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China Says Video Game Allowing Players to Shoot U.S. Troops Instills Patriotic Values

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 5 2013

Screenshot from CCTV report about Glorious Mission video game.

The video game Glorious Mission, designed for and by the Chinese military, was initially meant as a training aid for soldiers. Released to the public a few months ago, it has already been downloaded over a million times.The BBC reports that the video game is China's newest propaganda tool, and cites army sources who agree Glorious Mission was made "available to the wider public...in order to instill patriotic values, the core values of the military."

The BBC quoted a young man who spends more than 10 hours a week at a Shanghai Internet cafe (on the day, the reporter said almost every one of the 100 terminals was occupied with gamers): "Most of the players here are young. A military video game could make you feel familiar with and then develop an affinity for the army."

Developed by China's Giant Network Technology and supported by the People's Liberation Army, Glorious Mission was introduced to China's military trainees in 2002. It was supposedly modeled on the U.S. Army-made game America's Army. A Wired story highlights the key difference: "Where the bad guys in America's Army are generic Middle Eastern or Central Asian insurgents and terrorists, the enemy in Glorious Mission is apparently the U.S. military. A TV report offers glimpses of an American-made Apache gunship crashing in flames.


CCTV report on the popularity of Glorious Mission, a video game created by the Chinese military

However,TechinAsia watched online videos o fthe game in action — the version released to the public last year — and reports that the alleged anti-Americanism of the game was overstated. The writer also gives a thorough analysis of the quality of the game, comparing it to Call of Duty, and concludes that "Glorious Mission looks like a competent if unoriginal shooter, and for players who want to put themselves in the shoes of the PLA, it is certainly the most realistic option out there."

The Chinese Communist Party initially found video games threatening. Consoles that rapidly grew in popularity through the 1990s were officially banned in 2000 to prevent them from corrupting Chinese youth. Many Chinese gamers have found their way around the 12 year old ban (which engadget explains isn't really a ban), but government-sanctioned Glorious Mission is evidence that Chinese officials will insert themselves into the video game market in order to control it.

Whether the ban on video game consoles is lifted or not, it's hard to believe the government that censors 100 millions tweets per day blocks news media sites won't continue to control and manipulate the Chinese video game industry.