This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update]The first internally-developed game from mobile publisher Thumbstar Games, The Adorables is a dazzlingly colorful pachinko-puzzle sort of game, coming on Thanksgiving to iOS and Android, but is it indeed adorable? Update: getting cuter.

It's certainly pretty, and my predilection for raccoons and raccoon-ish creatures has me gaga over Sneaker, the obviously leader of the group. These five furry little guys will be launched into the air on beams of light, knocking at pegs in the sky to help restore the Aurora Borealis to its former glory. Apparently something made it less glorious. No doubt something diabolical.

The game paints its anime-inspired colors across Apple's retina screens in high definition (I suppose it works on the iPad Mini as well, snap), with the Android version utilizing the GREE platform to support a wide variety of devices.

What's important here, however, is the name. Do The Adorables live up to their moniker? I asked Tina Amini, Kotaku's editor of adorability.

"They're sorta cute." Pressed further, Amini offered, "They look sort of like they should be a line of plush toys for kids who can't tell the difference between super fluffly stuffed animals. But they're not actually adorable, and they all look like they're excreting some sort of poop or blood and that's gross."

And there you have it. Hopefully Thumbstar Games still has time to change the name to The Sorta Cutes before the Thanksgiving launch.


We've received an official response regarding Tina's thoughts on the adorability of The Adorables.

This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update]

Tina's response: "Well at least that one is cuter."

This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update] This Game is Called The Adorables. Our Resident Adorable Expert Weighs In. [Update]


Some PC players of Call of Duty: Black Ops II report that disc 2 of their recently-purchased game is the wrong sequel entirely.

Players on the Call of Duty forums, the Steam forums, and Reddit are reporting that when they insert disc 2 as prompted, they receive a Mass Effect 2 read error. The video above (some language NSFW) demonstrates the issue.

The discs in question are correctly printed with the Black Ops II front, but appear to have received the wrong image where it matters: in the software. Clearly, something went awry in the manufacturing.

For most players, this won't be a show-stopping problem. Black Ops II authenticates through Steam, and so once players have associated their game's serial number with their Steam account, they can simply download any missing files.

Call of Duty publisher Activision and Mass Effect publisher EA are, of course, notoriously rivals with some bad blood between them. This manufacturing error is no doubt the only time players will ever find a Call of Duty game and a Mass Effect one in the same case.

Owners of the PC version of Black Ops 2 are getting a Mass Effect 2 disc read error. [Reddit]

Reads disk 2 incorrectly [Steam]

Disc 2 Error [Call of Duty]


DayZ's Creator Has Only Killed Another Player OnceZombie survival mod DayZ is rife with player-killing, and even though it's an integral part of the game's experience, most people nevertheless tend to frown on it, seeing as survival is the name of the game, not murder.

But once in a while, you run into a problem that can only be solved by violence. Or, in the case of DayZ creator Dean Hall, that problem finds you.

Recounting to Dork Shelf a tale of one day's play in the game, he reveals that only once has he ever killed another player in the game.

At the airfield, Hall spotted another new player cluelessly running around in the open. The troupe tried calling out to him, but, seeing the size of the group, the stranger tried to run away. "I started firing some warning shots," said Hall. "and I just kept firing. I don't know what compelled me. The next minute, I see him fall over."

The interface alerted Hall that the player had died. One of the players in the group said, "Wow, you killed him."

"I struggled, trying to understand why," said Hall. "I did it out of morbid curiosity. I wouldn't say I was revolted—at the end of the day it's still a game, but it didn't make sense to me."

It's OK. Last I checked, the zombies ate all the cops and the judges. You're cool, Dean!

Survival of the Dead [Dork Shelf]

Evangelion 2.22 is a Film That Plays On Your ExpectationsWe are now less than a week out from the Japanese release of Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo. Over the past few weeks we have looked at my personal history with the Evangelion franchise in general and the first film in the Rebuild of Evangelion series, Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, in specific. Today, we take a look at the second film in this series: 2009's Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance.

