've said what I want to say.

#278 Posted by Gaff (1661 posts) -

@BRNK said:

While it seems most of you could care less, here's a little context for why I feel has a fair point. (Even if his consequent arguments got a bit misguided.) It's from professionals who know what they're talking about, even.

http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2003/10/anderson.aspx

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/06/violent-video-games.aspx

June 7, 2010
Violent Video Games May Increase Aggression in Some But Not Others, Says New Research
Bad effects depend on certain personality traits; games can offer learning opportunities for others.
WASHINGTON – Playing violent video games can make some adolescents more hostile, particularly those who are less agreeable, less conscientious and easily angered. But for others, it may offer opportunities to learn new skills and improve social networking.

I think the scientific field calls this a "lack of consensus", or "warrants further research".

Oh, and of course, a direct link to the study referenced in the press release (http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/gpr-14-2-82.pdf).

#279 Edited by Animasta (14650 posts) -

@DevWil: arguments that don't impress you, huh? I like that turn of phrase, whenver I make a super controversial blog post I'll just ignore everyone with salient points and say "that argument didn't impress me", it's genius.

Fine, you don't like ultra violence but you have also portrayed people who do like the game for ANY REASON as enjoying the extreme gore and enjoying the ultra violence. That's super insulting and judgemental as shit.

edit; listen go play Nier or Spec Ops, they're doing the exact same thing as this does (making you feel guilty about playing it) but it also isn't as "abstract" and violent so maybe you'll see where people are coming from (PROBABLY NOT but whatever)

#280 Posted by Winternet (8008 posts) -

Some people like a certain videogame, other's don't. So . . . what is it you're talking about?

#281 Posted by crcruz3 (254 posts) -

@GetEveryone said:

@crcruz3 said:

@GetEveryone said:

@DevWil said:

If someone wants to send me a copy of Hotline Miami on Steam, I promise I'll play it before the end of January 2013 (I'm busy) and write a review of it.

Um...

This goes for me, too, guys.

Yup, I'm really against the depiction of violence in this game, and intend on writing a thesis on my reasoning behind it.

So, if someone would just go ahead and buy me it on Steam, that'd be great.

Definitely don't want to just play it.

Nope.

Disclaimer: I totally do.

I bought a pre-order on Steam, after playing 10 hours I thought: this is great and I've telling my friends so but this fucking morons are all over XCOM and Borderlands 2 and are not going to play it! So I bought 3 more copies and gifted to them. Two of them are loving it and the other is still playing the shit out of XCOM and hasn't even installed it.

P.D.: I've played 180 hs of Borderlands 2 and almost 40 hs of XCOM. Love them both.

P.D.: Hahah, as I write this Steam notifies me that my friend that hasn't installed the game is connected to XCOM!

Pfft, if your friend isn't interested, tell him there's a sorry soul out there desperate to play it and to send it my way.

Some people, eh!

As far as I can see on Steam he has installed it and not played. XCOM it's ruining his life...

#282 Edited by Gaff (1661 posts) -

@DevWil:

And it might be somewhat anti-feminist judging from this line of the Rock, Paper, Shotgun review: “There’s even a strange vein of sweetness, as a female presence introduced into the player’s apartment in an early mission sees it gradually evolve from dingy cesspit to clean, decorated home.”
Yes. How sweet. A female presence cleaning and decorating a home.

Your train of thought:

  • An apartment is a dingy cesspit;
  • A female presence is introduced;
  • The apartment is turned into a clean, decorated home;
  • Ergo, female presence has cleaned and decorated the house.

The act of cleaning is never shown, the female (as far as I've gotten) is never portrayed as acting the stereotypical housewife role, there hasn't been any explanation why or how the apartment got cleaned. Simply put: there are more ways to skin a cat (again, the violence angle). Just like how a wet pavement can mean that it has rained, it can also mean that your next door neighbour has dumped a bucket of water on the pavement; city services cleaned the pavement; etc. etc.

Of course, I can't let this slide without parodying the more extreme feminists: The fact that you associate a clean house with a female presence is in itself a perpetuation of gender stereotypes and politics, and as a man, you are maintaining the patriarchy, despite white knighting perceived misogyny. Isn't preposterous that a man has to call out these inequalities? Aren't women strong enough to voice their own opinions?

