Hong Kong riots pollute online video games

By Zhao Yusha and Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/25 20:18:42

Curbing virtual violence permeating youth ‘urgent’

Photo taken on Nov. 2, 2019 shows rioters at the Causeway Bay area in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua)

Chinese mainland players resoundingly defeated Hong Kong rioters in online video games and said the latter are also doomed to fail in real life situations, as a game developed by a US-based company was questioned for providing game outfits resembling Hong Kong riots.

The action-adventure game Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) upgraded a new version that enables players to decorate their characters in black-clad clothing with gas masks and yellow helmets, which bear a close resemblance to violent Hong Kong protesters. The game is developed by Rockstar Games with their headquarters based in New York.

After the information regarding the update spread, many Hong Kong protester users mobilized themselves together to buy sets of clothing dubbed "Glory to Hong Kong" and joined a team called "Stand With Hong Kong," reported BBC. 

The BBC also said players staged a mass disruption of the city depicted in the game where they vandalized metro stations and attacked police cars with petrol bombs, resembling the violence of the Hong Kong rioters in real life. 

This infuriated players in the Chinese mainland, leading them to vent their anger using the platform. They said that they had to fight to protect their dignity from being crushed. 

As more mainland players discovered the activities of supporters of the Hong Kong rioters, they decided to battle the riot-supporting players in the game's multiplayer mode, a mainland player, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times.

Some mainland players formed up teams via social media, while others were able to defeat Hong Kong riot supporters single-handedly due to their advanced skill level, the player said, noting that from his own experiences, most Hong Kong riot supporters are "noobs," a word used to describe a player who has little idea of what they should do to win a game.

"Mainland players are united on this. We've wanted to teach Hong Kong rioters a lesson for a long time, but that's difficult in real life. Now these riot supporters gave us an opportunity," he said. 

Mainland players have also found certain players changing their game IDs or clan names to support Hong Kong rioters in multiplayer competitive modes in games such as Call of Duty. Mainland players would defeat them, mocking them over their characters' dead bodies.

Many Chinese players and netizens also condemned Rockstar Games. Netizens stated including such outfits in their games "may hint support for Hong Kong rioters," another GTA V player, surnamed Jiang, told the Global Times.

The company failed to reply to the Global Times as of press time. 

Violent video games play a very important role in misleading Hong Kong rioters into real life violence and disruption of society, many believed it was a rare opportunity to put virtual violence into practice; in this case, preventing such games from further permeating Hong Kong youth is an urgent task, Lawrence Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times. 

Newspaper headline: HK riots pollute games