Recently I have been playing Hotline Miami and having a blast. What is so significant about this release is how the word of mouth has spread and the mentality of development when it comes to this game. The wave of anticipation built up by this game wasn’t a Mountain Dew or Doritos sponsorship deal but the past mini prototype / experimental games by CactusSquid aka Jonatan Soderstrom. All his prior games had a punk rock fashion of creation, with small amount of time to produce, crude if it needs to be, and always aimed to have an original idea. But even if these games were only made in a couple of hours time, there were fun to play and had all the great elements to a good game like player feedback and etc. This kind of mentality is hardly seen in video games, because of the size of teams you need to produce and almost all steps of game creation are in some sense risk management. So it is refreshing to see some one say fuck all of the above and just create what they want.
Punk Rock game development is something that hasn’t been tapped or had the opportunity or venue to be brought to the masses. What publisher wants to take a risk on something that could be complete nonsense or more art than consumer product? But now with digital distribution and the internet to be the audience to your new form of art, they window is open and hopefully we can see more and more of these art / experimental games.
Hotline Miami was a make or break moment for Cactus. The first time he has spent this amount of time on just one game and selling it as a product. People who knew about him put a spotlight on this game ; questioning if they would continue to follow his developments. After playing through Hotline Miami, I think many people looking for a fun game, a crazy universe, or a commentary on games in general will find an incredible experience.