It seems the further down the line we get from the golden days of the video game consoles, the more we forget where our roots lie. After the video game crash of ‘83, the entertainment systems were brought to homes across the country with a brand new look and idea of how games should work. The idea was to make the games difficult to cause the player to want to play it more, and thus play it longer by both length and hardship of the game.
This is why the current dilemma of Cuphead is puzzling. Suddenly it seems that some players are voicing their opinion that the game is too hard and not open to the vast populace of gamers to play. They say that it should have a version that is easier so that more people can play it and beat it. Where’s the fun in that? Isn’t the point of the game to play it and enjoy the challenge of it? If you were able to binge play it in one sitting, where is the satisfaction? Challenge is a good thing. The point of it is that you get better as you play, and your hand-eye coordination improves as you do. Yes, it can get frustrating but that just makes the experience that much more worth it in the end once you actually manage to beat it.
There are so many games that are considered great that are so devilishly hard, they have earned great infamy over the ages. Well, guess what? They are still remembered today as icons of their time. Games like Castlevania, Dark Souls, Contra, Ghosts and Goblins are all considered difficult, yet still have a place in the consoles with both classic gamers and new gamers alike. Cuphead should not have to compromise its overall level design for the sake of covering a bigger demographic. The difficulty of the game is part of its identity and the reason so many people love it.
There is a very old and widely spread quote that hits the nail on the head on this subject: “If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.” Say the game does set up a “very easy” option. There will be crowds of gamers out there disappointed for the developers selling out. You pleased one crowd of people, but now your demographic are all disheartened, maybe even feeling betrayed. Once you get right down to it, the crowd that you end up pleasing won’t be completely satisfied either. You decreased the hard parts, but it may not have made the game easy enough for them. Instead of slapping the plate off the table and demanding the developers “make it again!” How about we all be thankful that such a game exists in the first place. Seriously, these people have worked ever so hard to make this game already. The creation of this game was not a cake walk, it already had several delays and frustrations in the production that they almost, an irony of ironies, rage quit themselves. People don’t understand the process of making a game is vastly more difficult than they think. A game like Cuphead would need to dig into its very core to reduce the challenge, and would it really be worth it? After all is said and done, no.
The solution? Stick to your guns. Cuphead has already broken the multi-million copies sold in such a short amount of time. It did that on its own volition and game mechanics. With its unique art style, fantastic gameplay and control, Cuphead is already an up and coming classic in the making. Compromising the integrity for something so trivial as a lower difficulty just would not be worth it. The game already took forever to create as it was. It was created with an art style that has not seen the light of day for some time now, and these people are expecting them to go out of their way to change it to satisfy a demographic that may or may not buy it in the first place? Let’s face it, probably not.
The main point is to be happy with what we have. If the game wasn’t already amazing to begin with, no one would have even heard of it in the first place. Cuphead has already garnered its own following, gotten rave reviews across the board, and raged true blue gamers with its extensively difficult but amazingly gorgeous methods of play. If you need to, take it with a grain of salt, and drink your water.