Tag Archives: Video Games

StarCraft 2 in China: “We Gamers Really Suffer”

China may be [insert phrase about economic development here], but in terms of video gaming, it is very much still a third world country, from an official standpoint. A mix of protectionist import regulations and overzealous self-censorship on the part of some gaming companies has given the outside world the impression that Chinese gamers exist in some kind of bizarre gaming hell.

In fact, as anyone who has set foot on the mainland knows, anything available outside China is available here too, and thanks to intellectual property theft, it’s probably cheaper, too. Consoles may be technically illegal, but in actuality, they’re everywhere. The summer’s hottest release, StarCraft 2, was available in China the same day it was available everywhere else, even if it wasn’t officially released here. (In fact, it was even possible to legally purchase the game and download a digital copy from China, which is how I got mine).

Of course, the lack of official support certainly causes frustration. And the perceptions of Chinese gamers outside of China has led to strong prejudices, especially in Taiwan, whose servers are often populated with large numbers of Mainland players looking to get in on the action. One of our commenters was kind enough to point me in the direction of a few BBS posts that discuss these issues; I have translated selected comments below.

Prejudice against Mainland gamers

[A word of explanation: since games are online, Mainland Chinese gamers are usually identified by Taiwanese gamers because they use simplified rather than traditional characters to communicate.]

Original post: “I was cursed at by Taiwanese players for no reason at all! How many others have had similar experiences? For example, being called ‘Mainland dog’ or ‘communist [agongzi] ((阿共仔, which is apparently rude slang for “communist” in this context.))’? And I used to really like Taiwanese people…”

“This happens quite often. Just ignore them, there’s no point in arguing with the brain-damaged. I’ve heard things like ‘Mainland dog’ hundreds of times.”

“There are extremists everywhere; just ignore them, there’s no need to implicate everyone from the same place as the extremist.”

“We go to Taiwanese servers to play games, not to look for people to curse us. And when we get into the games, we don’t talk, because it’s not easy to communicate as you [Taiwanese people] don’t recognize some simplified character forms. PS: I have also been cursed before [on Taiwanese servers].”

“If you’re playing WoW and you go to Taiwanese servers you will definitely be cursed at.”

“As soon as someone Taiwanese spots a simplified character, they just yell ‘Mainland dog’ over and over.”

“Yes, but in someone else’s territory you must swallow your anger, it’s all because we don’t have our own battle.net”

“Just use the Sougou pinyin input method to type in traditional characters.”

Many posters also pointed out that most Taiwanese are not so prejudiced, and urged the original poster not to lump them all together with the bad eggs.

Frustration over censorship and slow official releases

Original post: “Starcraft 2 is out. When will Netease release the official version? They won’t make us wait too long, right? Anyway, battle.net already requires a monthly fee, so how could they see such a big cake and not feel hungry? [i.e., doesn’t Netease want to make money from people playing Starcraft?]”

“Don’t bother waiting. Even if you manage to wait for it, it will just be river-crabbed [censored].”

“Netease: Don’t ask us, we want to put it up online tonight, please go ask the relevant government departments!”

“This user’s post has already been deleted.”

“In the year 3000-something.”

“[Riffing on the official patch that removed all skeletons from WoW] Look at the zerg and their zombies, our goal is to keep there from being any bones at all in the game, so just imagine the Queen of Blades in the background with two meaty wings [in the game, the Queen of Blades has bones for wings].”

“[The official Chinese version] will be out when Starcraft 3 is released.”

“Don’t even hold out hope, if you want to buy it just buy [an unofficial version].”

“In addition to waiting, we will also have to wait some more. We gamers really suffer.”

New on ChinaGeeks

  1. We’ve made a few tweaks to the blogroll, so check that out, and are always looking for more suggestions, especially for Chinese bloggers to follow.
  2. There’s a new post on ChinaGeeks Chinese: 关于矿难的一些思考. Check it out!

Interview with the Karmapa Lama

The Karmapa Lama is “the only senior Buddhist leader recognized by Beijing, the Tibetans and India.” He’s also a 24 year old who likes hip-hop and violent video games. Recently, he gave an interview in the Times of India. It’s an interesting reflection of the ways Buddhism continues to adapt to the times.

He also speaks a bit about tensions between Tibet and China, but more or less just echoes the Dalai Lama’s policy. No surprises there. What is a bit of a surprise is his attitude about video games:

Is that why you play war games on your play station because many might say it’s inappropriate for a Buddhist monk dedicated to peace to play war games?

