So Many Hugs (Screenshot: YouTube)

In May, Guinness World Records published an incredible video of a man, Krishna Kumar of Pradesh, India, hugging an astonishing 79 individuals in only one minute. That’s one and a third hugs per second. In total, Kumar managed to squeeze 83 of the 88 young men who had lined up for a rapid-fire embrace, though only 79 of the attempted embraces were considered legitimate hugs by the Guinness people. There are strict guidelines about this stuff: “The rules for this record title state that to count as a genuine hug, both arms have to be wrapped around the other person in a close embrace.” Some of the failed hugs were described as “headlocks.” Emotional intimacy, either genuine or feigned, is not required. In fact, Kumar’s hugs are perfunctory and without emotion. He is The Terminator of hugging. If all this sounds like it has the potential to be a killer video game, then a new video from Super Deluxe entitled “So Many Hugs” is a source of great entertainment.

In this video, created by video madman Dominick Nero, a counter at the bottom of the screen keeps track of Kumar’s hugs, as if each one represented a vanquished enemy. As he successfully hugs one young man after another, messages of encouragement like “OUTSTANDING” and “WELL DONE” flash on the screen. Dramatic sound effects and intense music add to the video game-like atmosphere. The player has at least three lives, but Kumar doesn’t need them. He gets the job done on the first try. In all, a real game like So Many Hugs could be a breakthrough for the video game industry. It’s fast-paced and competitive, but it doesn’t rely on death or violence. And it’s a great workout. Just look at Kumar’s shirt by the end.

Here, for the record, is the original footage. It’s still pretty cool on its own, even without the Nintendo-style embellishments. Kumar hugs like a true champion.

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