Hypnospace Outlaw was the most 90s game that ever 90s which means it was right in my wheelhouse. In the vein of point-and-click adventures without all the walking around you are scouring 90s internet pages in the land of Hypnospace as a community content enforcer. Internet like it's 1999!
The premise is Hypnospace is the latest in “sleeptime computing” where users wear a headband and log in while sleeping to this virtual world. Its reimsicnent of Geocities or MySpace and has all of the cheesy user created home page goodness of the early internet. Check out the trailer to get a flavor for the world you’re about to enter
You play as a volunteer community enforcer ensuring sleeptime cyberspace is safe from the scourge of copyright infringement, harassment and illegal commerce among other things. You get assignments via email from the folks that work at the company to find pages and flag violations. There also may or may not be a larger conspiracy afoot as some of the pages you find claim using hypnospace has health implications and not all the staff seem in synch about what it is you should report.
You learn lots about the creators of Hypnospace as well as the site regulars that run the communities and their own pages. You’ll wade through all the early internet page tropes like conspiracy theories, quizzes, D&D references, new age gurus, and the underground site called “dumpster.”
What Kicked the Llama’s Ass
The sound track in this game is wicked! I just went and purchased it on Steam and then found Hypnospace’s music sensation The Chowda Man on bandcamp. I’m still not convinced Squishers weren’t a real ad from 90s Saturday morning cartoons. Also Gillette should pick up this song for their next razor line. And there’s so much more original “90s” including spoken word poetry, butt rock, and awesome jingles. I loved poking around and finding new cheesy songs.
The art and content were spot on and bring the player back to logging on via dial up. Hypnospace is broken up into communities to explore as well as some hidden user pages. It felt like the early days of exploring the internet where you never knew what you’d stumbleupon. Also being a huge indie video game nerd I noticed a lot of the user photos on the pages were of developers from other video game studios so that was a fun Easter egg hunt.
Hypnospace Outlaw reminded you to watch out for viruses especially in cool little apps. There were virtual pets and assistants reminiscent of BonziBuddy and Clippy. And some effects at times that made you wonder if your actual computer had crashed.
Yada, Yada, Yada
There is lots to enjoy in this game but at times it could get a bit tedious. The gameplay amounts to scouring internet pages for stuff so it can take the issue of pixel hunting in adventure games past 11. And there were definitely a lot of times where I had no idea where the heck to look for anything so I cheated a fair amount. There’s a section where you are looking through archives over different years so even harder to remember where you saw something earlier. Overall though I had fun exploring.
According to Steam we played for around 14 hours which is a petty good length for this time type of game! I really enjoyed the story and exploring the land of Hypnospace and highly recommend checking out the game.