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The most kawaii first-person shooter gets a sequel this Friday

The classic idiom goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but often the aesthetic and visuals of a medium offers a reasonably good idea of what to expect. One doesn’t imagine that dark horrors are lurking behind the sunny facade of Sesame Street (the webseries Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared subverts that expectation to an unsettling effect), or that the Berenstain Bear children books will descend into mature adult themes. A game’s looks inform us in the same way, as seen in the bleak muted palette and Orwellian environments of this year’s Inside, the vibrant island of The Witness, and the watercolor…

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Anarcute puts a friendlier face on revolution and rioting

Punk music. Chains. Leather, drugs, mohawks, and spikes. The revolution, at least as far as it’s depicted in films like The Warriors (1979) and comics like The Dark Knight Returns, is often offputting and grotesque. These stereotypical trappings are hardly an accurate representation of real punk culture or political upheaval, of course—featuring teens tagging anarchy symbols on school playgrounds or mugging innocent strangers on their way home from work—but they do work well to create a sensationalized moral panic for a square-jawed Clint Eastwood type to come clean up. Unfortunately, they also raise a question. If the revolution is supposed to be so fringe,…

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Beglitched features the cutest bunch of hackers you’ve ever seen

The NYU Game Center’s Incubator game, Beglitched, essentially turns the seedy and terrifying underworld of hacking into the single most kawaii tile adventure you’ll ever embark upon. For example: you know those annoying emails you get in your inbox about making your penis 6 inches longer? Well, Beglitched transforms those pests into anthropomorphized enemy “spam” types—not the boring, unwanted email kind of spam, but the canned ham kind, only with arms and legs and an adorable face. Beglitched essentially looks like an LSD fever dream overloaded with cuteness and techie double entendres. Creators Jenny Jiao Hsia and Alec Thompson describe it as a…

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Snuggle up and melt a cat in your hot cocoa this winter, you deranged monster

The Japanese company Yawahada specializes in adorable, artisanal marshmallows, but they veer from the norm, coming in flavors like chocolatey tiramisu, cheese tarts, baked apple, and so on. As if wrenched from Kirby’s most kawaii dreams, they also make little marshmallows shaped liked cats, which inspires images of curling up on a couch with a cat and a blanket and re-watching season three of Battlestar Galactica to see if it still holds up.  But it raises some deeply troubling images as well—notably, that adorable cat-like visage slowly fading and becoming featureless as it melts into your dessert, its tiny paws becoming…