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Cuphead E3 2015 Trailer

by Nicholas Sammond

A "run and gun" platformer game entirely hand drawn and based on 1930s cartoons, this animated trailer reveals how the game Cuphead also draws on the problematic racial implications of 1930s animation.

For one, the characters imitate those of Bosko the Clown, Micky Mouse and Felix the Cat - all with a commonly shaped white face, black body, and (often), white gloves. These characters evoked minstrel characters not just in their appearance, but in the gags and musical ensembles they employed.

In several parts of the trailer, the characters seem compelled by the music against their will,being made to dance. As Samantha Blackmon has pointed out, this draws on animations such as Trader Mickey (1932), in which he saves himself from the "natives of Africa" by playing music and compelling them to dance.

Several other characters evoke those from Fleischer and Disney shorts - the skulls and devil look remarkably like characters from Hells Bells and The Skeleton Dance (1929) and Swing You Sinners (1930).

Cuphead E3 2015 Trailer for Xbox One

A "run and gun" platformer game entirely hand drawn and based on 1930s cartoons, this animated trailer reveals how the game Cuphead also draws on the problematic racial implications of 1930s animation.

from Cuphead E3 (2015)
Creator: Chad and Jared Moldenhauer (Studio MDHR)
Posted by Nicholas Sammond
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