[Fantastic Video is a regular Venus Patrol feature where we recap the goings-on of the 2012 installment of Austin's Fantastic Arcade, the indie-game spinoff of Alamo Drafthouse's genre film festival Fantastic Fest. You can find all the Fantastic Videos by clicking here, and find out more about Fantastic Arcade here!]
In this latest installment of Fantastic Video, we’re joined by Dennis Wedin & Cactus — the duo now better known as Dennaton, for a thirty minute look behind the scenes of the creation of their 2012 ultra-violent & ultra-sytlish Hotline Miami — a game that now sports its own bonus level based on Fantastic Arcade itself.
Not only do you get a look at the prototyping process that spans back to versions Cactus had created nearly a decade ago, but also the real-world cultural touchstones that inspired the game’s neon-lit and blood-drenched scenery.
As a bonus, below you’ll find the post-mortem aftershow in its entirety: the Catline Meowmi Megamix, about which there is little more to say than ‘just watch’.
One more Hotline Miami tribute to round out the morning: a super ominously quiet version of the hare-headed Graham, by deviantart member Pa-go (see also: his entirely unrelated Breaking Bad tribute and his slightly more related mockup of a 8-bit NES 28 Days Later game).
While I’m still patiently awaiting the Mac version to fully tuck into Dennaton’s Hotline Miami (not least so I can finally reach the Fantastic Arcade bonus level, Highballer), its release is already paying off with the amazing fan-art starting to trickle in, like Jouste‘s tribute to its resident drill-killer, Carl.
Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of the Austin, TX independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here on Venus Patrol for your reference, each fully-annotated, -linked, and off-the-cuff blurbed, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
Developer: Exotworking | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“… a brief and clever little short story of a game from Exotworking, a group that includes a guy who’s currently interning at Double Fine, which should give you a hint about the sense of humor you can expect. I won’t go into too much detail & spoil the fun, so let’s just say it’s an exploration of the ethics of the traditional retro platform game & leave it at that.”
“… just recently landed on the 3DS — which is my new favorite way to play it — it’s a serene bedtime story of a game from a Swedish indie called Nifflas, who’s sort of the resident master of quiet, ambient platformers, which is exactly what you should expect from this.”
Developer: The Catamites | Platform: PC/Mac | Get it: Here
“… a 3D dungeon crawler from the same developer of the amazing game Murder Dog. If you’ve played that, you’ll feel right at home with the sort of anarchist punk vibe happening here. If you haven’t, you’ll basically be wolloped across the face by how bizarre and brutalist it is, but underneath the sort of terrifying severity, there is actually a lengthy adventure here.”
Mark of the Ninja
“… a super polished stealth platformer from Klei, and is maybe most remarkable for the fact that it’s the first game that’s given me the choice between pacifism and genocide and I’ve not just chosen but almost like lusted to kill every single person — it’s an incredibly satisfying game all around.”
Developer: Colin Northway | Platform: PC/Mac/Linux | Get it: Here
“… the new game from our friend Colin Northway, best known as the guy with the big mutton chops and a blue safari hat in Spelunky. Like most of his games, this is a heavily physics-based game where you construct your own characters, here by adding limbs & muscles to give them life and solve puzzles. It’s insanely beautiful & super satisfying.”
God of Blades
Developer: White Whale | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“This has been featured at a previous JUEGOS, but if this is your first time hearing about it, it’s a pulp fantasy inspired swordfighting game for iPhone & iPad from our own White Whale Games that’s got a ton of soul, and is just about to get a big new dose of content in the next couple weeks.”
Developer: Twinbeard | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“…basically impossible to describe without ruining it, except to say that I know that based on this screenshot you’re not going to believe me that it’s not just one of the funniest and absurd games to come out in recent memory, but one that basically has the most ideas crammed into one experience. You’ll see what I mean.”
Developer: Honeyslug & Dick Hogg | Platform: PlayStation Vita | Get it: PSN
“… a minigame collection that teaches you about all of the hardware features of the Vita, and also a super funny, absurdist, irreverent game with a ton of unbelievably amazing guest artists. If you’ve got a Vita, you need this game.”