I personally made a game (called Forgiveness... look it up if you like) in which you do something violent and then (hopefully) come to regret it. The difference is that I don't turn around and ask you to do it again for no good fictional reason.

http://www.kongregate.com/games/devwil/forgivenessInteresting. Cute even.

Though by clearly labeling the victim on the left screen as female, I think you're, again, perpetuating misogyny. Even worse, the entire message of the game ("Violence begets Violence") will never be conveyed to the player if the violence isn't exercised on the female (her movements having been programmed to match the assailant exact movements). Games are an interactive medium, the message being relayed through interactions with the player. I, the player, find violence against women abhorrent, therefore not interacting with your game, therefore not receiving the message you intended to impart on the player.

Also, my train of thought:

  • female's movement mirrors the assailant;
  • Ergo, the female is an associate of the assailant;
  • the assailant is attacking the male;
  • the female is an associate of the assailant;
  • Ergo, the female is attacking the male;

Also, what kind of propaganda is this?

  • The assailant is clearly associated with anarchism (Ⓐ);
  • The female is associated with the assailant;
  • Ergo, the female is associated with anarchism;
  • Anarchism holds the state (or the idea of a state) as undesirable, and, as exemplified by the assailant, is willing to use violence to achieve the abolishment of the state;
  • Ergo, the female is an enemy of the state and by their sheer hostility, should be excluded from the state;

I find this horribly offensive, especially since the citizens of the United States of America are about to choose a new president. Whatever happened to the land of the free? "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."?

#283 Posted by crcruz3 (254 posts) -

@Tebbit said:

Hotline Miami is an important game because after years of carefully plotted and paced shooters, in which the developers are engineering their game to mould your experience to perfection, with slowly escalating set-pieces straight out of a film - here is a game that runs counter to all of that. It's fast, dark, mean, ruthless, awfully violent, has a blistering soundtrack and an incandescent visual style that is equal parts unique, unapologetically nostalgic and vibrant. There is no flair to the violence, it is raw, immediate and stark. The developer isn't trying to push you through a story, they are offering you a series of levels in which you have to kill dozens of people for bad reasons. You aren't the hero.

It's just so different from what has been offered over the last 10 years or so, it's not a homogenised piece of entertainment - it actually is a murder-simulator, presented in enough of a detached way that it isn't just violence for violence's sake, your murdering is actually quite grim - poignant, if you will.

It's also a fucking blast to play.

I see now: this post was necessary...

The result are many passionate, beautiful and intelligent reviews (like @Tebbit's here) of a great game generated by poor one.

I find it poor not because of this guy not liking the game and judging the violence grotesque and unnecessary, but for him preaching on the whole industry and being ashamed for us players who enjoy this kind of game. I'm 37 and I don't need any kid to tell me what is appropriate or not for me to play or like.

Sorry for my english, as you can see (read) it's not my mother tongue...

#284 Posted by crcruz3 (254 posts) -

@Ghostiet said:

@Atlas: Problem is, you're not really agreeing with the OP. DevWil blasts the game on a false basis of it glorifying violence and having very little substance, misinterpreting the portrayal of a female character, while disregarding its influences (especially the fact that Hotline Miami is basically Drive: The Movie) and deeper meaning (that it is a critique of people excited by the violence and the growing excitement for violence - something that the Bombcrew paid attention to during the last E3) despite people around him explaining to him why Hotline Miami gets so much hype.

You're main problem is that you don't dig the atmosphere, which is a crucial part of enjoying the game. And that's fine. Art and entertainment isn't supposed to appeal to everyone, contrary to what suits try to tell us every day.

And hell, now, when the OP allegedly played the game, he's using the argument of "it didn't appeal to me" to legitimize his rant. Which really makes me want to leave this thread, and we all should - after all, he wrote a piece about Minecraft being unethical on the basis of not following the efficiency charts of wheat bread and red meat. This is what's baffling, it's an attempt at raising the medium to true art, thinking that true art has to be analyzed in outrageous ways. It's not the "Death of the Author" phenomenon, it's brain death.

This is not analysis. Not anymore. It's acting like a Roger Ebert figure, trying to prove that Super Mario Bros. is a commentary on communism. Or a gigantic circle jerk, where people who can't think have thoughts, which they write down, even though they can't write, so people who can't read can agree with them.

