Cuphead Reignites the “Game Journalists Should Be Good At Games" Debate

Mostly everyone who has played CUPHEAD has mentioned its high level of difficulty. A side-scrolling run and gun game, it occupies a genre built to challenge the player, throwing waves of enemies at them and forcing them to think on their toes. It’s a game that requires the player to be fully engaged with it, exhibiting quick reaction times and multi-tasking between jumping across platforms, avoiding both the enemies and their gunfire.

A video uploaded by the tech website VentureBeat shows one of its employees struggling to do just that. Taken from Cuphead’s Gamescom 2017 demo, the video sees GamesBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi struggling with just about everything the game throws at him: he experiences difficulty in attempting to jump onto a high platform in the opening tutorial; he routinely bumps into enemies running towards him; he falls down a hole to his death. The resulting footage is hilarious, playing out like a 26-minute slapstick comedy sketch in which poor Cuphead is forced to meet his demise over and over again.

But rather than being viewed as a funny half-hour struggle experienced by one writer, the video has instead been used to undermine games journalism as a whole. The end result has seen both trolls and prominent personalities surrounding the games industry vilify Takahashi, who has worked in tech and games journalism for 25 years, even though the article accompanying the video saw him poking fun at his own lack of ability during the play session. His feature, titled ‘My 26 minutes of shame with an old-time cartoon game,’ even begins with the sentence: “I suck at Cuphead. Let’s get this out of the way.” It’s not as if Takahashi was in charge of producing an extensive guide on how to defeat the game; he simply attended its booth at Gamescom, and emerged with some unfortunate gameplay footage to upload to VentureBeat’s YouTube channel.

Despite Takahashi never presenting the footage as an adept Cuphead preview, the criticisms came pouring in. On Twitter, The Daily Caller journalist Ian Miles Cheong clipped the opening segment of the video and included the caption: “Game journalists are incredibly bad at video games. It’s painful to watch this. How do they think they’re qualified to write about games?” The post received over 30,000 interactions, including a plethora of comments also condemning games journalism on the whole. “Easy, they watch Youtube gaming videos & write bs without ever playing the game,” popular YouTuber Keemstar replied. “Game journalists are a joke,” another user added.

That game looks so amazing.

I already preordered this. Hand drawn screens, every damn one. That alone is worth the $20

My first thought about the topic: I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of coaches, reporters, consultants, and writers that are not professional level athletes that we consider to be experts on the sports they are involved in.
Everyone here can testify that you do not have to be a professional gamer in order to enjoy and have an educated opionion on games.

But to be paid for it?

Are movie critics accomplished directors? This is just another attempt to discredit the game media by the virgin neckbeards from 4chan. They have to pop up and be heard with their bullshit so they don’t feel like they’re nothing more than denizens in their mother’s basements.

I look at it like this:
Anybody can be a gaming journalist. If you can write and have a passion about gaming, why not? There are no pre-req’s of skill in the topic you are covering for any job like that, whether it’s gaming or sports.
There are a lot of great sports writers that lack the high skill level in the sport they cover. I’m not saying that it would not make you a better journalist with the experience in the subject matter you get from being a skilled pleyer. But if you seem to know what your talking about, I’m not sure your background will make a difference in the long run.

On the flip side, there are a lot of accomplished athletes that are HORRIBLE analysts for the game they once played.