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Game On: 4 Made-in-China Console Games to Watch in 2016

Now that China’s ban on console games has been lifted, the first entirely made-in-China video games are entering the gaming market – finally giving domestic developers the time to come to the forefront and get their game on.

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Now that China’s ban on console games has been lifted, the first entirely made-in-China video games are entering the gaming market – finally giving domestic developers the time to come to the forefront and get their game on.

China has a booming gaming industry. Despite different market hurdles, such as rampant software piracy and governmental measures to control game content, China’s game industry is estimated to be worth approximately $22 billion – the largest in the world.

In 2000, China banned console games due to fears that the devices would have a negative effect on the mental and physical development of Chinese children. As stated by China’s Ministry of Culture in July last year, the ban on console game came to an official end, allowing systems such as PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U into the Chinese market.

#1 SHIO: a glimpse of ancient China

One of the games that will be released on the Xbox One in the fourth quarter of 2016 is Shio (汐). Shio is a game developed by the Shanghai-based Coconut Island Studio.

shio

By the end of last year, Shio was put up on game distribution platform Steam, allowing netizens to vote on whether or not to give it the green light for development. The game was given a ‘go’ after only seven days. Many Chinese netizens on Steam have left comments to express their support for the game.

“I hope that the best independent games will become the foundation for the revival of domestic games in China,” commented Jeffcao1996.

Shio revolves around a mysterious warrior with a hidden past. Player use their gaming skills to work their way through a maze of ancient Chinese villages. Over time, the story unfolds and players find out more about the main character’s past, helping him to find a way out of the maze.

Shio is a challenging 2D platformer that features responsive, fluid and action-packed gameplay. The game has an atmospheric and unique design that gives a glimpse of the architecture found in ancient China. Shio uses a chain-jumping mechanic that reminds you of the martial arts that can only be seen in Wuxia films. As the game progresses, mechanics and elements from previous levels are combined to make each level more difficult.

#2 CANDLE MAN: relight your fire

Candle Man (蜡烛人) is another made-in-China console game for the Xbox One. In 2013, the game was first created by the independent game developer Spotlightor Interactive, which is based in Beijing. It was first released as a free-to-play web browser game, but it is now being developed for the Xbox One  and is expected to be released later in 2016.

candleman

Candle Man is a simple 3D platformer that uses the famous Unity game engine. In the game you play as a robot candle and you have to help navigate it out of dungeon-like levels. The idea of the game is that you can light yourself on fire to provide the needed light to be able to see the pitfalls and layout of the path ahead – but the light only burns for a total of 10 seconds per level. The levels have low lighting and are full of the typical obstacles like holes, fireballs and spinning saw blades.

“A lot of work went into this game, and it shows. I like the artistic approach of a low-light game. It definitely adds suspense,” said one of the netizens after having played the game.

#3 HIDDEN DRAGON: Chinese palaces and bamboo forests

Megafun Games is a relatively young company with their first game still in development. The Shenzhen-based company is hard at work developing Hidden Dragon: Shadow Trace (隐龙传:影踪). The game is set to be released in 2016 for the PS4.

hddendraqgon

Hidden Dragon is a 3D side-scrolling game with beautiful sceneries from ancient Chinese palaces and bamboo forests. The game is a beat ‘em up style game with a story of vengeance that takes place during China’s Tang Dynasty (唐朝). Like any other action game, in Hidden Dragon players will make use of combos to fight their way to the end of each level where they need to defeat the Boss. The game is expected to contain 20 hours’ worth of gameplay with eight main levels and also DLCs later on.

The development team of Hidden Dragon released a demo to the public last year. After playing the demo, many netizens had a lot of negative comments about the game. Some complained that the gameplay was too simple with too little combos available for use. Others pointed out that the movements in the game were too rigid. However, there is still time for the development team to improve the game seeing that the game is only scheduled to be released in the latter half of 2016.

