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Reviewer EndersGame
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Many cardistry decks focus on geometric patterns that accentuate flourishes and movements. Personally, however, I especially enjoy many of the brightly coloured and vibrant decks that have been released by Bocopo Playing Cards, which tend to be far more inexpensive than some of the bigger brands. Bug Playing Cards, or simply called "Bug Glitch" for short, is one of their newest releases, and is a nice addition to their previous line-up.

The word "bug" doesn't mean what you might first think. We're not talking here about bugs that are creepy crawlies from the natural world, but rather bugs that are glitches or errors, like those you might find in a computer program or a bad printing job. A glitch normally is the result of a malfunction or error in software or hardware, and something to avoid. But what about if you deliberately introduce bugs into your work, and turn glitches into a form of art? That's the concept behind this deck.


Besides the black and white canvas that forms the backdrop of the tuck box, the two main colours are a vibrant pink and bright blue. These lively colours immediately suggest something of the energetic feel that this deck wants us to have. The name of the deck on the tuck box is quite clear, but the head shot and other aspects of the artwork have been deliberately manipulated to look like they're the result of a glitch in the printing, with deliberate misalignment and apparent digital artefacts.

The card backs take over the image first seen on the back of the tuck box, but combine the pink and blue to create an overall feel of purple, and also add new glitches, along with a mirrored two-way design. The capital letter B is somewhat reminiscent of Bocopo's own logo, but could equally just be a reference to the word Bug. Thin white borders and splashes of bright pink and blue on the top left of the card backs ensure that fans and spreads look particularly colourful and pleasing to the eye. When imperfection is multiplied into a new pattern, it creates something new and appealing, and that's very much the case here.


The face cards are pleasantly usable, because even though the indices have their own style, they remain clear and instantly recognizable, so you could even use this deck for a card game if you really wanted to. Glitching has been applied to the larger pips on the cards, however, but it is done in a uniform way, so that it doesn't feel completely chaotic. The Spade and Club pips are a dark purple with a touch of pink, while the Heart and Diamond pips are a bright pink with a touch of purple, to ensure that the suits remain sufficiently distinct.

The court cards employ the same range of colours, with the vibrant blue and pink being the standout colours that emerge from the purple. The characters have been depicted in the same glitch art style that pervades the entire deck. These look like they have been inspired by busts of famous historical figures, and perhaps there is some deeper significance here. I've not been able to identify any of them so far myself, but I'd love to know something more about who the personages on the court cards are, assuming they are real people.


So what is the background behind this style of art and design? The concept of glitch art isn't new, of course. In fact, already several decades ago someone in the world of programming coined the popular phrase "It's not a bug, but a feature". And that's really what this deck is all about, but applied to the world of art and design. Commonly called "glitch art", this style became a new avenue for creators to explore controlled imperfection, either by turning it into something beautiful, or by using distorted images to convey something about the limits and imperfection of the technology that pervades our lives.

This is certainly not the first time we've seen glitch art in the world of playing cards. Already back in 2014, Soleil Zumbrunn successfully produced her popular Glitch Playing Cards with the help of Kickstarter funding. But while that was arguably more of a deck for collectors, Bocopo has come up with their own take on this style of artwork, and applied it in a way that makes it geared more towards cardists, making it a good fit alongside the many other cardistry decks they have released.


Other aspects of customization are just as you would expect from a custom deck. There's an oversized and colourful Ace of Spades. Two custom Jokers that continue the glitch art style and apply it to the word "Joker". Two ad cards round out the deck. Printing has been done by USPCC, as is typical for a Bocopo deck, so it handles well for cardistry. For some reason it feels softer out of the box than some of my other Bocopo decks.

You could certainly use the Bug deck for card games if you enjoy the novelty of this creative deck. But I think it will especially shine when put through its paces of an enthusiastic cardist.

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