Chinese gamers have to put up with a lot of crap from the mainstream Chinese press, but an article earlier this week in Southern Daily really went beyond the pale, and has millions of Chinese gamers calling for a public apology. The article in question quotes Tao Hongkai, a Chinese professor and “China’s number one specialist in kicking web addiction”, as saying some particularly unpleasant things for gamers to hear. But the kicker is this gem; Tao claims that ‘according to research':
“The damage that violent web games do to players’ brains is like the influence of opium on the brain of an addict; this shows that violent web games are internet opium, spiritual narcotics. Earning a living playing web games is like being a drug dealer; this way of living can only harm others and harm yourself.”
Of course, what Tao is saying is total and complete bullshit. While web games certainly can be addictive, and China arguably has a serious problem with game addiction, I have never seen any proper scientific study suggesting that violent games actually damage the brain, or one that compares violent online games with the effects of opium. In fact, Tao’s argument is an obvious appeal to emotion, and his choice of opium as a comparison is especially disturbing given the historical connotations that drug has in China.
Luckily, China’s gamers are not stupid enough to believe that violent video games are going to destroy the nation and plunge it into a second “century of humiliation” at the hands of foreign imperialist powers. Instead, they’re organizing to pry a public apology out of Tao. Nearly all of China’s gaming web portals have covered the story and posted videos and other comments calling for Tao to back down. Some game companies are even using the controversy as a marketing tool; Netease is running the ad below for one of its fantasy games. The red text reads: ‘Earn a little money to show professor Tao!’ and the chalkboard in the background reads ‘I was wrong!’
I could write about this for ages, but the comment of one Southern Daily commenter on the original post pretty much sums it up perfectly: “Look, another dumbass has appeared.”
(via Sina Games)