#4 KOI: Purifying a koi fish pond

Another PS4 game to come out of China is Koi (鲤). The game is set to be released the Shanghai-based Oasis Games for the PlayStation Store at the end of March.

koi

The game is an intriguing and philosophical title that has you purifying a koi fish pond by solving puzzles, opening lotus flowers and dodging predators. It also appropriately makes use of a “hypnotic” Chinese piano score to soothe your mind as you guide your koi through the pond. When released, Koi will be the first ever console game to be entirely have been made in China (engadget.com).

As of now, there is not one single console game on the market that was entirely produced by Chinese game developers. Japan has since long been the dominant console game producer in the Asian-Pacific arena. But the release of these four games might just be the beginning of a new generation of made-in-China console games, finally giving Chinese developers a chance to get their game on the global market.

By Chi Wen

Images:
Shio – http://www.jianshu.com/p/739ebaf4f5f6
Koi – http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/05/first-chinese-made-ps4-game/
http://news.gao7.com/article/619546-20151228-1

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

Chi Wen is a freelance translator and writer who lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Besides translating and writing, he also teaches English as a Second Language to high school students. Chi is a self-proclaimed geek with a love for video games.

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China Celebs

Chinese Social Media Users Stand up Against Body Shaming

Manya Koetse

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Recent photos of famous actress Gong Li that showed her curvier figure have gone viral on Sina Weibo, receiving over 850 million clicks. With Gong Li’s weight gain becoming all the talk on Weibo, the public’s focus on her appearance has sparked an online wave of body positivity posts, with web users rejecting the all-too-common phenomenon of body shaming on Chinese social media.

First, there was the ‘A4 Waist‘ hype, then there was the ‘iPhone6 Legs‘ trend, the ‘belly button backhand,’ and the online challenge of putting coins in your collarbone to show off how thin you are (锁骨放硬币). Over the past five years, China has seen multiple social media trends that propagated a thin figure as the ruling beauty standard.

But now a different kind of trend is hitting Weibo’s hotlists: one that rejects body shaming and promotes the acceptance of a greater diversity in body sizes and shapes in China.

On August 26, Weibo user @_HYIII_ from Shanghai posted several pictures, writing:

Reject body shaming! Why should we all have the same figure? Tall or short, thin or fat, all have their own characteristics. Embrace yourself, and show off your own unique beauty!

The post was soon shared over 900 times, receiving more than 32,000 likes, with the “body shame” phrase soon reaching the top keyword trending list of Sina Weibo.

 

Gong Li Weight Gain

 

The body positivity post by ‘_HYIII_’ is going viral on the same day that the apparent weight gain of Chinese actress Gong Li (巩俐) is attracting major attention on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and Douyin.

The 54-year-old actress, who is known for starring in famous movies such as Farewell My Concubine, To Live, and Memoirs of a Geisha, was spotted taking a walk with her husband in France on August 24. The photos went viral, with media outlets such as Sina Entertainment noting how Gong Li had become “much rounder” and had put on some “happy fat” (幸福肥).

By now, the hashtag page “Gong Li’s Figure” (#巩俐身材#) has received more than 850 million (!) views on Weibo, with thousands of people commenting on the appearance of the actress. In the comment sections, there were many who lashed out against the focus on Gong Li’s weight gain.

“She just has a regular female body shape. Stop using ‘white / skinny / young’ as the main beauty standard to assess other people,” one commenter said, with another person writing: “Why do you all keep focusing on her figure, did she steal your rice and eat it?!”

 

“Why do you all keep focusing on her figure, did she steal your rice and eat it?”

 

Some people suggested that the COVID19 pandemic might have to do with Gong Li’s weight gain, with others writing: “If she is healthy is what matters, skinny or fat is not the way to assess her beauty.”

What stands out from the discussions flooding social media at this time, is that a majority of web users seem to be fed up with the fact that a skinny body is the common standard of women’s beauty in China today – and that accomplished and talented women such as Gong Li are still judged by the size of their waist.

 

Say No to Body Shaming

 

In light of the controversy surrounding Gong Li’s recent photos and the following discussions, posts on ‘body shaming’ (身材羞辱) are now flooding Weibo, with many Weibo users calling on people to “reject body shaming” (拒绝#body shame#) and to stop imposing strict beauty standards upon Chinese women.

