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New E3 Demo of Cuphead Fuses Retro Cartoons and Retro Games

Though we may not recognize it now, American animation during the dawn of the 20th century dramatically changed how people across the world view entertainment forever. Anthropomorphic object and exaggerated facial expressions were by no means new to the world of cartoons, but were given new life through frame-by-frame animated shorts by studios like Fleischer Studios. Many of these cartoons would later influence Japanese anime, upon which many modern video games draw for their own visual stylings.

Yet the earlier heydays of cartoonery are rarely explored by contemporary video games (save, perhaps, for Peacock from Lab Zero’s Skullgirls). Studio MDHR plans to do just that, though, with their upcoming run-and-gun platformer,Cuphead in Don’t Deal With the Devil. The project, which began in 2010, blends the surrealism of 1930s animation and the mayhem of classic arcade platformers like Metal Slug to create a game that stands out from the rest of the indie pack.

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Cuphead’s premise is simple: the titular Cuphead and his friend Mugman lose a bet with the Devil. They must pay off that debt by giving the game’s bosses the ol’ one-two. The game focuses mainly around these boss fights, as well as platforming sections, swarms of regular enemies, a weapons and ultimate ability mechanic, and secret area exploration.

As for those boss fights, Studio MDHR has stated that they plan to implement over 30 of them. If they reach that number, Cuphead will have surpassed Treasure’s Alien Soldier for the Guiness record of “most boss fights in a run-and-gun game.” Niche record, sure, but notable nonetheless.

Cuphead footage from E3 (via YouTube user Etalyx) gives us a glimpse into one of those boss fights, as well as some of its regular gameplay:

Studio MDHR is also committed to keeping the core fundamentals of both retro animation and retro gaming close toCuphead’s heart. The Mouldenhauer brothers of Studio MDHR have imbued Cuphead with the mechanical nuances and system esoterica that give old arcade games their rich texture. The game’s animations and music, meanwhile,attempt to replicate the same meticulous processes practiced by animators and composers nearly 100 years ago.

Cuphead is set to release some time in 2016 for Xbox One and PC. You can follow Studio MDHR’s Twitter here.

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Which sex do Japanese gamers pick for their video game characters?

In the fight between skirts vs. vests, who reigns supreme?

Video games have come a long way since the days when you were forced to play as one specific main character. If you were a girl who didn’t want to play as a boy character, or even if you were a boy who was tired of playing as a burly man, then your gaming options were limited.

But nowadays, plenty of games let you choose the gender of your character. Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Dark Souls, Pokémon, even Super Mario 3D World finally lets you play as Peach after a 25 year hiatus since Super Mario Bros. 2.

But then that brings up the question: how often do gamers pick a character whose gender doesn’t match their own?

To find the answer, the Japanese website MyNavi recently conducted a survey of 400 college students to see if the sex of their in-game characters matched their real-life one. Here’s a translation of the surprising results:

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Video game convention loses another key player

E3, the video game industry’s largest trade show, is struggling with an exodus of publishers.

Activision-Blizzard late Tuesday announced it would not have a booth on the E3 show floor. Instead, the company plans to showcase its new “Call of Duty” game at Sony‘s preshow news conference and hold private business meetings in suites at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The news comes roughly one month after Electronic Arts also announced it would not have a presence on the show floor.

“In June, we’re going to be at E3 showcasing gameplay from Infinity Ward’s ambitious new game,” Activision said in a blog post. “We’re looking forward to sharing exciting new details about the next great “Call of Duty” game in partnership with our friends at PlayStation. We’re proud to be participating in this premier video game event, but won’t have an Activision booth on the show floor.”

The decision by Activision and EA to largely skip E3 raises questions about the viability of the event. The show has historically been the tentpole event of the video game industry, where big game and system announcements are unveiled.

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Rare Nintendo ‘PlayStation’ prototype exists, and can still play games

In what is likely one the most obscure and fascinating stories in video game history, Sony back in 1988 signed off on a deal whereby it would provide Nintendo with CD-ROM drives for the SNES. The thinking at the time was that the SNES, in addition to being able to play standard cartridges, would also be able to run disc-based games via Sony’s CD-ROM technology.

Ultimately, a contract dispute over money and various licensing issues killed the partnership, but not before 200 prototype units of the hybrid device, dubbed the “PlayStation” or “Super Disc”, were manufactured. This past July, a Reddit user posted a rare photo of the device after discovering it in his dad’s possession. Naturally, many commenters were quick to call it a fake.

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