For those of you that know me, it will not surprise you to hear that I am an indie game fanatic. For me, there is nothing better than an obscure, unique, and slightly demented indie title to sate my thirst for true art. That is one of the reasons why I picked up the incredible cult hit Cuphead this week for the Nintendo Switch. There are few games that can claim to hold onto old art forms and still make them appealing to modern audiences, and Cuphead achieves this in a big way. Toting a 1930s cartoon aesthetic, this game allows you to take control of Cuphead and his little brother, Mugman, as they try and dupe the Devil by working for him. Really! As cutesy as this game is, the storyline is surprisingly dark, even getting to the point where the porcelain pair are hunting down the Devil’s debtors and collecting their soul contracts. Yikes. But don’t worry, the Devil does end up getting his due, that is as long as you can beat the game.
It would be easy to say that this game is for children due to the animation, but the challenge presented by it is far more daunting than most titles on the market. Cuphead is a very hard game, and each new boss presents a distinct combat pattern that must be mastered in order to collect their contracts. This means dying, a lot. As much as platforming purists would love to play each level through the regular game mode, the available allure of switching to “simple mode” is right there in front of the player, taunting them to take the easy way out. Too bad life doesn’t have one of those modes, right?
Over the last few months, a debate has been raging over the internet concerning the difficulty in games and the accessibility that they allow to all players. The discussion centers around another very hard game called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The combat within the game is brutally difficult to negotiate and proved to be too much for many players to handle. Having played the game myself, I can tell you that everything said about the difficulty of the game is true, and for many players, the worst part is that there is no easy mode. So, in order for players to be able to witness the entire story, they must “get gud” at the game and beat it through perseverance and skill.
I’m not going to weigh in on this debate as much as I am going to use it to teach a very valuable life lesson. The hardest video games in the world cannot hold a candle to living an actual life. Think about it for a second. If life were a video game it would be the longest, most stressful and rewarding game ever made. Each new year could be considered a new level, and it would progressively introduce new mechanics and variables that the player would need to navigate. On top of that, everything would be unpredictable, as time simply move forward and all events are interconnected in this massive world. The most difficult part of it is that you only get one life to live, and if you squander it or play too rough and lose it, that’s all you get. It doesn’t sound like a very easy game, does it?
Unfortunately, there is no easy mode for life. It would be nice, but the fact remains that we will go through hard times in this life; it is inevitable. In fact, Jesus himself states that we will go through times of trouble.
John 16:32-33 says this: 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
When this is said, Jesus is with his disciples in the Upper Room right before he is betrayed and turned over to the authorities. It is a somber time in which our Savior is about to undergo more pain and anguish than anyone before him. In light of all this, he gives comfort to his disciples by washing their feet and praying for them. He wants them to know that the road ahead will not be easy, but it will be possible to traverse with his help.
Even if you are a believer, you will go through hard times in this life. The question is this, how are handling those hardships? Are you going into them solo with guns a ’blazing, thinking that you can take care of them with your power, or are you patiently taking these troubles to the Lord and listening for His leading? In my experience, difficult games are easier to complete after I watch a guide or see someone who is more skilled than I am complete it. This is not cheating, this is learning, and I believe that it is essential to winning this race of life.
You may be going through some hardships yourself, and you might be tempted to take the easy way out. Trust me, there is no easy mode for life, and the best thing to do is crack open a Bible and learn how to “get gud” instead of trying to do it yourself. I will leave you with one last passage of Scripture that ties all of this together quite nicely.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.