Brilliant.

#285 Posted by Gaff (1661 posts) -

@Ghostiet: I think you're thinking of Armond White.

#286 Posted by Ghostiet (5229 posts) -

@Gaff said:

@Ghostiet: I think you're thinking of Armond White.

His name escaped me, thanks. Ebert also fits, though, since he is famously incapable of admitting he's wrong and often dismisses things he doesn't understand, which was the case with his whole "video games will not be art" rant, where he tried to quantify "art" in a very binary way, similarly to what DevWil attempts to do with his interpretation of HM's female character. His apology to gamers after playing a game was also pretty much a patronizing slight.

#287 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

I think people should realise that there's a basic intellectual dishonesty in posts like the OP. Without having played a game, it's impossible to talk with authority about the nuances of what happens in it. That's doubly true when a game has something to say about an innately nuanced topic, such as the role of violence in media. Even if you come back later and say 'oh well I played it and it was exactly like I expected it to be', it's already too late - your credibility is shot to pieces. People know that your initial arguments were born out of ignorant emotion, rather than informed experience, so it's more than likely you will continue to argue in that vein in order to protect your ego. As said, this was exactly what Ebert did in the 'games as art' spat. This kind of rant doesn't constitute an argument worth responding to, it's just a bit of playground bellyaching for attention's sake.

FWIW I was deeply impressed by Hotline Miami. It revels in its violence and repugnance in order to draw attention to just how violent and repugnant it is. Personally I think this kind of game is a better vehicle than film for demonstrating the cognitive dissonance involved in this kind of entertainment, since the retro graphics create a degree of emotional detachment from the brutality. What's going on is still graphic and ugly enough to create an oppressive feel-bad atmosphere - not many games use vomit as successfully as HM, for example - but not realistic enough to detract from what is essentially a highly enjoyable bit of gratuitous catharsis. Contrast that with a film like, say, Funny Games, which to me holds little more than just repugnant scenes; if I sympathise with the message of that movie, which I do, I sort of have no reason to watch it in the first place. Hotline Miami, on the other hand, continues to be fun.

I also want to point out how successful HM is in the way it paints its psychological picture, shortlived though it is. The little interstitial vignettes between levels, of mundane visits to the shops, are great. At first they're jarring because they contrast so heavily with the hyperviolence of the levels. Then they're faintly reassuring, because they represent a basic human side to your murderous character. Then finally they become part of the overall atmosphere of unsettling mental degradation - unwelcoming, surreal and depopulated. Really smart.

#288 Posted by InfiniteStateMachine (215 posts) -

@DevWil said:

@InfiniteStateMachine said:

Wow what a terribly written article. But gamasutra has been slowly heading that way over the years. I guess they have a mandate to get more hits so they let their editorials be run by pundits.

I bet this game really pisses off DevWil

http://www.kongregate.com/games/raitendo/passage-in-10-seconds?acomplete=passage

I don't work for Gamasutra. They have user blogs just like Giant Bomb.

The game you've linked to doesn't piss me off. It doesn't bother me at all, because it left out a lot of why Passage is effective. I don't think the creator of this parody paid very close attention to Jason Rohrer's game.

Your Minecraft blog said "featured blog". Which is why Imade that comment. The gamasutra going downhill thing isn't just because of you.

As for Passage I've noticed your responses to various criticisms are frequently along the lines of "You just don't see what i see so I'm going to dismiss you". With no further (or even initial) elaboration. Hence why I make the pundit comparisons.

I guess everyone but you in the game world simply isn't enlightened or intelligent enough to see what you see.

#289 Posted by gatob (8 posts) -

DevWil,

Explain to me why I can play all these violent video games, and yet I still cringe when seeing violence & gore in movies?

Saying that violent video games are "glorifying violence" & "makes us look sociopathics", is like saying that Dance/Club music is promoting drugs use & making us look like heavy cocaine users.

Your whole argument skirts around the any real issue, and deals with YOUR moral hang-ups based around a reality that DOESN'T EXIST!!

The game knows EXACTLY what it is, but it's your hyper sensitivity to the subjects at hand that cause your utter refusal to engage with it in any "real" way.

Instead you toss it into the "immoral" bin... along with everyone who has enjoyed it.

