Firespite Aug 21, 2014 @ 9:33am
This Game Confused Me *SPOILERS*
I was totally confused when I played Hotline Miami the first time. I didn't understand what was going on after the protagonist goes home to find his girlfriend murdered quickly followed by his own apparent death at the hands of a hitman. He wakes up in a hospital, and if he moves too much too fast, the entire screen distorts and he stumbles in the wrong direction. All the doctors try to keep him from escaping by getting him back to his bed.

The pixel art was so hard to discern I didn't realize he had bandages on his head. He manages to escape the hospital and walks for what must be a dazed series of hours before arriving back at his apartment to find it ransacked, his car mostly destroyed, and crime scene tape everywhere. This is where the confusion came in.

Obviously quite a lot of time had passed, and as he stumbled upstairs to his room with all the chalk lines on the floor and the trash everywhere, I thought it had to have been thirty to forty years. The protagonist had been hallucinating all throughout the game, and I figured there was something seriously wrong with him, something almost inhuman. I mistook the bandages on his head for gray hair, and when he went up to his room to put his clothes and mask back on, I thought he had slipped into another hallucination. I thought he was an old man who just awoke from a coma, who was going to take up his weapons again and go after the people who had done these things to him. This notion was furthered when it became apparent putting on his old clothes and mask made the screen stop distorting and allowed him to walk straight again. He was hallucinating big time. It was his biggest hallucination yet. He was reliving the old days, thirty years ago, and he was going to drive off in his busted car as if nothing had changed. He would be wearing his old mask and no one would know he was an old man. It was almost as if he was ageless, like a spectre, coming back to haunt his enemies.

When he arrived at the police station, the police chief's head appeared on screen yelling about things, and I instantly drew the connection to him and the proprietor of all the stores the protagonist had visited throughout the game. They both had red hair and green eyes, only the chief was bald, which fed into the idea this was all taking place some time later. I thought the convenience store proprietor was a hallucination stand in for the police. The proprietor was always giving the main character things and saying it's on the house, or this one's on me, or go ahead and take it, and I assumed this was evidence of a sort of police sting, as if the police were leading the protagonist on, giving him drugs or videos with sublimenal messages which led him to go after targets in the mafia they wanted dead. When the hitman took him out in his own apartment, he had failed to kill the protagonist, but since he had fallen into a coma, his old enemies had thought him permanently out of the picture. Until he woke up.

This all started to fall apart the farther I progressed after that point, and I realized the story was actually significantly more mundane, even boring, after all the build up by the three hallucinations the protagonist had at the start of every chapter. I thought they were trying to tell him something deeper, like they were trying to hint that he should wake up and snap out of his drug-addled state. I felt there had to be more to it than what there apparently was, but alas. It was all a figment of my own imagination, and not the character's. I was further disappointed by the lame excuse for all the telephone calls being made by the guys in the sewer. The explanation for this was not good enough, and it was a bit childish and random, and the point of it all seemed irrelevant when the motorcycle man guns them down and rides into the sunset. Game over. What was it all about? What was the point of it all?

Still, fantastic game. I'm not a huge fan of simplistic sidescrollers these days, but this one had me gripped until the very end, and I felt the need to replay it two more times after.
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DirtyBlue929 Aug 22, 2014 @ 10:34pm 
... what? While your interpretations are certainly... imaginitive, I fail to see how you would have come to them... like, AT ALL. I rarely say this - especially regarding things like Hotline Miami - but you were REALLY overthinking things.

And as for the weak explanation at the end of the Biker's chapter, it's less weak if you find all the purple "secrets" in the other levels, which spell out the password to the janitors' computer. Arrange them into the right password on the "secrets" menu, then use the computer, and instead of them being all "We just did it for fun, sucker!", the Biker confronts them about what they were REALLY trying to accomplish, which sets up a lot of hints about a future sequel (which exists now, obviously, but when the game came out there was no indication that such a thing would happen).

I won't spoil the true ending, but for a hint, there's some purple leaflets on Jacket's table in the second chapter that are easy to miss. They foreshadow things to a degree.

Oh, also, if anything, Ratface is more connected to the store guy than the Chief. He has literally the same face, just hairless.
Last edited by DirtyBlue929; Aug 22, 2014 @ 10:36pm
Firespite Aug 24, 2014 @ 9:58am 
Well. :) It was all based on a huge misunderstanding, I was trying to make sense of what I had seen. I didn't realize the protagonist was injured, I thought he had woken from bed after a long time. Only later did I see him remove the bandages from his head, and I was all, aww.

I played the game several more times and found out more of what was ACTUALLY going on, but as I said I found it all a bit underwhelming. I was glued to the game because I thought there was far more intrigue there than there was, and I think Biker's chapter betrayed a lot of the mystery and suspense they could have continued to build.

I hope the next game is as good.
Dr. Joseph Warren Aug 27, 2014 @ 11:04am 
I didn't read your whole post, but what I took away from the game was that this is about a very mentally ill man trying to cope with leading a normal adult life. His nightly massacres are delusions of real life situations e.g. going to work to do handyman jobs, going to clubs, meeting his girlfriend, etc. His reactions to these new developments in his life can be tracked via how cluttered his apartment becomes as the game progresses. The gradual deterioration of his apartment shows he is not reacting well to normal life. The biker is a representation of himself, completely unrestrained by morals and judgement. He is the biker. Kind of like Fight Club. So, as the game progresses, he completely loses it and kills his girlfriend. The masks he wears, and talks to occasionally, are just inner personalities and representatives of different parts of his psyche.

However, I could be completely wrong as the story can be taken at face value and still be moderately coherent. But this is what I took from the game. I found it to be very thought provoking.
Firespite Aug 27, 2014 @ 11:41am 
Ahaha that's an interesting take. Unfortunately I think the game's reality is far more mundane than that, though, which is what bummed me out, too.
steelcoresoviet Aug 28, 2014 @ 2:59am 
The chronology is skewed, too. But it's subtle. Notice that Beard is working 3 different jobs at once- unlikely, but he might have worked those jobs at different times.

Also, after Neighbors, the next 4 chapters do not take place in that order- and they may have never happened at all.
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Date Posted: Aug 21, 2014 @ 9:33am
Posts: 5