BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- There is still no
release date for "Chinese Heroes," a government-backed online game.
Begun in September 2005, the patriotic Internet game showcases100 national heroes in the hope of infusing young gamers with traditional Chinese values, such as altruism and patriotism.
The heroes all have cute cartoon images.
The game aims to wean young players from the grip of
the dramatic, violent games with stunning graphic interfaces that are immensely
popular with young people the world over.
But can members of the Communist Party of China (CPC)
or ancient generals really become new game heroes and brush aside the challenge
from Internet orcs?
"Five heroes have been developed, but we have not yet
decided the launch date," said Zhuge Hui, a spokesman for Shanda, a major
Shanghai gaming company that the government has tasked with developing the new
The first group of heroes includes Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662),
a Qing Dynasty general who liberated Taiwan from the Dutch, and Lei
Feng (1940-1962), a faithful CPC member and a national example of altruism.
Shan Hui, chief designer of the game, said the heroes
gather on "Hero Square," where gamers can click their statues to learn about
their experiences and carry out tasks like moving bricks and catching raindrops
on a building site. Gamers will be asked about the heroes' life stories to earn
"We hope the game will teach players about Chinese
ethics," said Kou Xiaowei, an official with China's General Administration of
Press and Publication (GAPP), main sponsor of the initiative.
However, gamers being treated in the Beijing Internet
Addiction Treatment Center were skeptical about the games, which they said
sounded "too simple" and even "comical."
"The game sounds boring to me, it's a turn-off," said
Wang Yuhang, a 14-year-old boy in the center. Eighty out of the 100 teenagers at
the center are addicted to an American online game called the World of Warcraft
(WoW), one of the most popular in China.
According to the company's financial report, on
a typical evening in China there may be anywhere up to 630,000 gamers playing WoW
simultaneously online in the country. While the American game reaps huge
profits, "Chinese Heroes" remains blocked at the drawing board stage.
"Teenagers seek adventure and fulfillment in dramatic
and skill-demanding games like WoW. If hero games do not focus on killing and
domination, gamers will definitely not play them," said Tao Ran, director of the
According to Tao, China has 15.4 million young
netizens, two million of whom are Internet addicts, and the number is increasing
"Internet legislation is miles behind the development
of the industry. Games need to be strictly classified and Internet bars that
illegally solicit young gamers must be severely punished," he said.
The online game industry, which will generate 2006 revenues of 1 billion U.S. dollars, is likely to grow by 35.5 percent annually from 2006 to 2010, according to statistics from China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP). Enditem