Party Hard

(May 3, 2016)I first became aware of Party Hard during its PC release in 2015 when several of my favorite Twitch broadcasters started playing it.

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Party Hard is a fun game made by tinyBuild Games. Essentially, you play as a raging psychopath plowing your murderous way through a series of parties in an attempt to silence all party-goers including dancers, lovers, and everyone unfortunate enough to attend raving parties across the U.S. The game has a loose narrative explaining the efforts of a rough cop trying to stop the killer before any more lives are lost.

I’ve only completed the first four or so maps/parties, but so far I can say that the game is fun and addicting in its own way. First off, the game offers something slightly different in that players do not take on the role of the cop but that of the killer. Oddly enough, killing party-goers in a variety of ways is entertaining. Players can choose to kill party-goers by slashing into them with a knife, shoving them into the mouths of waiting sharks, or by using poison and setting up a number of traps. If you aren’t quick enough, or if you are caught in the act, NPCs can alert the police via the telephone. Players have the opportunity to hide or flee from the police or give themselves up if the odds are too great.

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Despite the violent nature of the acts committed, Party Hard manages to establish a humorous tone. The music is fairly engaging, the maps are interesting, and the 8-bit graphics bring about a sense of nostalgia. These graphics also help to “cartoonize” the violence. In games with more realistic graphics, players might cringe at slashing through people, but when the game reduces these actions to quick motions and pixelated blood, it is hard to take them too seriously. Also, it’s hard for me to feel bad about eliminating npcs that mock my dancing skills. heh.

From an education standpoint, I think this game could serve as a text for analysis. I can envision asking students to analyze the developer’s design choices including the top-down perspective, the narrative, and what impact the graphics have on player perception regarding violence and crime. The game would even work well with the graphics assessment assignment I helped create as part of a quest-line of assignments. I’ve included the prompt here.

Party Hard is worth its $12.99 price tag with unlock-able characters and, albeit limited, unique maps. For the creative educator, this game could also serve as an introductory text for students. It is a fun game that requires little commitment from players and can be enjoyed ten minutes at a time or for a few hours.

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