A rotting pile of gaming's cutest undead

Sure, living things are cute. Puppies, kittens, select grandmothers etc. But it takes something really special to remain adorable even after being violently murdered and reanimated as a shambling undead monstrosity. These select undead have shed the stigmas of unsightly exposed organs and rotting flesh to become truly squeal-worthy creatures of the night, capable of pulling a “OMGIWantToSqueezeItUntilItsBrainsComeOut!!!” reaction from any teenage girl. And for that they’ve earned our undying respect.

Dry Bones (Super Mario Bros)

Bonesy’s a real innovator on the cute-dead circuit, one of the first video game superstars to transform something that’s already considered cute into an even more adorable undead iteration. With his never-say-die attitude (even when repeatedly stomped to bits) and wide, glassy, gravestone eyes, Dry Bones shambles his way into your heart and stays there. Forever.

Cutest feature: His totally fleshless svelteness.

Endearing flaw: Looks dreamy even when mindlessly walking off the edge of ledges and tumbling into infinite pits.

Cuter than:

Grave Spirits (Ghosts n%26rsquo; Goblins)

We admit, angels are cute, with their fluffy wings and androgyny. But for the most part, they kinda all look the same. Grave spirits up the demonic ante by adding darling little beaks and a insatiable thirst for murder to the feathered-wing formula; what, after all, is cuter than the tormented souls of the dead being twisted and warped by Satan to forever stalk the earth in search of human flesh?

Answer: nothing.

Cutest feature: Not only are grave spirits cuties themselves, but they also have the power to cutify their victims by transforming them into frogs (before pecking them to bloody chunks). Squee!

Endearing flaw: Apparently some people DON’T like having the meat pecked from their bones.

Cuter than:

Ghosts (Dragon Warrior)

Giant, colorful dragons may be the stars in Dragon Warrior, but where “adorability” is concerned, ghosts are the cream of the crop. With their jaunty hats, mocking expressions and desire to recruit you into their eternal condemnation, ghosts are almost as much fun to gaze longingly at as to kill for precious experience points.

Cutest feature: Those long red tongues provide decades of pleasure, even in the afterlife.

Endearing flaw: Inability to make physical contact with them only makes our longing stronger.

Cuter than:

Zombies (Zombie Panic in Wonderland)

Let’s face it, zombies are pretty dishy. Like sad puppies, they stagger around banging into walls and bouncing off objects, moaning all the while about how hungry they are and how all they want is to nom nom nom on truckloads of human brains. But those found in Zombie Panic in Wonderland really push the cuteness envelope (which we assume is heart-shaped): they’re delightfully anime, “amorous” and want to exterminate humanity by HUGGING IT TO DEATH. Love, thy name is zombie.

Cutest features: Spiky, decaying hair for days.

Endearing flaws: Sure, they’ll go down if you shoot them, but why would you SHOOT THEM? HUGZ.

Cuter than:

Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley was once a Hardware Writer for GamesRadar and PC Gamer, specialising in PC hardware. But, Alan is now a freelance journalist. He has bylines at Rolling Stone, Gamasutra, Variety, and more.