This is both very cool and deeply depressing: A series of photographs taken inside a North Korean arcade proves there are worse things in life than the red ring of death.

While it would be more thrilling to claim that our very own Jordan Deam had been deep undercover in the Hermit Kingdom for the past 14 months, and had only just managed to smuggle out these photos as his last act before being arrested and summarily executed by Kim Jong-Il’s dreaded secret police, the truth is that the photos are posted at UK: Resistance, and they depict the soul-deadening bleakness of the gaming opportunities available to the average North Korean.

Of course, it would be reasonable to express shock at the mere existence of North Korean gamers, but much like a spindly tree clinging tenaciously to a rocky cliff wall, they’re out there, and even in that harsh and ugly environment, they’re pumping quarters. We salute you, our noble North Korean brethren; your dedication and shining example will give us all pause to think the next time we want to start pissing and moaning about how we keep getting screwed by The Man.

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