Dodge Police and Rubber Bullets
An AFP reporter tried out the game at an industrial building that developers had hired out to showcase their work.
Unlike Hong Kong’s frontline protesters in the real world — who often hurl bricks and petrol bombs at police and trash pro-China businesses — players are not allowed to engage in violence themselves.
Instead they have to throw away incoming tear gas rounds, avoid rubber bullets using a road-sign shield or a well-timed dodge, and run away when police charge.
The game, which currently lasts only around 10 minutes, was submitted to Steam, the world’s largest gaming distribution platform which hosts many amateur creations, but they did not hear back.
China’s politics can be hugely risky territory for game developers, especially studios that have a presence in the hugely lucrative mainland market.
Earlier this year, Taiwan-based studio Red Candle Games pulled its popular horror title “Detention” from Steam after Chinese mainland gamers spotted a hidden message lampooning president Xi Jinping.
After hearing nothing from Steam for a month, the Hong Kong developers submitted their game to Itch, a less well-known platform for indie developers where it is being offered for free.
“This is certainly political censorship,” the team said. “Steam is trying to avoid another Detention incident and losing its market in China.”
Steam did not respond to request for comment.
Lam said she wanted the game to raise international awareness for Hong Kong’s protesters — and also encourage local activists to keep going after more than 20 weeks of political unrest.
“We want to emphasise this is not a game,” she said.
“We don’t want anyone to feel they have achieved something in this virtual world. We hope they can return to streets after playing this,” she added.
PICTURES BY ANTHONY WALLACE/afp