violence

Hotline Miami Review: Indie Games

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I may be a bit late on this one, but i recently picked up this great title on the recent STEAM sale and couldn’t put my controller down. This game in particular stands alone among many other newly released indie games. Not only hailed for its fast paced and addictive game play but for its thought-provoking idea behind the game. If you haven’t heard enough about it already, Hotline Miami is making waves in the indie gaming community. Created by Devolver Games, this top down pixelated action shooter makes quite a statement about violence in video games today and with everything that has been going on in our media lately, this is an important game to think about.

Hotline Miami Review:

It’s nostalgic graphic style, pixelated blood splatter, and trippy 80′s dance club score, create an experience unlike anything we have seen in recent years. Imagine if you could, the bastard child of Splatterhouse and Drive, with the music of John Carpenter, on a shitload of cocaine in a Miami dance club…..and that’s Hotline Miami. The look and feel are only complimented by its high-octane action and flawless game play, forcing you to eliminate every enemy on the map, using a combination of stealth and quick reactionary tactics. In all honesty, it has NEVER been this fun to be a serial killer. In my opinion it beats the shit out of GTA in the violence, challenge, and overall fun category. And when I say this game is VIOLENT, I mean it. You must tactfully use whatever means possible to dispose of your enemies, whether it’s a machete to the face, eye gauging, or even curb stomping, this game get medieval on your ass. You have a large arsenal of melee or ranged weapons to choose from and scoring better on each stage can unlock more masks or weapons. Each stage has you enter into a different building where your only mission is to kill every enemy on the screen without dying first. This sounds a lot simpler then it is. Game play can be extremely challenging, as enemy AI is quick and one hit will result in your demise, only to restart the stage dozens of times, praying for that perfect run. Though this may seem repetitive, but HLM has a way of sucking you in. Each death results in you learning something about your enemies and allows you to craft a strategy for your next run through the gauntlet. This brings me back to the old NES days of grinding through a game merely for the satisfaction of overcoming something extremely challenging. This idea couldn’t be more true then with Hotline Miami.

hotlinemia

Plot: (spoilers)

The game opens with you as a nameless character alone in your apartment confused and unaware of what to do, you hear the ringing of your telephone. A mysterious voice answers on the other end, feeding you subtle directions to your next task, which is generally inferred as a metaphor for killing everyone there. You are given different masks to choose from for each stage and each one either grants you an advantage or a handicap. Your character regularly experiences hallucinations, and you are met by three mysterious masked strangers who often question your motivations, identity, and actions. This makes for an interesting narrative, as you start to feel as though these characters are questioning YOUR motivations for blindly killing without question. As the story develops stranger things begin to happen. Your character beings to see violent imagery in his trips to different shops, you save a drug addicted prostitute, and even wind up in hospital with little knowledge of how you got there. After killing hundreds of white suited mobsters, the plot only gets more convoluted and your lead further down the proverbial rabbit hole.

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Overall:

Hotline Miami might be one of the most fun games i have ever played. It has action, great graphics, and an incredible soundtrack. If the challenging stages, fun weapons, and thumping dance beats don’t keep you coming back for more, i don’t know what will. This game has so much to offer, and frankly as soon as i started playing i was addicted. But what does that say about me? Am i addicted to violence? Are we as a society addicted? So much media in our popular culture has shed light on these questions (The Running Man, any News station, Natural Born Killers), and shows us a reflection of our reality. I don’t believe that violence in video games or movies necessarily creates violent people. I think the need for fantastical escape is pretty normal, its a playground for stable minded people. It’s those who can’t grasp reality, and perform these heinous acts of violence that cause the government and media to point fingers at the gaming industry. When in actuality it is by the hands of the individuals themselves and their free will that cause these atrocities. Maybe if we didn’t live in such a violent reality with for some, extreme societal pressures, then some people wouldn’t behave so violently. Hotline Miami, like the films above, is a contemporary satire about media violence, and any video game that can make a cerebral statement that strongly will forever make it’s mark on video game history.

