How to have fun with Cuphead

A brief musing on neo-retro's latest darling.

There are some out there who feel that 2017 is, in and of itself, a year for wailing and bashing your head against a wall. I'm not one of those people myself, but those who are might be have found an outlet for their frustrations. Unless you've been living under a cup for the past month, you might well have heard about Cuphead somewhere: It's the cute looking game with graphics from 1930's cartoons that has enraptured many, and enraged even more. One look at Twitch and you will find many a person shouting, screaming, throwing their controllers or punching holes through their wall after dying on that god-damn flower boss for the 200th time.

You might look at this video (and if you're using headphones, I'd advise caution) and think "Nah, I'm pretty good. I don't need this in my life. I'm already spending 40 hours in a dead-end job, I'm barely above the breadline, and I have five kids to feed, so Cuphead isn't a stress that I want." -- while I may not have captured all the details, a lot of you may share the sentiment. However, there are ways around this and methods that you can use to have a relaxing, stress-free time whilst playing Cuphead. Simply follow these guidelines that I have taken from the Kim Justice Pyramid of Greatness (available soon in all good charity shops), and you will enjoy yourself.

Make sure to drink, and I don't mean water. -- Drinking plenty of fluids is a good way to enjoy yourself while playing Cuphead. Whether it's a few cans of real ale, a nice bottle of something red and expensive or a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea, it's a good idea to have something on hand that, initially, will calm your nerves and focus your mind on the task at hand. Eventually it might affect your play negatively, but by this stage you'll be too toasted to mind. NOTE: I would not recommend cheap booze such as Special Brew or bargain basement Scotch Whisky for this task. I am not liable for you shouting "FAGAHFF" and throwing your empty half-bottle of High Commissioner at the TV screen.

Develop an interest in sado-masochism. -- Doctors have proven that a healthy interest in S&M is part of a well-rounded and healthy life. Any frustrations that you might feel when it comes to Cuphead (especially when it comes to that arsingly annoying bumblebee) can be curtailed by treating the game as a particularly aggressive top. Always remember that if the going gets too rough, you can use Alt+F4 as a safeword.

Master the art of passive-aggressiveness. -- In your circle of friends, you probably have that one friend who's really good at Cuphead and likes to rub it in your face at every opportunity. However, you shouldn't feel the need to rise up to such bait -- instead, employ different strategies to put him back in his place and remind him that his skills at controlling a cup with eyes through an inexorable and seemingly insurmountable boss rush are not the be all and end all of everything. The next time that he brags about getting an A+ on that bastard bloody fruit machine, go to his house in the middle of the night and throw a brick through is window with a note attached to it saying "I HAVE YOUR KIDS." That'll show him!

Learn to enjoy losing. -- After all, you should be used to it by now.

Distract yourself with thoughts of your own favourite 1930's cartoons. -- One of the joys of Cuphead is looking at the fantastic, hand-crafted art on display and marvelling at all the pretty sights it has to offer. The best thing to do is to really dive full on into this and constantly admire it, even when you're fighting a particularly tough boss (such as, say, all of them). Simply focus on a certain detail and compare it to the classics of old, the Mickey Mouses and Popeyes and all of that. Ignore the pulsating vein that's popping out of your skull like a hematoma, and appreciate what the game has to offer.

Follow these steps, and you too can have a laugh with Studio MDHR's challenging, Alien Soldier-esque trip into the nihilistic Nickelodeon. If not...well, you might end up like one of those people in the video at the top, and if that's the case then frankly I have not a jot of sympathy for you. It doesn't take much to follow the Pyramid, after all. Just strength, and discipline. However, all bets are off when it comes to the flying stages, because quite frankly f*** them right in the ear.