Well, I view video games as something of an emotional therapy, a mundane level of emotional therapy for me. We all have emotions whether we’re Buddhist practitioners or not, all of us have emotions, happy emotions, sad emotions, displeased emotions and we need to figure out a way to deal with them when they arise.

So, for me sometimes it can be a relief, a kind of decompression to just play some video games. If I’m having some negative thoughts or negative feelings, video games are one way in which I can release that energy in the context of the illusion of the game. I feel better afterwards.

The aggression that comes out in the video game satiates whatever desire I might have to express that feeling. For me, that’s very skilful because when I do that I don’t have to go and hit anyone over the head.

But shouldn’t meditation take care of that?

No, video games are just a skilful method.

His comments on the India vs. China tension are also interesting if, again, not surprising:

Obviously I can’t speak from the perspective of a politician who is active in these communications. Obviously the government of each country has its own interests in the ongoing conversation. They are doing what they can to advance their own interests. I’m not able to comment on what those interests might be. But if I were to make some observations and guesses from my own vantage point, it seems to me that the Chinese government is acting somewhat deliberately in attempts to slightly irritate the government of India.

Because of this the neighbourly relationship has suffered a little bit. India has always been a relatively peaceful country, a country that has always had a reasonably good record of valuing peace, India does not seem interested in pursuing any type of conflict, however, India is on the rise in the world and perhaps the Chinese government feels some type of impulse to blunt this rise somehow. Perhaps that is what is causing some of the things we see today.

Tangentially relevant to this blog’s area of focus? Yup. But still interesting, no?

Niko Bellic (GTA IV) Joins the Chengguan

CLARIFICATION: TIME’s China blog story sort of implies that this is an official release, or somehow actually part of the game. It is not. As far as anyone can tell, this is just a hack/mod/re-skin created by a fan or fans in China for the purpose of making a joke. It isn’t something you could ever see by playing GTA IV. (As a sidenote, “ultraviolent” TIME? Really? Someone needs to watch A Clockwork Orange again).

NOTE: We seem to be experiencing some technological weirdness at the moment. If some or all of the pictures below don’t load, try reloading. If that doesn’t work, you should still be able to read the captions, the pictures are the exact same (and in the same order) as those posted in the original article on ESWN as linked below.

Recently, ESWN posted a sina.com thread about a humorous GTA IV re-skin that puts the violent game’s protagonist in the uniform of a chengguan, China’s notoriously violent city administrators. Chengguan are almost universally reviled for their corrupt and often violent methods. Usually, they’re booting vendors off of the streets of Chinese cities, but now apparently they can terrorize the virtual denizens of Liberty City, too.

ESWN didn’t translate the subtitles in the pictures, which are actually pretty funny, so we’ll repost them below with the subtitles (loosely) translated as captions. Enjoy.

I am a Liberty City City Administrator, I just finished my training in China and today is my first day of work.
"I am a Liberty City City Administrator, I just finished my training in China and today is my first day of work."
With great power comes great responsibility; I know this thoroughly: this city needs me!
"With great power comes great responsibility; I know this thoroughly: this city needs me!"
In a city as dangerous as this, driving a normal car would be unsafe. This has 3cm thick iron plating, bulletproof glass, explosion-proof wheels...these are the most fundamental elements of a safe car, and also, this car is from China..."
"In a city as dangerous as this, driving a normal car would be unsafe. This has 3cm thick iron plating, bulletproof glass, explosion-proof wheels...these are the most fundamental elements of a safe car, and also, this car is from China..."
Heading out! Todays mission is to clean up the small stalls selling things around Central Park.
"Heading out! Today's mission is to clean up the small stalls selling things around Central Park."
Theres someone selling hot dogs. Perfect, Im hungry!
"There's someone selling hot dogs. Perfect, I'm hungry!"
Ive experienced this in training before, Im an expert!
"I've experienced this in training before, I'm an expert!"
We didnt get along well, lets go!
"We didn't get along well, let's go!"
You want to run? You underestimate my abilities! Shit!
"You want to run? You underestimate my abilities! Shit!"
The wings of a white crane?
"The wings of a white crane?"
Check out my cold stare.
"Check out my cold stare."
Fuck! Your daddy (i.e. me) doesn't ever pay at restaurants in China, I eat your hot dog and you dare whisper? Do you have a permit for being so ballsy?
“I've taken a life, time to get out of here!"
"I've taken a life, time to get out of here!"