2017 gaming awards – App Trigger superlatives edition

PUBG Corp.
PUBG Corp. /
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Credit: Studio MDHR /

Nostalgia of the Year – Cuphead

What makes Cuphead nostalgia remarkable is that it’s made for an audience, by an audience, of gamers that are way too young to actively remember cartoons of its style. One thing that draws old-school gamers to this game is its punishing difficulty, especially in its run-and-gun platforming levels. The reward of self-improvement after many failed runs definitely evokes feelings of 90s gaming.

When it comes to its gameplay, there are tons of nods to Fleischer-era cartoons and past video games. The shopkeeper is a reference to the one from Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap, there are numerous Final Fantasy VI references in the train stage and Sally’s final phase, countless Contra references; everything about Cuphead as a game is pretty much in reference to games, people or art from the past.

None of this detracts from its service as an original game hand-drawn relentlessly by a Toronto-area studio who just wanted to go out and make a video game throwback to an era of games and cartoons that never matched up, inherently finding nostalgia where there is none in video games.

Runners-up: SNES Classic, Divinity: Original Sin 2