Rezzed 2012: Eurogamer's Game of the Show is Hotline Miami

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Rezzed is over! If you came along, thank you so much. If you didn't, hopefully you liked some of the headlines you saw and will think about it next year. As far as I know everyone had a great time, so we're certainly aiming to do it again!

In general it all went very smoothly. Peter Molyneux was a bit late for his session because he was running up and down the seafront in a tracksuit (no joke), but he was lots of fun when he made it to the lectern, and everybody was incredibly polite and friendly throughout the whole event, which always makes a huge difference.

The most haphazard thing was probably the logistical crunch in the 10 minutes before Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Gamejam session on Saturday, for which we needed over a dozen people on stage, with computers, with multiple head mics and hand mics, and with a roaming camera to relay shots of the games onto the big screen. I think the result - especially with our ponytailed AV hero Bart bouncing around the stage trying to shoot footage from over Alec Meer's shoulder - was likably shambolic and entertaining rather than a total nightmare, and the audience seemed to agree. (We'll have a video of it online at some point so you can judge for yourself.)

Anyway (or indeed either way), besides that, the one thing that threatened not to come together was the Rezzed Game of the Show. This is mainly because I didn't remember to plan this until the day before the event. Secondly, it's because when Oli, Martin and others checked stuff out on the show floor, I ended up disagreeing with them. Thirdly, it's because I forgot to talk to RPS about it. However, we are now nonetheless able to name Eurogamer's Game of the Show for Rezzed 2012. RPS may do their own one or something. Next year I'll sort out a slab of perspex with a logo embossed in it so the developers can stick it on a shelf, melt it down, etc. Or maybe just run around the show floor waving it at other developers going "IN YOUR FACE, IN YOUR FACE". For this year, though, the recipients will just have to put up with the glory of this blog post.

But hey, who they?

Eurogamer's Rezzed 2012 Game of the Show: Hotline Miami

It's all about Don Juan.

There were a lot of great games on the show floor. Introversion's Prison Architect was a particular highlight (and it's lovely to see those guys back in their stride after difficult times with Subversion), while Borderlands 2 and Far Cry 3 were predictably spectacular, and indie titles Gunpoint and McPixel were oft talked about. But the game that most attendees went away raving about - and which we ultimately agreed was best, after a good bit of debate - was Jonatan "Cactus" Söderström's Hotline Miami.

Hotline Miami is already painting the internet purple (which seems appropriate given our Rezzed colour scheme), and there are many aspects to its appeal. It's a frantically paced top-down action game where you carry out contracts in colourfully smouldering 1980s Miami, blowing seven acid shades of hell out of troublesome dealers, gangs and crime lords. You do this wearing animal masks (my favourite is the horse, Don Juan), while someone pumps an ocean of sweating-carpet rave music through your headphones (listen to some of the composer's other work on SoundCloud). The simple, lightning-fast controls (WASD and mouse buttons), sharp stabs of gameplay (you die constantly and hit R to respawn immediately) and bright, noisy aesthetics all suck you under. Once you're in the loop of spawn/plan/execute/fail/respawn you feel submerged. It's practically synaesthetic.

Within this cloying mess of fun there is a lot of failure, but it doesn't matter: it's hard to succeed, but it's harder to pull yourself away from trying. It's so fast that you can't ever really control the situation - you look at all the available melee and projectile weapons scattered around your location, try to plan for each successive kill (which becomes more difficult if you make a ruckus and attract attention); you wind yourself up, have a go, smash a few skulls, lob a few swords and sew a few seeds of buckshot, then you die hilariously, suck down another mouthful of air and hit R.

There were lots of great games at Rezzed, but Hotline Miami is the best example of the sort of game we invented the show for, and it's also got purple in it and involves a lot of resurrection, so in a sense perhaps this was meant to be. Expect loads of people (including us) to rave about Hotline Miami in the months to come, and check out Cactusquid.com for more (free) examples of the prolific developer's work.

Congratulations to Hotline Miami - Eurogamer's Game of the Show for Rezzed 2012!

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