Hotline Miami, Death and Quiet Time Coming Together

Quiet time, and for lacks of a better term, killing time are two things that don’t often come together in video games. Often killing time normally transitions into quiet time and then the two trade places once again.

But with the Hotline Miami, that transition is a little different. In most cases finishing a mission means an extraction or a warp away leaving all the carnage one has cause left behind, consigned only to memory.

But In Hotline Miami’s alternative Cold War universe there is no warp away. No helicopter to extract you from the mission area. High octane music cuts out, to be replaced be an electronic dirge and the player character must wander back through everything they left behind. The broken bodies, the pools of blood and the separated limbs.

Hotline Miami is the kind of game where you will burst into a room. The same room. Three times in the same minute. One time it’s the uzi guy that gets you. Then it’s the shotgun guy. After both the uzi guy and shotgun guy are taken out, you miss the berserker sprinting from another room with a bike chain. And then on the fourth time you nail it. It’s a satisfying feeling.

In Hotline Miami’s quiet time I feel this theme of player death (of which there is a lot of) is reinforced. As mentioned previously quiet time is the leaving behind of carnage and viscera. But Hotline Miami uses quiet time to show the player the result of violence. It is a constant reminder of the games brutality, that violence is never far away, inescapable even. A fate the player can never escape. You will end up like all these corpses at some point. Whether it is during game play or in the story you are going to end up covered in blood, lying face up gasping for life after a shotgun shell slams into your chest, or a base ball bat leaves half of your skull in a great many bits. Just don’t fear that. Embrace it. It is how the game is meant to be played.

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