Developers bring Hong Kong spirit to life through games

“Today, the internet has this power to keep the truth alive, and also to make people’s opinions known,” says Jerry, one of the four developers working on Name of will, who preferred not to make his full name public for security reasons. “We hope to remind people that what the government is telling you may not be true. That you have to fend for yourself.

Zeitgeist created Name of will first and foremost, he says, for the enjoyment of the player. But also to let “the international community experience the Hong Kong spirit of our generation”. Through the online promotion, Zeitgeist raised $ 25,000 in funding for its game on Kickstarter, mainly from Hong Kongers. That’s almost double what the team were hoping for and a good example of the supportive spirit they want the world to catch a glimpse of.

In a dismal, dark, and rather spooky world – which looks like a futuristic version of Hong Kong – the police are presented as dogs, those who remain apolitical are pigs (that’s almost everyone) and the protesters look like cockroaches – all insults commonly used in Hong Kong, and directly inspired by Farm animal, says the development team.

“If our game can make at least one person fight, then maybe we can change the world a bit,” says Mandy, another Zeitgeist member.

“We are trying to paint a general scenario of how dictatorships shape society. You will see the framework of Hope, life under surveillance, everything is happening in mainland China, ”Mandy continues, referring to the government’s use of facial recognition technology, digital surveillance and even personality assessments. point-based. “But it’s not just happening in China. There are so many countries going through similar things. We’re just trying to give an experience of what it’s like to live under a dictatorship, and more specifically what life in Hong Kong is like.

Through moral dilemmas and tough decisions that influence the progression and ending of the game, the developers hope to not only provide you with a thrilling gaming experience, but also make you think about how you live your life.

Mighcty, who wishes to remain anonymous because of his concerns about harassment, shares this sentiment. He’s an independent developer who recently managed to raise nearly $ 15,000 in a month from supporters of the democracy movement, all to fund the development of his game, Datura’s legacy. The game is a fictional 2D fantasy story inspired by the Hong Kong protests, in which Mighcty hopes to preserve the memory of key events of the past few years. With a release slated for 2022, he also hopes to spread the story of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement to audiences he might not otherwise have reached. In Legacy of Datura, the player will travel between parallel universes, all different versions of Hong Kong, fighting cops and throwing magical fireballs at bad guys.

But it was not initially structured that way. In early 2019, “when I started planning the game it wasn’t about the protests,” Mighcty told WIRED. “Because they hadn’t happened yet.”

“Now I’m trying to create a story that encourages people in Hong Kong to keep doing what they want to do,” he says. “That no matter what, they can keep fighting for their dreams, they can keep fighting for their life, whatever it is. I just want them to remember why they are doing certain things.

The game takes place in a fantastic version of the mass protests of 2019, and, in the demo which is currently available to the public, the player is immersed in one of the defining moments of the movement: the Yuen Long Attack, or Incident 721. It may not mean much to you, but to pro-democracy Hong Kongers it means everything.

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