The pressure to be thin, whether it comes from the media or from others within one’s social circle, is very real and can seriously affect one’s self-esteem. Various studies have found an association between body dissatisfaction and social pressure to be thin and body shaming in Chinese adolescents and young adults (Yan et al 2018).

The main message in this recent Weibo grassroots campaign against body shaming, is that there are many ways in which women can be beautiful and that their beauty should not be merely defined by limited views on the ideal weight, height, or skin color.

Over the past decades, women’s beauty ideals have undergone drastic changes in China, where there has been a traditional preference for “round faces” and “plump bodies.” In today’s society, thin bodies, sharp faces, and a pointy chin are usually regarded as the standard of female ideal beauty (Jung 2018, 68). China’s most popular photo apps, such as Meitu or Pitu, often also include features to make one’s face pointier or one’s legs more skinny.

This is not the first time Weibo sees a growing trend of women opposing strict beauty standards. Although the word ‘body shaming’ has not often been included in previous trends, there have been major trends of women opposing popular skinny challenges and even one social media campaign in which young women showed their hairy armpits to trigger discussions on China’s female aesthetics.

Especially in times of a pandemic, many netizens now stress the importance of health: “Skinny or fat, it really doesn’t matter how much you weigh, as long as you’re healthy – that’s what counts.”

Also read:

 

By Manya Koetse

 

References

Jung, Jaehee. 2018. “Young Women’s Perceptions of Traditional and Contemporary Female Beauty Ideals in China.” Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 47 (1): 56-72.

Yan, Hanyi ; Wu, Yingru ; Oniffrey, Theresa ; Brinkley, Jason ; Zhang, Rui ; Zhang, Xinge ; Wang, Yueqiao ; Chen, Guoxun ; Li, Rui ; Moore, Justin. 2018. “Body Weight Misperception and Its Association with Unhealthy Eating Behaviors among Adolescents in China.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (5): 936.

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China Arts & Entertainment

China’s New Hit Drama ‘Nothing But Thirty’ Thrives in the “She Era”

Chinese latest hit drama ‘Nothing but Thirty’ has 20 billion views on its Weibo hashtag page.

Yin Lin Tan

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China’s latest TV drama hit Nothing But Thirty is flooding Weibo discussions. With over 20 billion views on its hashtag page, the show is one of the most popular shows of the season and demonstrates that China’s ‘she era’ (ta shidai 她时代) dramas are all the rage. What’s on Weibo’s Yin Lin Tan explains.

“Have you heard of ‘independent at the age of thirty’ (sān shí ér lì 三十而立)?” Wang Manni asks, her hair pulled back neatly and white shirt cleanly pressed. “I hope that, before I’m thirty, I’ll be promoted to supervisor.”

Riding on the wave of female protagonist (‘heroine’ 大女主) shows that have been taking over China’s entertainment scene, Nothing But Thirty (三十而已) is a 43-episode drama by Dragon Television that follows the challenges of three different women who have reached the ever-important age of thirty.

In a society where women are often expected to be married by their late twenties, a show like this, which tackles women’s present-day struggles, both in their personal and professional lives, has resonated with many.

In fact, the show is so popular that at the time of writing, the show’s hashtag (“Nothing But Thirty”, #三十而已#) has over 20 billion (!) views on Weibo.

 

Depicting the struggles of China’s thirty-something women

 

Nothing But Thirty revolves around the lives of three female leads from different walks of life. Gu Jia (Tong Yao) is a capable businesswoman turned full-time housewife; Wang Manni (Jiang Shuying) is an independent, career-oriented sales assistant; and Zhong Xiaoqin (Mao Xiaotong) is your run-of-the-mill office lady.

For Gu Jia, the birth of her son was what truly transformed her into a full-fledged housewife. In many ways, she seems like a perfect wife and mother: well-educated, capable, and thoughtful. But, eventually, she too has to face life’s challenges.

Driven and hardworking, Wang Manni is confident in both her looks and abilities. Her immediate goal, at least at the start of the show, is to achieve professional success. Throughout the show, her resilience is put to the test, personally and professionally.

