Gaming journalist literally worse at problem solving than a pigeon, exposed in videogame tutorial.

Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat “identifies” as a gaming journalist. One would think that, in a medium where one of the most common elements involves adapting to new mechanics and advancing through strategy, a professional reporter for the field would be at least a semi-competent player.

You’d be wrong.

There are games, like Bloodborne for example, that throw players in ass first with little explanation but with the expectation that they will die brutally and repeatedly. As you play, you’re supposed to pay attention and practice and stop sucking so much. You learn or you lose.

Cuphead, the game being tested, is not Bloodborne. It’s platformer reminiscent of early twentieth-century Disney. It has a tutorial with blocks and a smiling cartoon character. It even gives prompts for the buttons involved to progress.

Takahashi got stuck for over a minute and a half on the third step in the tutorial because he couldn’t figure out a mechanic that involved problem solving. A video shows he took twenty seconds longer than a pigeon took to pass an intelligence test with similar mechanics. Fellow journalist Jose Abalos of Gamasutra reveals similar ineptitude when he leaps to defend Takahashi, saying:

“Even though the game says you need to press Y, what you really need to do is jump back to the cube you just passed, make a running jump and perform an air dash in order to pass the cylinder. It’s a simple puzzle, but one more than enough to perplex people who are just starting the game for the first time. In other words, the dash command isn’t introduced in the most appropriate manner.

Does it make sense? Yes, it does. Is it intuitive? No, it isn’t, and intuitive is what you should be aiming for when designing a tutorial, and this is something that all kinds of games make.”

Frankly, when the first attempt or two failed the next step seemed perfectly intuitive to this casual gamer. And while occasionally everyone makes stupid mistakes (in gaming or in life), most people have the grace to feel at least a little sheepish about it.

Not according to our clown Jose. It must be the game’s fault. It’s too hard, impossibly tricky and clever with its expectations and its puzzles. If the information isn’t being spoon fed how could anyone figure anything out?

It’s safe to say Dean and Jose probably need to level up if they want any professional credibility going forward.

Featured Image Via Pepe Cortisona


Pepe Cortisona


  • Hajvan

    Lol he should try the Talos Principle XD

  • SBGrin

    “It’s a simple puzzle, but one more than enough to perplex people who are just starting the game for the first time. In other words, the dash command isn’t introduced in the most appropriate manner.” YOU DIDNT SEE THE HUGE NOTE SAYING PRESS Y TO DASH? What an idiot.

    • Dave Silva

      seriously, I hate games like that and I saw what was needed in about two seconds. The loser playing it just should not be allowed to work.

  • Evan Kennedy

    How did sjws infect gaming ?

    • The Jokester

      They have infected everything….from football to comics and movies and television. There is no escaping through escapism when the SJWs begin their tirade they will bash you over the head anywhere with their identity politics.

    • Brian

      the rise of anita sarkesisnian and bioware selling out

    • Pat Patrix

      Things like gaming, comics, fantasy, and sci-fi were seen as counter culture for decades. SJW’s inevitably always try and side with counter culture even though they typically have no actual understanding of it. There’s nothing actually interesting about them so they latch on to anything that they think gives them an identity. That’s why suddenly every blue-haired landwhale started claiming they were gamers because they played Candy Crush on their iPhone, or started calling themselves geeks, or claim their love of GoT while having contempt for the people who actually supported and kept this stuff alive through the decades they were oblivious to it. To them it’s a trend, not a hobby. Which is exactly how they ruin it. They’re only interested in appearing to be interested, not in the genre’s themselves.

    • Defiant Rebel ✓ᴰᴱᴾᴸᴼᴿᴬᴮᴸᴱ

      Because they could do it from mom’s basement.

  • Steve O

    Okay, I laughed out loud reading this. It just doesn’t strike me as the scoop of the year.

    • Michael W

      News is still valid, no matter how many are affected. The problem has only gotten worse over the years, as websites struggle to maintain revenue and relevance.

      As a lover of games this sets a bad standard to lower ourselves to.

      • Steve O

        I just figured the author is a gamer, and it’s something that was on his mind.

        • Billy McKenna

          Actually, this has exploded in the games industry now. What started as gamers being frankly and rightly appalled that a demonstrable incompetent was supposedly acting as a games journalist got blow out of proportion, when all the major games media sites started actively defending him and claiming that the gamers who complained where just hate-filled, racist trolls (I have no idea why racism was brought up, but it has been).

