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1. Guns Blazing

What it is: PC and Xbox game “Palworld” has rapidly found a huge following, peaking last week with 2+ million players online at once. Now they’re under investigation by Nintendo’s Pokémon Company for intellectual property infringement.
Why gamers are loving it: While it certainly leans heavily into classic “Pokémon” elements, “Palworld” also combines elements of “Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,” “Fortnite,” and “Minecraft” into the gameplay experience. The result is an open-world, survival-style game that involves, yes, collecting lots of monsters the game calls “pals,” but also mining for resources, and shooting down enemies. Another notable difference: “Pals” can be butchered for meat and exploited for their labor. (Not exactly the Ash/Pikachu dynamic.) Nintendo will investigate to see if there’s evidence to suggest the game’s developer based their pals directly on Pokémon models, but unless Nintendo actually brings a lawsuit, Palworld will continue unhindered. The internet-allegations have done little so far to slow the popularity of the game, which has sold 8 million copies in just six days.
Continue the conversation: Have you heard of Palworld? What do you think about it?

2. Daylist Discourse

What it is: A new Spotify feature called “Daylist” curates playlists for users that are customized to the listening habits of their daily rhythms.
Why it’s a meme: Spotify has shown yet again that they can turn their cold and technical algorithm into a product that feels warm and personable. “Daylists” are based on users’ listening histories, and they release in users’ feeds multiple times a day. Each time a new Daylist drops, it is tailored to the highly specific experience that Spotify predicts the user will be having when they see it. The result is playlists that often nail what the listener is looking for when they open the app. More than the songs themselves, each Daylist has an auto-generated title that reads as an uncanny description of the way we live out our days. (One Axis writer has “stripped down acoustic worship Tuesday nights” while another has “microcore meme Tuesday evenings.”) Music is transcendent to begin with, but seeing our listening habits described so succinctly makes users feel known and seen in a way they want to share—sometimes sincerely but, more often, for a laugh.
Continue the conversation: Do you usually feel like listening to one type of music in the morning and a different type of music at night?

3. Mobbed Up

What it is: The latest “trend” to resurrect on TikTok is a style that’s being called the “mob wife.” One TikTok went so far as to declare, “Clean girl is out. Mob wife is in!”
What it looks like: Last year’s makeup trends, especially, were about pared back beauty, understated contouring, and letting impeccably-cared for skin take center stage. The “mob wife” aesthetic sees the pendulum swinging in the complete other direction, with a full face of foundation, heavy lids, and lined lips taking the stage. Fans of the trend are going thrift shopping for staples of the look like fur and faux fur coats, stiletto boots, and loud prints. Coincidentally (or not), the trend aligns with the 25th anniversary of “The Sopranos,” with that series experiencing a renaissance of sorts as young people discover it for the first time. Young people who are excited about the mob wife trend may be attracted to its in-your-face energy, unapologetic glamor, and how it alludes to a proximity to the powerful.
Continue the conversation: Do you think the “mob wife” aesthetic will actually take off?

Resource of the Week

7 Minute Video on Roblox: With just under half of its players being under the age of 12, and around a quarter of them being under nine, it’s safe to say that Roblox is a popular gaming platform for younger players. Part of the draw of Roblox is that it’s a “free” game that lets players create and play user-created games, offering a level of novelty that most games lack. It’s also not perfect, especially when it comes to protecting tweens. In our 7 Minute Video on Roblox, we explore how the game’s design can be (but isn’t always) detrimental to its young playerbase.

The 3 Biggest Reasons Why Young Adults Choose Jesus

According to 2023 data from the Associated Press, 43% of people in the U.S. between ages 18 to 29 now identify as religious “nones,” defined as those who favor no religion in particular. Many have attempted to explain why so many are walking away from organized religion. But Dr. Jeff Myers thinks that might be the wrong question.

Myers is the President of Summit Ministries, an organization with the goal of helping give students an unshakeable faith. “When I’m asking the question why do 70% of young adults walk away from the church,” Myers says, “I should be asking, ‘Why do 30% stay?’”

In our conversation this week, we unpacked three of the primary reasons why young adults choose Jesus and stay in the faith. Those reasons are:

  • They’re equipped with a biblical worldview that makes sense of the actual things going on in their world. (In other words, they’re shown how what we talk about on Sundays connects with what happens throughout the rest of the week.)
  • They make connections with older mentors in the church—with people who have lived experience of what it means to follow Jesus over a lifetime.
  • They become part of a vibrant community of people who are trying to live as if their beliefs are actually true.