[This review contains major spoilers]

On its surface, the Evangelion franchise is about children in giant robots fighting monsters. But what makes Evangelion so popular world-wide is that it is far deeper than that. More than anything, the series is really about a boy, Shinji, growing up. The first movie, Evangelion 1.11, uses Shinji to explore the "hedgehog dilemma"—which simply put is, the closer you are to other people, the easier it is to be hurt by them. By the end of the film, Shinji overcomes both physical and emotional pain to learn that he is not alone in his struggles—be they personal or against the angels.

You Can (Not) Advance, on the other hand, is built around the idea that simply existing isn't enough. Growing up means finding what you truly care about and then doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals.

Evangelion 2.22 is a Film That Plays On Your ExpectationsAfter the events of the first film, Shinji finds himself in perhaps the best situation of his young life. He is treated as a hero by those at Nerv, he and his father have begun reconciling; he has a stable and (relatively) normal school life; and he has his first true friend in Rei. He is perfectly content with what he is doing. He has no goals. He simply wishes to continue to do what he is asked.

For the first half of the film, things only get better for him. He helps bring Rei more and more out of her shell, he befriends Asuka despite her attitude towards him, and he even gains what he has been yearning for—the approval of his father.

Evangelion 2.22 is a Film That Plays On Your ExpectationsAnd then, it all goes downhill when Shinji is helpless to do anything as his Eva attempts to kill Asuka on his father's orders. He decides to quit—because while he still doesn't know what he truly wants, he knows it isn't to murder his friends. But even when faced with the death of everyone he knows, the total devastation of Tokyo-3, and his own imminent death, it's none of those things which get him back in the cockpit. He pilots the Eva because he has found a goal he would do anything to accomplish: save Rei. Even if the price is to work with his father. Even if the price is to end the world.

Also contributing significantly to this coming-of-age tale is a story twist or two aimed specifically at long-time fans of the series. While You Are (Not) Alone was often frame-for-frame, shot-for-shot the same as the Evangelion TV series, You Can (Not) Advance departs radically from the source material. Sure, the framework is the same: Asuka arrives, the three pilots catch a falling angel, Shinji is forced to fight a friend against his will. But everything else, including the outcomes of the major plot points are subject to change. Simply put, You Can (Not) Advance plays on your expectations, defying them more and more as the film approaches its climax. And while sometimes we hate it when a beloved story is tampered with, at other times, we are able to move past our surprise and embrace the changes because of the improvement in the story that results. This is one of those times.

Evangelion 2.22 is a Film That Plays On Your ExpectationsBut even a quality story can be marred by poor directing. Such is not the case with You Can (Not) Advance. The film is wonderfully directed. The re-mastered animation is beautiful and the voice acting top-notch. But by far the highpoint of the directorial decisions is the discordance between the visuals and the music. When Shinji watches in horror as his Eva tears apart Asuka's—with her still inside, a happy song about being friends plays in the background. Similarly, an elementary school children's song (sung by Rei's voice actress Megumi Hayashibara) is sung during the film's climax as the soundtrack to the apocalypse. Both are very effective as they simultaneously clash with and support the visuals on screen. However, I feel that it would have been even more effective if this device had only been used once in the film. Once is special; twice is inevitably less so.

I have danced around the ending throughout this review, but I can no more as it is one of the best constructed climaxes I have ever seen. The plot, the thematic exploration, Shinji's strong character development, the toying with-time fans' foreknowledge, the discordant music, and the beautiful animation all come together in one explosive finale. It is a climax perfectly built to make you—like Misato—cheer Shinji on, even though you know his success will be the end of the world. This is a movie that actually makes you care so much about its characters that the end of the world seems a triumphant victory.

Evangelion 2.22 is a Film That Plays On Your Expectations

Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance is an excellent movie—especially for those familiar with the series and The End of Evangelion. Those coming straight in from Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, however, may find themselves overwhelmed by the film's jargon and myriad of yet-to-be-explained concepts. However, even if you don't get all the ins and outs of the film, it is still highly enjoyable.

Now only one question remains: can the upcoming third film Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo surpass the heights reached by this film? Drop by Kotaku East next week to find out.

Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance was released in Japan on June 27, 2009. It is currently available on DVD and Blu Ray worldwide.

Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo will be released in Japanese theaters on November 17, 2012.