          Major game releases are going almost entirely uncovered, while many gamers are concerned that good small profile games are going to get terrible reviews and get passed over by consumers all because the critics are so inept at their job that they can’t find the damn jump button. Then there’s the question of performance-reviews. Many games companies use aggregate review sites like Metacritic and others to dictate whether the development teams get performance based pay. This can be as much as 1/4 of their pay, if they fail to meet the expected critical reception. One example is Fallout: New Vegas, which missed it’s cut off point by 1 point on an out of 100 scale, scoring 84/100 with the performance pay threshold being set to 85/100.

          People are worried that having such unqualified people reviewing games is going to cause them to get undeserved low graded reviews, which could lead to smaller development studios being closed if they fail to meet certain review thresholds.

          So yeah, it’s a special interest piece… probably won’t matter to the non-gamer, but it’s an important issue for those of us who have passion for this hobby, and may be of interest to those who care about transparency in journalism and want to push back against the regressive left influence in media.

          • Steve O

            Thanks. It makes a lot more sense now!

  • Brandon Willey

    Leave our games alone.

  • Lulz Node

    Logic is a foreign language to some of these people. Kotaku and Gamasutra are the worst examples of this. I remember when right after Trump was elected there was this BS article about “How developers can still be activists”, full of all kinds of nonsense. I laid out every reason they were wrong about him and everything he stood for. Of course when someone has an inconvenient opinion backed back logic, they unsurprisingly deleted all of my comments. Same goes if you mention anything related to Zoe Quinn’s history of fraud, God forbid you go there. Sites like those aren’t even worth giving them any traffic.

    • Unlucky#

      Maybe because they all have Quinn on speed dial.

    • Pat Patrix

      Isn’t Zoe a massive slut?

      • GTKRWN

        To be fair it was only five guys. Most girls have sucked more dick than that before they get out of middle school any more, and they’re not even trying to promote their business when they do it.

      • Laura


  • Chris Richardson

    In the immortal words of Dark Souls fans everywhere: Git gud, scrub.

  • Having shitty gamers review games makes about as much sense as having 90 year old half-blind ladies review supercars.

    “I didn’t like it. It was hard to get in and out of, very very loud, and the ride was very rough.” Sure. Because you aren’t DRIVING IT AT 200 MPH like it was designed for!

    He might be fine for reviewing Bejeweled, or even turn based games like Xcom, but for anything action based or even RTS he’s probably the wrong reviewer.

  • Jim

    I won’t be surprised pidgeons are smarter than most of the SJW’s

    Don’t get me started on crows, gulls and parrots


    It only makes sense. All modern “”journalism””” is about who in the industry you sucked off. Zoe wasn’t the first.

  • Hairatic Rick


  • Jim

    MSM media rejects begin their fake news career in video game journalism.

  • Billy McKenna

    “Does it make sense? Yes, it does. Is it intuitive? No” – ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME! This is about as intuitive as breathing. A running jump followed by a mid-air dash is one of the most common and simple manoeuvres used in the genre. It’s something children as young as 4 can master through trial and error alone, and it’s not even a “puzzle”, it’s just simple traversal. The game tells you what to do for fuck sake. To make that move all you need to do is hold the direction you want your character to move, and press two buttons one after the other. The first to jump, the second to dash at the apex of the jump. It’s three fucking buttons! If you can’t figure that out you are profoundly incompetent at video games and certainly should not be reviewing them.

    It’s a simple as this. Being this demonstrably incapable at a video game while still having a job as a games journalist, would be the equivalent of having someone covering French literature who doesn’t speak French. Sure you can open the book and look at the words, you can even sound some of them out… but you can’t read it so you don’t get an opinion. Likewise, being able to switch on the game and press random buttons does not count as playing it. If you can’t do the most simple, genre defining movements required of the game. You can’t play the fucking game! You’re about as much use an an illiterate playing Scrabble.

  • Laura

    First I’d like to point out that the pigeon would’ve finished its task even sooner if the box hadn’t slipped.

    About the jornalist… What’s the point of not taking advantage of the tutorial to learn the commands of a game? Jfc, this wasn’t even a puzzle.