The Unfinished Swan
Developer: Giant Sparrow | Platform: PlayStation 3 | Get it: PSN
“… if you’ve only seen screenshots like this, where you splatter black paint on a fully-white world to explore more deeply, you haven’t seen anything yet. As a sort of magical children’s storybook of a game, it’s just unbelievably completely delightful. ”
Developer: Dennaton | Platform: PC | Get it: Steam
“…an extremely violent and blood-soaked action game that also manages to be both fantastically stylish and awesomely thoughtful in how it handles its violence. Also worth noting is that this screenshot here will be part of an update to the game that should be ready by the time you read this, which lets you play a special level that takes place right here in the Highball.”
Closing out the week with one final & strangely metallic taste of Dennaton‘s upcoming Hotline Miami, as its new cinematic trailer — originally shown during the duo’s talk at the recent Fantastic Arcade — is finally revealed to all, for better or worse.
The video largely speaks for itself — I’ll only add that it’s my favorite trailer title-reveal since the similarly goosebump-inducing & stomach-churning knockout punch of Giorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth.
As much ink has been spilled on the seemingly senseless slaughter in Dennaton’s Hotline Miami as has blood in the game itself, but not nearly enough attention has been given to its sounds. Early demo versions of the game included a playlist of music both officially licensed and not — some having been placed in-game to set the mood as development progressed.
Mastered in part at LCD Soundsystem front man James Murphy’s DFA Studio (and sounding every bit the part), the EP is streamable below via Gilarde’s bandcamp, where you can name your price for a download of the album in anticipation of the game’s October 23rd release.
As previously mentioned, also making an appearance on the score is artist & musician Niklas Åkerblad, whose Do Not Lay Waste To Homes… EP is also already up for sale on bandcamp, and is most noteworthy for Daisuke, the laid back beats of which have already made it into the game’s trailer.
And finally, placed here for good measure: Sun Araw‘s Horse Steppin, which hasn’t been confirmed for inclusion, but which made a perfect wind-down counterpoint to the early demo’s disco-death — a song which seems to drip and melt through the cracks between the game’s neon-lit nightscape pixels.
Bringing the 2012 Fantastic Arcade to a close, Dennaton’s superbly hyper-violent Hotline Miami was awarded the ‘Most Fantastic’ prize Sunday night, earning it one of the custom trophies above — a real world version of Cory Schmitz’s Fantastic Arcade cabinet, created by Austin’s own Ink It Labs with help from local art-toy studio Shinbone Creative. Terry Cavanagh’s Super Hexagon also earned the festival’s Audience Award, after a weekend of open voting by Fantastic Arcade attendees.
Elsewhere, in an extra-special guest-appearance, Ultima creator, Portalarium founder and real-actual spaceman Richard Garriott handed out the top honor to Fantastic Arcade’s jury-voted top Adventure Time Game Making Frenzy game: Adventure Minute, created by Vlambeer’s JW Nijman and Kitty Calis. Garriott’s prize? A hand-crafted crossbow made by New World Arbalest‘s David Watson, the Austin-based bowyer who served as the inspiration for Ultima series character Iolo.
The full list of Fantastic Arcade 2012 awards for all spotlight games is below the fold, along with the top three winning entries of the Adventure Time Game Making Frenzy.
Today marks the first day of Fantastic Arcade proper — the yearly indie-game celebration run alongside the Alamo Drafthouse’s genre film festival Fantastic Fest — which means updates to Venus Patrol will become slightly spottier through to the end of the week until I can emerge with a handful of stories to tell of how the event went down.
In the meantime, a brief slideshow from the past several hours, including, above, some of the first screenshots of Hotline Highball, a custom version of Dennaton’s fantastically brutal Hotline Miami that takes place inside the actual locale of Fantastic Arcade itself, featuring the greeting you can see by festival co-organizer Wiley Wiggins, inside its own custom arcade cabinet.
[VP Rewind is a quick look back at the important events of the past week or two that should have been on Venus Patrol had it actually been alive.]
Beautiful, brutal, and honestly not even the most shocking depiction of violence from Dennaton’s upcoming I’m-just-going-to-go-ahead-and-already-call-it-a-hit-game Hotline Miami, this new poster image by Niklas Åkerblad (also one of the game’s musicians, and artist behind fantastic & totally polar-opposite iPhone meditative-adventure Kometen) at least gives you fair warning for what you’re about to get yourself into.
Below the fold, the Hotline Miami trailer itself, just to basically prove out everything I’ve just said above. [via @ElHuervo]