All-You-Can-Eat Burger King? This Is Madness, Japan.To mark the fifth year of Burger King's return to Japan, the fast food chain is once again offering a special deal for a limited time: an all-you-can-eat burger buffet.

Between November 17 and 21, those who order a large black burger meal deal between 2pm and 11pm get to stuff their faces with as many burgers, fries (or onion rings) as they can for thirty minutes after ordering.

Once you finish the meal you paid for, all you need to do is go to the register with your burger wrapper, paper bag, empty cup (free refills!), and receipt to get all the Whoppers, medium fries (or onion rings), and medium coke you can handle in half an hour.

The name of this is event is "'B'iKing", a word play on the Japanese word "viking" (バイキング), which means all-you-can-eat buffet, and "Burger King".

From November 22 to November 30, the burger buffet madness can be had (enjoyed?) if you order one of the various types of large Whopper meals available at Burger King in Japan.

"B"iKing [Burger King Japan via ナリナリ]

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Report: Pleas for Japan's Most Infamous (and Frightening) Blogger To StopJapanese actress Aki Higashihara writes a blog—a blog that has been nicknamed the "Death Blog". It's called the "Death Blog" after Japanese manga Death Note, because her track record has not been good. Well, it's been good at causing bad things, such as the death of the Nintendo Wii.

As previously noted, here's a round up of her rotten luck:

• Higashihara works as a campaign girl for the Dreamcast, and then the console is defeated by the PlayStation 2.

• In early 2008, Higashihara appears at a McDonalds for an event. Parasites are found in the burgers the next day.

• That same year, she appears in an ad for instant ramen. Later, parasites are found in that company's instant noodles and insecticides are found at the factory.

• She dates the best Judo athlete in the world, Kosei Inoue, and he only places fifth at the 2004 Olympics.

• In 2008, she states she'll marry Inoue at the Imperial Hotel. A fire breaks out at the hotel.

• After marrying Higashihara, Inoue not only loses the judo championships but doesn't even make the Olympic team. Regardless, she attends the Summer Olympics, and the Japanese team post its worse performance ever.

Increasingly, some people are apparently taking what she writes on her blog more seriously (some are just having fun with the whole thing). Japan's News Post Seven is even reporting that those connected to Japan's judo team are asking Inoue to tell his wife not to blog about the Japanese judo team. Inoue is slated to be the team's coach for the next Olympics.

Things are touchy right now, because at this year's London Olympics, the country's male judo team got zero gold medals for the first time in its history. It seems that there are those worried that Higashihara could make that a repeat if she blogged about the sport on her Death Blog.

Sure seems like the actress hasn't lost her magic touch. News Post Seven did a round-up of recent incidents that have unfolded surrounding Higashihara:

• Higashihara writes former Sega spokesperson Yuko Ogura a message on her blog. A fire breaks out at Ogura's restaurant chain.

• She writes about wild comedian Sugi-chan on her blog. Sugi-chan seriously injures his spine and needs three months to recover.

• She references Tokyo Skytree. The elevators in Skytree are stopped because of strong winds.

• After the first baby panda is conceived in Japan in decades, she mentions the panda, adding that her family went to bed at 8:30pm. The panda then dies the following morning at 8:30am.

All of these happened, this year. This is a bit of Japanese internet folklore, and I don't believe that she's cursed (just like I don't believe in the Madden Curse).

During the summer, one commenter suggested that Higashihara blog about other countries during the Olympics. But with her track record, maybe she shouldn't blog about anything.

「東原亜希はブログに柔道のこと書かないで」と柔道関係者懇願 NEWS ポストセブン]

(Top photo: Higashihara Desuga?)

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Will Be Unleashed Next March, Says Battle.netThe upcoming StarCraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm, now has a release date. According to Battle.net (first spotted by Eurogamer), it will be out on March 12, 2013.

The digital deluxe edition of the expansion is priced at US$59.99 and comes with Wings of Liberty.

There were hopes that Heart of the Swarm would be out later this year. But earlier this month, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said they were shooting for the first half of 2013.

