THE APPEAL OF CUTE MONKEYS
If we agree with Sega and Nintendo advertising and look at the selling numbers of the game Super Monkey Ball, it seems that its characters, MeeMee, GonGon, Baby and AiAi would have to be some of the most successful computer game characters ever created. The game doesn’t have any story, but the monkeys have personality and are ever so cute. Is it possible that the “aesthetics of cuteness” so prevalent in many Japanese consumption and entertainment products has also now conquered Western hearts? This paper examines the construction and reception of the four characters, and reflects about the relationship between the pure visual design element of a game and its success as an entertainment product, including a qualitative study conducted with a number of test subjects exposed to the game.