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7:24 PM on 12.10.2012

Hotline Miami - Quick Thoughts

After seeing the duo of Dennaton on an episode of Sup Holmes and playing Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf I was very interested in checking out Hotline Miami. It wasn’t until the game was on sale this weekend that I decided I should finally play it. Besides some time playing a few other games with friends my weekend consisted of Hotline Miami. I couldn't stop until it was completely over.

Hotline Miami started out rough for me. Even after the initial tutorial the controls felt weird and I wasn't even sure I was playing the game correctly. Mind you I was playing with a controller (PS3 emulating that of a wired 360 controller). After some time I started to get the hang of things. It wasn't even until the fourth chapter that I even realized how to lock on to an enemy to shoot without aiming. I was playing the game with solely melee weapons up to that point trying to sneak around as though I was a Solid Snake with a stronger lust for blood.

With each following chapter I started getting better and better. It reminded me of Super Meat Boy in that respect. Every death was teaching me something until I got to the point where I could clear the level without too much trouble. Also like Meat Boy I never got annoyed at how I was constantly dying. How could I when was being treated to awesome visuals backed by some amazing music? The animation, especially the executions which differ based on what weapon you have, are brutal and satisfying. Once I got to the point where I could start stringing together combos I felt like a complete badass. That is until the music stopped and I felt like a monster.

Part of what kept me going was the story. I don’t want to delve too deep into it but everything about it compelled to me play more. Who was leaving the messages on the answering machine? Who exactly was I killing? Why was I even murdering in the first place? The game asks us these questions and does get around to answering them in a very interesting way. It felt fresh, especially the ways the game messes with the player as things continue. I was satisfied once everything was over but I also still had some questions.

Hotline Miami was a pleasant surprise for me. This was a game I knew next to nothing about until its release which made it even more enjoyable for me. I’m already looking forward to the sequel. The game was sufficiently long but I just want more of it because I’m a greedy bastard who wants to sneak around killing some fools with awesome tunes playing.   read

3:37 PM on 12.07.2012

Gaming Déjà Vu

Recently going back through some of the 3DS games I acquired from the ambassador program I noticed The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. I loved the old Gameboy Zelda games but somehow never got around to playing this one. I remembered attempting to play the game years ago but never getting much further than the second dungeon. I attributed this to school, life or some other game coming out at the time. This kind of stuff tends to happen to myself and others who add more games to our constantly growing backlog.

I was determined to play and see the game to completion this time. Upon starting the game it felt as though I had already known what to do at certain areas. It was like a weird sense was guiding me through some parts that normally would have taken me longer. I attributed this to being an older, wiser, and more experienced gamer. Besides, I definitely knew that I had completed the very first part of the game. It wasn’t until I got to the ice dungeon and saw the giant frozen octorok that I remembered seeing stuff before in an earlier playthrough. By the time I got to the last boss battle I was able to confirm it for myself. I didn’t remember exactly how to beat Vaati but I did remember the actual battle and the different stages he took as they were occurring. I had played and beaten the entire game before.

How could this have happened? How could I completely forget playing a game to completion that I so greatly enjoyed? I thought I would have known if I had beaten it previously before my apparently second playthrough. This wasn’t the first time this has happened to me though. Something similar happened when I decided to play Snatcher this past summer. I remember starting the game but stopping due to a saving error and impatience on my part. That was the reason I decided to return to it in the first place, to see it to completion. It wasn’t until the very last stage that again I realized I completed the game before. Like Minish Cap I actually really enjoyed Snatcher. Endings are generally what people remember most about everything from books, movies, and games. You would think the endings to these great games would stay with me much like the many of the other games I enjoyed.

After initially seeing this as something bad I actually found it to be potentially awesome. Who wouldn’t want to go back to a great game with little replayability beyond the first playthrough? Games with strong story elements would also be fun to return to if it seemed as though it were your first time playing it. You could see everything with fresh eyes. Something like Earthbound, Bioshock could potentially have the same magic they did the first time you played them.

What games have you experienced a sort of déjà vu with? What games would you like to experience free of any memories to bring back the initial magic of the first playthrough?   read

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