Cuphead Don’t Runneth Over

Have you ever danced with the Devil?

It feels quizzically unreal to not have Cuphead weighing on my mind anymore. It was one of those video games whose spectre of incompletion hung heavy on my shoulders, occupying my thoughts as I played other games in lieu of making it through an extremely difficult third island and, eventually, the Devil himself. You should finish Cuphead, Inner Me said as I popped in Nier Automata. How come you haven’t finished Cuphead? I hear as I played through Assassin’s Creed. What’re you, chicken? It taunted as I tried to escape through PSVR.

The day eventually came when I buckled down to finish the game I had given Game of the Year. Defeating the Devil was most certainly a triumphant occasion—one not felt as strongly since I beat Lord Gwynn in Dark Souls (I cheesed him with parries but a win is a win). I wager it took me close to 30 tries before conquering Old Scratch and I couldn’t have felt any more proud with myself. Cuphead is notoriously difficult but it’s a particular game Studio MDHR wanted to make. Adding an easy mode (which many have asked of Dark Souls) would dilute the experience and not allow the developers to proceed with their particular vision.

The high of success has since faded away and am stuck in that post-game malaise where I miss the grief, heartache and tears that punctuated the Cuphead jam. What am I to do? My niece and nephew want me to help them defeat the bosses they can’t finish. Should I jump back in and play again?

Pfft, no way! I paid my dues! Let them suffer as I have!

(Just kidding, you two! I’d be happy to give it a go!)

MonHun is LIFE

Monster Hunter: World continues to dig its talons into me. I’ve been progressing through the story at a steady clip, though I find myself spending more time grinding out materials to better upgrade my bagpipe. I created one from bone, using the materials from the dodo-like Kulu Ya-Ku, but now the Hunter Horn sounds like a didgeridoo—which is cool but not nearly as such compared to the sweet, angelic tones squeezed out of a bag originally made from animal skins. The story has taken Ladywoman Girlgender to the Wildspire Waste, desert area accompanied by rocky canyons, a large cave network, and a swamp that made fighting a giant mudskipper-like beast a particularly difficult exercise. I’m excited to finally have the go-ahead to hunt the Anjananth, the Tyrannosaurus Rex monster that’s been a thorn in my damn side for the first several hours of the game.

Geralt of Rivia would love this book!

I finished recording with Joel and Jonathan, my podcasting brothers in arms for the upcoming episode of GamersRead (it’s a podcast! It’s a podcast about books! It’s a podcast about books that are sometimes video game related!). We just finished talking about The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which also happened to be her debut novel. I was a big fan of the book because it reminded me very much of Pan’s Labyrinth. Both involve a young girl that has the ability to communicate with spirits–in this case, creatures and monsters pulled from Russian folklore. Vasya, the main character, finds a duty in keeping the memory of these mostly harmless beings alive lest they disappear forever from the influence of a headstrong priest that wants to bring God to her isolated village in an attempt to “civilize” it. I won’t say much more about the story you’ll just have to listen to the podcast when it comes out (so please, like and subscribe!).

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