As previously mentioned, the expansion does pack some big changes for the game as an eSport, including a player progression system, clans, resumable replays, and a whole lot of other features.

In the meantime, check out this footage of the expansion's new units in action.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Will Be Unleashed Next March, Says Battle.net

Digital Purchase [Battle.net via Eurogamer]

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy is not the only game to bare the Bravely Default moniker. There is also a tie-in browser game called Bravely Default: Praying Brage. We've already had a look at some of the game's... less than stellar artwork but luckily these character portraits do not reflect the overall art style of the game.

To begin Bravely Default: Praying Brage, you choose one of the four sides: earth, fire, wind, or water. Through the tutorial, you then gain your first four characters that you can use to go adventuring. Adventuring mainly consists of choosing a location on the world map and entering a turn-based battle reminiscent of its parent title. Oddly though, the thing that makes BD:FF unique in battle—the Brave/Default system—is absent from this browser-based tie-in.

Back in town, you can use the points and items you have acquired to buy new equipment, level up the stores to upgrade their inventories and make new job crystals for your party. There are a plethora of quests you can undertake as well.

The trick with this game is that each of your characters can only battle six times before needing a few hours in real time to recover. Luckily the game allows you to front several different teams of five to keep your adventuring going.

Sadly though, there is also a total limit to how many battles you can have in general—despite switching out teams. Of course, as you would expect, there is an item in the item shop which can clear this time in exchange for some real world cash.

Bravely Default: Praying Brage is a far more complicated browser game than one would believe at first glance with many different jobs, characters, items, and a PVP conflict between the four sides (though I have not progressed far enough yet to unlock this). However, like many free games of this nature, it suffers by limiting the time you can spend with it without paying. Still, if you need some more turn-based battles in your life, there are far worse places to go than Bravely Default: Praying Brage.

Bravely Default: Praying Brage launched on November 1, 2012, for modern web browsers. There are no plans for an international release but it can be played free in Japanese here.

Ever wondered how Konami built that large Jehuty statue and then put it on a building in Tokyo? No? Well, here's a photo montage that might clue you in.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Japan's Traditional Seals Get Very, Very NerdyIn Japan and most of Asia, documents require a seal. The Japanese word for these stamps is a typically "hanko" (判子) or inkan (印鑑), and they've been used for over a thousand years. People's names are carved onto them, and take the place of a signature when doing things like opening a bank account, getting married, or buying a car.

But now, in 2012, these traditional stamps are undergoing a radical change: Japanese nerdom.

Starting this summer, a dojin manga retailer, e3paper, began expanding to seals with anime and video game characters.

These seals are called "itain", taking the Japanese "ita" (痛), which usually refers to pain, but more and more has a slang meaning: it is typically used for cars covered with nerd stickers. Though, in recent years, it can refer to anything covered in geek, including military hardware. Here, "in" is (), which is the Japanese character for a sign or a mark.

Japan's Traditional Seals Get Very, Very Nerdy These are not rubber stamps, but wood that's been hand carved by artisans.

The itain folks want to create seals that can be "registered" for bank or corporate use. Note that personal inkan are round, while businesses use a square seal.

In Japan, there are three basic kinds of seals: mitomein (認め印), which are unregistered seals for daily use, like stamping for a delivery; ginkoin (銀行印), which are used with bank accounts; and jitsuin (実印), which are used to do things like buy a home or a car or sign a will.

Why three different stamps? You could use your jitsuin for, well, everything, but it's generally thought best not to and to keep them all separate in case something happens. The jitsuin is the most important seal Japanese people (or foreigners like me!) carry, and it's usually kept under lock and key. Knowing how strict the Japanese government is about jitsuin (and what can be on them), these nerdy itain seals would not get the bureaucratic okay.

Japan's Traditional Seals Get Very, Very Nerdy

Itain are priced between ¥1,380 and ¥2,980 per seal, and you can send along the image you want engraved. The rub, however, is that e3paper is currently limiting orders to copyright-free characters in order to avoid lawsuit documents with, no doubt, legal stamps.

銀行印としても使える!? 萌えキャラはんこ「痛印」が人気 [Trendy]

痛印堂 [Official Site]

Culture Smash is a regular dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.