I’ve been dinking around with a preview build of a game called Hotline Miami, which reminds me of an ancient game I played, most likely, on the Apple IIGS. It was that long ago. I don’t recall the name. It was a top-down 2D adventure game in which you’re tasked with murdering supposedly random people because they’re actually demons who will usher in the end of the world. This means you’re basically a serial killer, but for altruistic reasons. You murder one guy by dropping studio lights on him while he’s being interviewed on a TV talk show. You murder another guy while he’s having sex. I recall top-down nudity, although that might just be how I remember it. The game — man, what was the name of that thing? — was notable for being dark and edgy at a time when most adventure games were funny and whimsical.
Anyway, Hotline Miami has the same look and sensibility. The gameplay is more action than adventure, based on using weapons to set up kills. It’s almost a stealth game for how you have to puzzle out each kill. It’s got scoring, lots of ultraviolence, a mesmerizing soundtrack, and a truly unhinged trippy sensibility reminiscent of Killer 7. You know, from back when Suda 51 was good.
Hotline Miami is out later this year, but I think the best way to get a sense of what you’re in for is to watch the above video of Hotline Miami developer Jonatan Soderstrom’s previous project, Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf. As near as I can tell, it’s technically a game, but probably best enjoyed as an awesome video that recalls the first time I had my mind blown by a Butthole Surfers album (drugs may have been involved). So for Hotline Miami, imagine that Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf video, but with thematic unity and more gameplay.