Thursday, October 5, 2017

Satisfaction

Many apologies but there is not going to be a full podcast episode this week. The service that we use for recording, Cast, is having hosting issues. I have blamed them for things in the past but this is not on them and they have been pretty up front with what is going on. I promise that my next week I will have calmed down and there will be a little less yelling.

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Cuphead is finished. The final boss took around two hours, probably more. Time began to melt away as the retries mounted. Several bed times came and went, from 'it's normal bed time' to 'it's late bad time' to 'oh fuck, I have to work tomorrow' bed time. I just could not let it go and I began to wonder, somewhere in the second hour, if it was honestly beyond my ability.

I guarantee that next week's podcast will contain a discussion comparing my resilience to Cuphead to my cowardice towards Bloodborne to wish I offer a pre-emptive pishaw. I am old, my remaining time on Earth is precious, therefore the amount of time a retry takes and what I lose for failing are of incredible importance.

Dying in a Souls game, which happens a lot, costs the player both physical progress, as the player is sent back to a recall point, and character progress, as accumulated experience is lost. This makes dying terrifying and costly. It is part of the game, an added stressor that I do not agree with and will not tolerate. I have passed on excellent games with no hesitation because I knew that I simply would not enjoy them.

Dying in Cuphead, which happens a lot (480 time from beginning to end, to be precise), costs the player nothing. There is no walk back to whatever did the killing, as the game is just a boss rush, and no character progress is lost as there is almost no character progress anyway. New weapons are unlocked by coins collected in the run and gun levels but the run and gun levels are short enough that having to do them over and over is no worse than one of the boss levels. Death is not a penalty, it is a quick detour.

This does not mean that it is easy, only that it is not discouraging. In the final throws of self doubt I kept returning for one more attempt. One more try. One more. And when I beat the final boss I exhaled, satisfied.

I realize that I have said nothing about Cuphead's iconic look or the fact that is the best controlling side scroll anything in many years. Those facts are secondary to these: playing Cuphead made me happy and, while it was difficult, it was never frustrating and, in the end, incredibly satisfying. Please, Studio MDHR, make another one, and soon.

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