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In the discussion over highly enjoyable-yet-confusing-as-all-hell Hotline Miami, there seem to be two distinct recurring narratives: According to the first, Hotline Miami is indeed largely another post-Bioshock game, holding the player accountable for actions his avatar must take simply in order to complete the game.1 According to the second, Hotline Miami challenges the very idea of a game narrative; the critique of game violence is there, to be sure, but the game is largely making the case for the ludologist's approach to games and systems.2 But I'm increasingly convinced that Hotline Miami isn't primarily critique of either game violence or game narrative, and I think that seeing the game in this way might tie together a lot of the disparate threads left dangling by existing interpretations.
One night, I had a dream. In this dream, I had been bound to the floor by shackles on each of my limbs. Two men were holding me down, as if to further ensure that I would never escape. There was nowhere for me to go, and it was clear that struggling for freedom was futile.
I recently completed Bioshock: Infinite, and found myself contemplating what has been certainly the most interesting game of 2013, and perhaps since the Great Disaster of 2012. Upon completion, I found myself mostly satisfied, then, as I prodded it, increasingly irritated, and then, after a night's rest, relatively settled.
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