#290 Posted by voltronadactylsaurusrex (69 posts) -

The game does have a story though, It's just told in a non-linear way. You would have to literally play the game multiple times to understand what is going on. So play the game first and understand what is happening in the story before you write it off.

#291 Posted by jillsandwich (762 posts) -

You are kind of the worst.

#292 Edited by Deusx (1903 posts) -

Wait, so you only play E rated games or what? Your life must be boring man. Violence in video games, movies, and every other media is a fact you have to live with. It's part of human nature, whether you let it get to you is up to your own mental health. Hey man guess what, I live in one of the most dangerous countries in the world, violence is a part of my life 24/7 and I still can play violent video games, watch gory movies, and read Stephen King books. Why? Because I can't let violence rule my life and what I can watch, do, or say. If it has suggestive themes, so what?, that's part of life. Just don't let that get to you.

#293 Posted by Indiana_Jenkins (383 posts) -

OP, after 15 pages of back and forth, I've come to profound realization.

You are right.

This game is an embarrassment to the industry and a danger to society. This one game exposes video games as manipulative tools created by the devil himself, designed to bring about the downfall of society.

That's it guys.

Video games are over as they are too dangerous.

Take your game collection and burn it. Throw your gaming PC through the window of your local Goodwill, attach fireworks to your PS3 and then light it, donate your Xbox to science, and use your Wii as a fancy paperweight (kind of like before).

From this point on you're going to have to do something useful and moral with your life. I recommend joining a co-ed roller derby league.

Oh, and to the last person out, remember to shut down Giant Bomb.

#294 Posted by MoonwalkSA (420 posts) -

@DevWil: Okay, look, I doubt you'll listen to this since you haven't actually listened to any other good arguments in this thread, but the entire point of the game is to make the player question what they are doing and why they enjoy what they do. It is the core of the experience. The fact that the violent parts of the game are fun to play is not just incidental, it's fucking essential. If the player doesn't lose themselves in the enjoyment of the experience to some degree, then the critical question of the game falls flat, and that question is asked more or less directly at you by a developer stand-in at the end of the game through a series of conversation options:

(paraphrasing) "Did you have fun? Do you need a reason for doing what you did if you had fun? Did we make you do it, or did you choose to?"

Hotline Miami's story does absolutely nothing if not ask the player to examine the violence of their own actions, and you don't even need to get to the end to see strong elements of that - the ending is just one of the most obvious. People have been over it in this thread already, but the intermission segments question the player's actions outright, and even the soundtrack cues are oriented towards bringing people up to a high during the gameplay and suddenly snapping them back down when it's done. It even forces you to walk back through all the carnage that you created, rather than despawning bodies when reloading an area like other games, specifically to prompt that kind of self-reflection. To try to associate "fun" with simple adjectives like "good" and "positive" without examining the context or purpose of that fun is an incredibly shallow reading and is detrimental to your critical analysis of any piece of media, whether it's literature, music, film, games, or whatever else. To then assert that violence is being portrayed positively because that violence is fun is a completely absurd argument, as though artistic works are somehow governed by the transitive property.

Put simply, the reason so many people are praising Hotline Miami so heavily is because it is an art game with a very well-crafted aesthetic that also manages to have a foundation of strong gameplay. Incredibly few games manage to succeed in both of those areas, and that combination could even be considered the ideal goal for a lot of game designers.

Obviously not everyone will play it for the artistic aspects, and obviously not everyone will enjoy the gameplay, because different people enjoy different things and not everyone is as into art as other people. But that doesn't really negate the fact that for the people who are into it, it seriously fucking works in a way that very few games manage to. And even for those that aren't quite as into one aspect or the other, it might still have something for them to appreciate. I'm not even asking you to enjoy the game, here, because it's reasonable that you might not. But at least reconsider trying to critically analyze something that you've completely misunderstood, or by your own admission have not even tried to understand.

#295 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5808 posts) -

@DevWil said:

I've watched the ending now. It only makes me feel more strongly about what I said, but I don't have the context of the preceding content (which is why I didn't want to watch it in the first place).

I haven't ignored anybody. I've read every comment (except for one that was very long-winded and tangential... sorry) and responded to the things I felt needed to be commented on. Almost everything else has been name calling or misunderstandings of what I actually said. Much of the rest beyond that has been arguments that didn't impress me for one reason or another. I don't have to agree with anybody in this thread, just like none of you have to agree with me.

