Deathsmiles and Its Notoriously Saucy Papercraft Minigame

Deathsmiles on Steam

Deathsmiles, Cave’s 2007 arcade bullet-hell classic, has never really been a mainstream hit here in the United States. It’s notable, however, for using some pretty “unusual” tricks as part of its marketing strategy.

Promotional flyers were handed out in Japan that contained a papercraft minigame on the backside of them, the point of which was to get a peek at an anime girl’s bottom. By cutting and folding this thing properly (following the included directions), you’d wind up with a skirt and slip that you could blow on, lifting it up to reveal the character’s panties.

Deathsmiles Papercraft Minigame

Did it work? Maybe. The game found its way outside of arcades, with a 2009 Xbox 360 release, an iOS version, and a PC version via Steam (to be released March 10, 2016).

But it’s hard to attribute 100% of its notoriety to its unscrupulous, unashamedly pervy marketing, as it featured some solid, satisfying gameplay in a niche that’s mostly fading into the background here in the West. It was fairly well-reviewed, after all.

Plus, Cave is a powerhouse of Japanese arcade shmups, and it even holds a Guiness World Record for “most prolific developer of danmaku shooters” (danmaku means “bullet curtain”). It’s hardly unusual that any of its games, Deathsmiles included, would have a lasting legacy a decade later.

Still, it’s hard to forget that one part of that legacy is a panty-peeking papercraft minigame.

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