Game over

The Chinese government is banning fifty video games that may have a "negative influence on youth." Nebulous theories follow ...

News out of mainland China today (coincidentally hard on the heels of the props to the Chinese propaganda posters site) is that the government there is banning fifty video games that may have a "negative influence on youth." While the reasons for some of the inclusions on the list are fairly obvious (Battlefield Vietnam and Painkiller both feature the Chinese army as icky bad guys), the more "benign" items being banned are puzzling indeed. Specifically, The Sims and FIFA World Cup Soccer 2005. The current GeekLife theories are:

1 - The Sims relies a little too heavily on stripped-down capitalism for its basic gameplay. The whole "Get a better job, buy more crap, and enjoy more status and happiness" motif may not be one that the Chinese government wants its younger citizens to be exploring.

2 - The Chinese national team's matches are only shown on state-run television when the team wins or draws. Losses are not shown nor are they mentioned in any media roundups or reports in China proper. FIFA 2005 might let gamers see the spectacle of a team loss for the first time ever, bursting the carefully crafted bubble.

Both of these theories are 50% guesswork and 50% bullshit. If you have anything better (either more creative or more concrete) feel free to send them along.

Posted: Wed - January 26, 2005 at 03:30 PM