I'm still waiting for someone to prove me wrong about the misogyny, and I still contend that the game spends too much time rewarding your violence for it to effectively be commenting on it. I mean, the game ostensibly really wants me to do these things (they're necessary for completing the game). If it actually doesn't want me to do these things, then apparently I've played the game better than anybody who has finished it.

I think Hotline Miami–at best-tries to have its cake (violence) and eat it (condemn it) too. The way the game is structured, I don't think it pulls it off. I personally made a game (called Forgiveness... look it up if you like) in which you do something violent and then (hopefully) come to regret it. The difference is that I don't turn around and ask you to do it again for no good fictional reason.

I'm probably going to write some sort of follow-up blog, but I honestly think I've been pretty clear thus far.

This might be my last comment. I'll keep an eye on the thread for a little longer, but I think I've said what I want to say.

maybe it would help if you pointed out a real instance of misogyny in the game first.

#296 Posted by frankfartmouth (1016 posts) -

There doesn't have to be some overarching, socially responsible point to the violence, like Schindler's List or something. The OP rails against violence and points out a very flimsy example of sexism in the game, but never states exactly why playing a violent game for the sake of it is so wrong. He just continually repeats that its violence for the sake of violence and nothing more, and therefore he's not going to play it, and many of the responses are people trying to show that there is indeed some point to the violence. Not really. For the most part he's right, the violence is part of the aesthetic and not much more. But why's that a problem? He just assumes that it is. I've been imbibing media violence for over 30 years now, and it hasn't done anything to me but entertain me. And if you're going to get into arguments about crime statistics, the violent crime rate has been steadily going down for over 20 years, blah blah blah.

Hotline Miami is fun, creative, splashy, and over the top. What's not to like? If you have to analyze everything that's fun like this, then I honestly feel kind of sorry for you.

#297 Posted by Cheesebob (1232 posts) -

Violence for Violence's sake in a game seems preferable to me than having some vague point to why the 'good' guy is smashing people's brains out

#298 Edited by MuttersomeTaxicab (667 posts) -

@DevWil said:

I've watched the ending now. It only makes me feel more strongly about what I said, but I don't have the context of the preceding content (which is why I didn't want to watch it in the first place).

I haven't ignored anybody. I've read every comment (except for one that was very long-winded and tangential... sorry) and responded to the things I felt needed to be commented on. Almost everything else has been name calling or misunderstandings of what I actually said. Much of the rest beyond that has been arguments that didn't impress me for one reason or another. I don't have to agree with anybody in this thread, just like none of you have to agree with me.

I'm still waiting for someone to prove me wrong about the misogyny, and I still contend that the game spends too much time rewarding your violence for it to effectively be commenting on it. I mean, the game ostensibly really wants me to do these things (they're necessary for completing the game). If it actually doesn't want me to do these things, then apparently I've played the game better than anybody who has finished it.

I think Hotline Miami–at best-tries to have its cake (violence) and eat it (condemn it) too. The way the game is structured, I don't think it pulls it off. I personally made a game (called Forgiveness... look it up if you like) in which you do something violent and then (hopefully) come to regret it. The difference is that I don't turn around and ask you to do it again for no good fictional reason.

I'm probably going to write some sort of follow-up blog, but I honestly think I've been pretty clear thus far.

This might be my last comment. I'll keep an eye on the thread for a little longer, but I think I've said what I want to say.

Hello. I don't even know if you're still reading this thread, but I might as well give this a shot. I'm not going to call you wrong for your assessment of Hotline Miami (I absolutely disagree with it, but that's another thing.)

I do think there's an issue with your methodology here.