Robocop Screen Prints

It’s 3am and i find myself wired on a Saturday night channel surfing only to come across one of favorite childhood blood-fests: Robocop. This movie was one that my parents never wanted me to watch, especially because of many explicitly violent gun battles. It’s funny, in the 80′s did everyone think that Detroit and Seattle would become the most crime infested, dangerous places on earth, where the criminal underbelly ran wild and plotted to destroy the established order? Apparently. Robocop was a movie with a great blend of character development, bad ass action, and hardcore violence. It was every 15 yr old’s dream come true. A lot of artists have posted Robocop screen printed posters, so here they are for your viewing pleasure:

robocop screenprint cult violence action

robocop screenprint cult violence action

robocop screenprint cult violence action

robocop screenprint cult violence action

robocop screenprint cult violence action

robocop screenprint cult violence action

oh yea and here’s the most violent scene in the movie: 

your gonna be a bad mother fucker!

Comic Review: Sweet Tooth

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Vertigo has had many amazingly gritty and off-beat titles through the years; Hellblazer, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, and V for Vendetta to name a few. The stories they put out push the boundaries of the comic book medium and create worlds we would never get the chance to experience without the talented writers they have on board. One newer release that i believe has become highly embraced by the comic book community is Sweet Tooth, written by Jeff Lemire (Animal man, Jonah Hex, Superboy).

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Sweet Tooth is a post-apocalyptic story about a boy named Gus who lives with his father in a cabin in the woods. The interesting thing about Gus is that he was born with antlers and thus opens the main mystery. Since he can remember, it has only been him and his father and that is all he knows. His father is a religious man who tells him that the world outside of the woods is dead and that there are evil people there who will harm him. Unfortunately, his father’s lunacy is not far from the truth, and we find ourselves in a torn world where people scavenged for food and survival of the fittest is king. This new world has become stricken with a plague that has wiped out most of the human population and many remaining survivors attempt to find out the cause. Eventually, Gus’s father passes from the plague, leaving him with his fathers journal alone to face the world; Gus’s curiosity of the land beyond the woods fascinates him, despite his fathers warnings of the evils that exist. His curiosity is cut short by the presence of a few men who attempt to capture Gus, they are slain by a man named Jeppard, whose sordid past has made him cold to the horrors of the new world. Jeppard deems Gus “Sweet tooth” for his candy obsession, and offers to take him along and protect him in the world outside the woods. Thus begins Gus’s journey through the wasteland and a long quest to find out what caused the plauge, where he came from, and who is Jeppard? The story takes tons of twists and turns, with a healthy amount of violent realism, and a lot of quirkiness to follow which makes it a really unique book.

Sweet Tooth is a fantastic piece of post apocalyptic fiction and fans of the genre can definitely appreciate the spin that Lemire has put on the genre. Where the story is going, I can only imagine what will happen next!

Check out issue #1 of sweet tooth here!

Syndicate Trailer: Feb 2012

Today I was pretty excited to find out (and maybe a little late on the news) that one of my favorite games from childhood will be coming out with a follow up to the SNES classic Syndicate! SYNDICATE is a cyberpunk cooperative tactical action game, that put the players in a futuristic dystopian world where corporations rule and criminal syndicates carry out the will of big business. This modernized version, released on xbox360 and PS3, is more of a first person shooter experience (as opposed to a birds eye view 3rd person style), but has taken the idea a lot further then the original. In 2012′s Syndicate, you can hack computers and even other humans who have had chips installed in their bodies and even have them do things for you (ex: commit suicide, cause distractions, kill your enemies). The action in Syndicate looks fast paced while also maintaining that tactical feel required to make it through missions like in the original. As you progress through the game breaking into your competitors technological laboratories, hacking and sneaking, you can extract chips from the heads of some important enemies, and in doing so, can utilize the technology from the chips to give your character bonuses and extra traits that will help you throughout the game. Judging by the trailer alone, the game looks pretty interesting. It has a very similar look to that of Bladerunner and the PC game Deus Ex. Being a huge fan of the original, i am certainly excited for this games release on Feb 21 2012. If your a fan of futuristic games this may peak your interest…. business is war!!!