Mere weeks after the game’s release, the developers of Hypnospace Outlaw came out with surprise DLC! Diving back into the world of Hypnospace and taking place before the game’s final act, players get to go to Twitter, a site introduced by Merchantsoft before their big Y2K update!
The thing is, I’m divided on the experience of Twitter. It is absolutely miserable – but then again, that might be the point.
Unlike the individual pages that you’ve grown familiar with, Twitter is more of a short-form forum with Hypnospace’s various users interacting with each other. It’s a rather interesting experience because while character interaction until this point was mainly relegated to their respective zones, Twitter offers cross-zone interaction, allowing for more varied interactions.
And let me tell you: it’s bad folks.
The tone of the game shifts with the Twitter update. Everything feels like a powder keg ready to explode. Users keep getting into beef with each other. Arlan keeps trying to post his art in peace and trolls keep coming in to rag on him. Even The Dumpster, which mimics sites among the lines of Something Awful, can’t compare to the cynicism and headache inducing hot takes of Twitter. The self-awareness is gone, all there is is misery.
Of course, it’s easy to think that you should just do your job and report and flag people, right?
For whatever reason, your higher ups don’t seem to register blatantly obvious harassment. They’ll keep telling you to stop wasting their bandwidth while Zane is out there saying heinous stuff that would probably get Hypnospace Outlaw banned from Steam if it weren’t for the fact that Steam is already hands-off with extreme rightwing content. It’s real frustrating and at first, I thought it was a glitch on the part of the developers.
That is, until you see the posts of the Merchants on Twitter. Dylan Merchant openly says that he wants to focus on making his dumb car game, ignoring the blatant problems on the site. Adrian Merchant, going in line with Hypnospace’s flipped stance on the usage of Gumshoe Gooper, makes rambling threads about free speech, intentionally turning a blind eye to the rampant harassment to keep people buying Hypnospace headbands; looking at who he interacts with though, you can clearly see that he aligns himself with the hard-right terrorizing Hypnospace’s new social space.
In the end, to advance the story, you have to flag the post of somebody with HS_Lifestyles in their bio for telling somebody calling them slurs to fuck off.
The Hypnospace Outlaw Twitter DLC is a miserable wreck – but an intentional one. What you have to do is obtuse because the higher-ups stopped caring about enforcing their rules. Horrible stuff is being put out there because the higher-ups are either indifferent or secretly side with the people saying that stuff. It really goes in line with Hypnospace Outlaw’s general criticisms of Silicon Valley-type people, showing them as corrupt, ineffectual and ultimately putting money before creating a good online space.