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Shoot 'em Up
China's (Video) Game of Thrones

A new video game launched by the People’s Daily, a Chinese government-run newspaper, allows users to shoot images of Japanese war criminals. The game, called “Shoot the Devils,” is pretty simple. First, choose from a selection of Japanese World War II-era officials who were convicted of war crimes (options include Iwane Matsui, who was hanged in 1948 for his role in the Nanking Massacre, and Hiranuma Kiichirō, who is described as the “godfather of Japanese fascists”). Next, aim a pistol at images of your selected target as it zooms across the screen to the sounds of a cheerful military tune. Points are awarded for accurate head shots.

The game’s release coincides with the Chinese government’s approval of two new national holidays. The first holiday, officially the “Victory Day of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression”, falls on September 3, and the second, “National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims”, will be December 13. Emotional and colorful stories accompany the official announcement of the new holidays: “Tears flowed when Xia Shuqin, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, learned that the country plans to set a National Memorial Day for victims like her deceased relatives. Seventy-six years after Japanese soldiers butchered her family and left her for dead, Xia, now 83, said the plan was heartening news.”

The game, and the holidays, are intended to teach Japan a lesson, according to officials. “We urge Japanese leaders to reflect on Japan’s history of aggression with a highly responsible attitude toward facts, the people and the future, to correct their mistakes and change their course,” a foreign ministry spokesman said after announcing the new holidays. According to its creators, the video game is designed to “expose the war crimes of the Japanese invaders” and encourage people to “forever remember history.”

This isn’t the first time an official Chinese newspaper has released a video game that targets Japan or stokes the fires of Chinese nationalism. Last summer, Global Times put out a game called “Recover the Diayou Islands” that allows players to invade the island and fight Japanese ships and soldiers.

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  • Thirdsyphon

    I doubt this game will go over well in Japan, but of course that’s kind of the point. I’d question the wisdom of releasing a game like this at a time of escalating tensions, but then I spent many happy hours in my youth playing the text based game “B-1 Nuclear Bomber,” released for the Apple II at the height of the Cold War, in which the goal was to evade Soviet air defenses and drop a nuclear warhead on either your primary target or a list of acceptable alternates. (an accurate map of the USSR, complete with the coordinates of known air defenses, was thoughtfully included in the box). It seemed VERY realistic at the time.

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