Zhong Xiaoqin is described by many netizens as the most “average” or “normal” character. She is kind-hearted -sometimes to the point of being a pushover -, and has spent years at the same company without rising the ranks. Though her story might seem mundane at first, this peace is disrupted when her marriage takes a turn for the worse.

 

A story that resonates with the masses

 

“The show attracted wide attention, and it strongly resonated with female audiences. Many thirty-something working women saw their own lives reflected in the show,” Xinhua recently wrote about the show.

Nothing but Thirty currently carries a 7.6 out of 10 rating on Douban, an online reviewing platform.

Though some reviewers criticized how the later episodes of the show were unnecessarily draggy, most praised it for its portrayal of strong female characters, good acting, and largely realistic depiction of women above the age of thirty.

“I saw myself, and also saw the friends beside me,” a reviewer notes.

In China, women are, more often than not, burdened with expectations of getting married and settling down by the time they are in their late twenties. If you’re single and thirty, that’s made even worse.

Those who fall into this category carry the derogatory label of “leftover women” (剩女), a term that reflects how single women above the age of thirty are seen as consolation prizes or even unwanted goods.

Thirty is thus an incredibly important number, especially for women — something that’s clearly reflected in the show’s concept trailer.

Aside from societal expectations of starting a family, some women now also take it upon themselves to build their careers. In fact, you can chase after professional success without burdening yourself with the idea that you must be married – a notion exemplified by the character of Wang Manni.

Nothing But Thirty also showcases the sheer diversity of experiences for women above thirty: you don’t have to be married, you don’t have to be super capable, and you don’t have to be thinking about having children. Each woman goes through her own unique struggles and isn’t necessarily endowed with the so-called “protagonist’s halo.”

Ultimately, the popularity of the show is driven by the three female leads and the actresses who bring these strong characters to life.

By telling a story that is relatable and touches on relevant social issues, namely on expectations of women in society, Nothing But Thirty was able to achieve widespread popularity and is adding another notch on the trend of China’s ta shidai (她时代) dramas. 

 

The rise of ta shidai shows

 

Ta shidai literally translates to “her era” or “the ‘she’ era.”

Ta shidai shows explore what it’s like to be a woman in China today. The female characters are diverse when it comes to both their backgrounds and character arcs; they might have different jobs, different levels of education, or different personalities. These shows mostly center around a strong female lead and/or a main cast that is primarily female.

More importantly, they often feature capable women and how these women overcame the odds to achieve success.

Recent shows like The Romance of Tiger and Rose (传闻中的陈芊芊) and Sisters Who Make Waves (乘风破浪的姐姐) also fall under this category, as do somewhat older hit shows such as Ode to Joy (欢乐颂) and Women in Beijing (北京女子图鉴).

The Romance of Tiger and Rose is set in a society in which women are in charge and men are subordinate, in a daring reversal of gender roles. Though the show has been criticized for using social issues to attract attention, it gained a decent following for tackling topics like gender inequality and women’s rights.

The Romance of Tiger and Rose (传闻中的陈芊芊)

A reality TV competition that swept the Chinese entertainment scene, Sisters Who Make Waves attempted to rebuke stereotypes of women over 30 as “leftover women.”

The show brought together female celebrities above the age of 30 (the oldest competitor was 52), and had them go through a series of challenges, culminating in a girl group formed by the final competitors.

Nothing But Thirty is just another example of a show that’s attempted to depict the realistic struggles of women in modern-day China.

More Chinese dramas that feature women — specifically, their struggles and the expectations that society places on them — are slated to be released in 2020.

Over the past few years, more attention has been focused on women’s rights in China. As feminism becomes an increasingly important topic of discussion in China, strongly facilitated by social media and not without controversy, companies are likely to hop on the bandwagon and continue producing shows that fall squarely in the ta shidai category, given the genre’s rising popularity.

Though we can’t expect every single show to perfectly, accurately, and realistically portray women’s struggles, the fact that more stories like these are being produced already helps bring such conversations into the mainstream. 

Hopefully, the trend of ta shidai shows is a sign that these issues won’t just be tackled on camera, but in real life as well. 

 
Read more about Chinese TV dramas here.
 

By Yin Lin Tan

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©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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