As rap feuds have taught us, the extracurricular jawing between artists can be just as entertaining as the music. But unless Phil Fish is involved, smack talk doesn’t happen very often in gaming. Until yesterday.
That’s when Pippin Barr called out Cactus’s hit Hotline Miami for being irrationally brutal. He ribbed the popular shooter about running amuck in expensive houses, releasing a game of his own: Jostle Bastard. It takes the menacing act of intimidating non-playable characters by bumping into them (frequently found in open-world games like Grand Theft Auto) and places it in the context of Hotline Miami. Instead of murdering everyone on the scene, you jostle them, satirically.
Talking to Unwinnable, Barr explained his beef with Hotline Miami. “I was in a particularly analytical/critical mood when I played it,” he says. “I’d read what felt to me like an awful lot of praise for the game’s treatment of violence and how it made you think about ‘the horror, the horror.’”
However, that rationale didn’t fly for him. “My first response was basically just disappointment.” He continues, “It felt to me like almost no commentary or engagement with violence at all. It’s a really fun and exciting game about slaughtering rooms full of people. I enjoyed it (though of course the action palls after a while). And then it has that postmodern twist at the end, which just incensed me for some reason.” Indies take note, if you plan to be postmodern, prepare to be heckled.
“Because Hotline Miami was so ‘indie’ and had been made by Cactus, whose games I admire…it just infuriated me somehow.” So far there has been no response from Cactus.