If, as you say, you consider games to be serious artifacts that demand critique and serious consideration, do they not require the same close attention and allowance for ambiguities and disjunctures that, say, someone doing a close reading of literature or film would allow? Now, before you jump to your "VIDEO GAMES ARE NOT BOOKS OR MOVIES NO NO NO NO" argument, let me clarify, because I understand where you're coming from (although it's a little too easy to use that to disregard hundreds of years of criticism that could prove fruitful. People like Bogost made that claim as loud as they did in an attempt to allow video games criticism a little more breathing room in academe.) I'm not saying they need to be read as film or novel. What I'm saying is: if you profess to want to have meaningful critique of video games, inherent in that position is a sentiment that video games produce meaning - regardless of their content. Which is to say, regardless of what you find distasteful about the content, condemning/dismissing any game as "just violence" is largely counterintuitive to the point that you want games to be taken seriously. Even if all the designers wanted to do was create a murder simulator (a good chunk of the people in this thread would disagree with that, but whatever) there's a certain ambiguity about their treatment of violence that is largely absent from most other hyperviolent games. In its extremity, there's a certain self-reflexivity that begs the question "is this what you want, you filthy animals?" Perhaps it hews a little too close to the perennial "murder simulator" that Jack Thompson worried his hands into knots over? Doesn't something like that demand a closer look? Doesn't your abject loathing of the product bear reflection?

You appear to be satisfied with the way you've articulated your argument, but the way it comes across is:

- You have a set of slightly more conservative values when it comes to violence in video games (nothing wrong with that)

- You noticed heaps of praise being laid at Hotline Miami's feet.

- The game contravened some of your personal taboos

- You suggested that this was a case for why games haven't grown up (with subtle notes of "marketing is dumb" - also a fair point.)

- You then hopped on a few public soapboxes and let fly your views (also totally legit.)

The problem is, this isn't criticism. It's pontificating. It's idealizing what you think games should be, and expecting every game to follow suit. If this is indeed your position, you're not taking games seriously at all. You're taking the potential for games seriously and are impatient for some utopian world where Jane McGonigal and legions of hippies make gardening simulators that simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and fix the economy.

Where talking about films and novels helps is that they are genres that have decades (in some cases, centuries) of critical history. And the one thing that they both have in common is an emphasis on close readings of the texts. This is to say, there's a tension between granular details and taking a holistic view of the text (in this case, a game.) This requires giving serious weight to the other elements in the developer's corpus as well as perhaps some consideration of the intertextual dialogue at work (which can and always is multi-genre, as American Psycho and Drive are obvious cultural touchstones for Hotline Miami and neither are used as simple window-dressing.) This requires playing the game and noting not only the basic mechanics the player is required to execute, but how they're different from other games, considering little things like "why does the pulsing soundtrack stop after everyone is dead?" "what does this game have to say about flow?" This also requires that you play through a reasonable length of the game. You were extremely ambiguous about how far you actually played as, "to the end of the first part" doesn't mean a lot. Do you mean to the end of the first Chapter? If that's the case, you've not even touched the game.

And, yes, it's possible that, to you, Hotline Miami would be better if it were shorter. I suppose that's a fair point, but what happens when something like that stretches on for as long as it does? In my experience, I found that the longer the game went on, the more gruelling and nightmarish it seemed. While the mission-to-mission mechanics were desensitizing and produced a reasonably endless state of flow, the more I felt hypersensitized afterwards. The fact that it demands endurance is worth a look, rather than to be codified into evidence that the designers only wanted to glorify murder.

Or, hell, a minute-by-minute analysis of the game and why it absolutely disgusts you. What does this say about the game? Also, (and perhaps more important to that critique) what does it say about you? Yeah, it'll be damn uncomfortable. Yeah, it'll probably force you to get off a pretty comfy moral high ground and get your hands dirty. Yeah, you don't want to do these things. I get it. It's hard to do that stuff, especially if you don't want to. But if games are serious business, then you need to take all of them seriously - not just the ones that make you feel good about taking them seriously. And concomitant to that, you also need to examine why you believe what you believe and maybe challenge some of your own viewpoints. You've certainly hung around this thread and have put forward a general effort towards a sort of debate (even if it does appear that you're staunchly unchanging in your views, but that could be a factor of this being an internet forum) which is why I'm bothering with this. However, if you're not interested in seriously critiquing games, then your opinion absolutely deserves the (heretofore reasonably unfair) derision it received.

#299 Posted by tourgen (4432 posts) -

Good for you, you found something to over react to. I'm more comfortable with hotline Miami than your self righteous rant.

#300 Posted by punkxblaze (2961 posts) -

I honestly don't get why people are treating the game like the second coming of christ, but at least I played it to come up with the opinion that it is, while unique, nothing world shattering, and didn't write up a goddamn thesis on the matter. Don't like it? Don't eat play.

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