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The Chinese Socialist MMOG 200

Posted by Zonk
from the little-red-mmog dept.
GP writes "How different is China? In the online game version of the idealized Socialist state, you gain experience points by 'doing good deeds' and 'thwarting spys'. You can even meet Chairman Mao!" From a great writeup by Scott Jennings on the game: "And now we have the online MMO version, 'Learn From Lei Feng Online', which allows you to... mend socks. Again - not making any of this up. To quote from the original Xinhua story 'For beginners, sewing and mending socks is the only way to increase experience and to upgrade,' said Jiao Jian, a six-grade pupil in Yuexiu District, quoted by the newspaper. He then continues. 'Every time you are promoted to a higher level, your clothes will become more average,' he said. I'm pretty sure this isn't a translation screw up. The longer you grind, the more you look like everyone else. I guess new users wear designer pastels or something."
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The Chinese Socialist MMOG

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  • by Klowner (145731) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:56PM (#14938926) Homepage
    I wonder if you get an immediate ban for using 1337 Falun Gong macros.
  • Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    How much do you get for killing infant girls?

    //and before you ask, yes. When this type of thing is so pervasive in your country, it is very necessary to repeatedly point it out
    • Hopefully not as many points as you get for holding up a line of tanks, by standing in front of them.
      • That sounds like something that would get you Wanted -- where other players can kill you for a day of age free of lawsys penalty.
      • That only happens when TV cameras are around. If they aren't there you just get run over and shot [wakkah.net], no matter how many people are standing in the way.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

        by lastninja (237588)
        What are you refering to? I have searched Google.cn and I can not find a reference to this "holding up a line of tanks" that you speak of.
    • It happens all the time in communist China and it is a major part of their culture.

      Here are some facts for other mods to read:
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5953508 [msn.com]
      • by kongjie (639414) <kongjie@NOSPAM.mac.com> on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:26AM (#14939418)
        The original post referred to "killing infant girls."

        Infanticide does not happen "all the time" in China. Your MSN reference noted two phenomena: sex determination via selective abortion and infanticide. One is much more pervasive in China and I can assure you it's not infanticide, which was more common before the advent of Communism in China.

        Speaking of Communism, you're also way off base blaming "Communism" for this phenomenon. China has a one-child policy which most experts feel is a necessary thing. It's because of their population size, not ideology. The preference for sons has its origins in China's agrarian/Confucian roots. It's an unfortunate thing that when you combine the "good" one-child policy with the "bad" preference for sons, you end up with trouble on a large scale.

        In fact, if it hadn't been for China's best-known "Communist" leader, i.e., Mao Zedong, the population problem might not be so extreme, but unfortunately Mao held that China's greatest exploitable resource was manpower and thus more babies was more power, so he ignored calls for population control and urged baby-making instead. So in a sense the situation is opposite of how you portray it.

        • Parent is right (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Oldsmobile (930596) on Friday March 17, 2006 @03:15AM (#14940024) Journal
          Most slashdotters don't know a damn thing about China. It is like listening to a bunch of humanities students talking about computers.

          "Man, I just re-formatted my processor because I got a virus or a bug or something in my window."

          "Yeah I know, you should use that linux-program I heard it really zaps those bugs!"
          • I know comp.sci grad students that know little about home PCs as well. Anthropologists may in general be luddites, but understanding the workings of a PC/OS is something you go to a technical school for.
      • by pomo monster (873962) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:29AM (#14939432)
        Rather than use policy and statistics refute your egregiously false (and borderline racist) conception of Chinese culture, I'll just point you to some resources so that you can begin to correct [barnesandnoble.com] your [prweb.com] ignorance [lonelyplanet.com], if you so desire [orbitz.com].
        • Surprisingly, the Chinese will go pee pee in your coke when they want to play a joke. I guess a few of the stereotypes are based in reality.
        • None of your supposed resources refute my claim: female infanticide [msn.com] (including abortion) happens en masse in Communist China [telegraph.co.uk].

          That is Communist China, is it not? Or are you arguing that it is happening in alternative-universe China? Sidereal China? Capitalist and Democratic China? Huh? Help me out here. If it isn't happening in Communist China then where is it happening?

          Here's a reading comprehension aid for you: I said it was happening in China, not because of Communism. I do stand by the fact that the Comm
      • Well, the gender representation in China isn't really that alarming. According to the CIA World Factbook [cia.gov], males represent 53.0% of the 0-14 age group (lower for the 15-65 age group), compared to 51.1% in the US [cia.gov], and the UK [cia.gov] for the same 0-14 age range.

        If you want to see something really disturbing, look at the 15-65 age group for mid-east countries such as Kuwait and Qatar: 63.8% and 69.5% respectively.. ~2:1.
        • The thing, you see, is that Kuwait and Qatar don't have a population of a billion people.

          There are like 840,000 Quatari and 2.2 million Kuwaiti, that's respective male excedents of 155,400 and 256,000. China's 53% vs 51% for a population of 1,300,000,000 translates into a male excess of 26,000,000...

          You could replace the whole Kuwaiti population by women 10 times and you still wouldn't have enough wives for these guys...

      • The sex-selective abortion and, less commonly, infanticide, are much more common in the countryside. If you had followed Chinese news, the governent has been trying to stop this. They've taken rather extreme measures, in fact, such as outlawing doctors from telling the parents what the sex of their child is going to be. They've also done some less extreme (and rather cheesy, but well meaning) efforts to promote the value of women in society (usually targetted at men in a "imagine how bad a world without
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pomo monster (873962) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:14AM (#14939365)
      I dunno. How much do you get for stuffing your aging parents in "retirement communities" where they can be conveniently forgotten?

      (Before you ask--yes, Chinese people really do consider us barbaric for our cultural idiosyncracies. And killing infant girls really isn't pervasive in modern China, even in rural areas, regardless of whatever uninformed drivel Microsoft-NBC is spewing today. Gain some perspective, please.)
      • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

        by linzeal (197905)
        Bullshit, I have a cousin who married a Chinese woman and her family demonstrated killing an infant girl while he was there for only 2 weeks. To say it does not go on is to ignore the fact that places like Shanghai are now approaching 60% male population because of the practice. Places like India are not far behind.
        • What the hell? That's just so outright wrong, I don't even know where to begin. Just so no one gets misled by your specious assertions, I'm going to link a starting point [economist.com] for your education. To summarize, the sex ratio isn't due to infanticide; it's a combination of (a) selective abortion, and (b) parents choosing to have another child after having a daughter, because they want a son. Don't even try to pretend like neither of these happen here in the West (though not as extensively, I'll grant you).
          • by Sparr0 (451780)
            having a second child after a daugher does not increase the boy:girl ratio. at worst, it decreases it, as a couple who has had one daugher has provided a statistical sample of one that they are more likely to have girls, which while extremely lacking in predicitivity, does pass 1%.
            • You're right. My mistake.
            • by Echnin (607099)
              I don't know anything about the biology involved (and am not very good at statistics), but if almost every family that has a daughter attempts to have a second child (I don't know if this is the case), and no family that has gotten a son has a second child, does that really increase the amount of females?

              For those not familiar with the law: if you get a son, you aren't allowed more children; if you get a daughter, you are allowed a "second chance". Thus, any family with a boy does not have a girl, while ev

          • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

            by linzeal (197905)
            Selective abortion of female fetuses is as equally henious as infantacide to at least half of the world. Killing because of sex should be called something else, pardon me if my latin does not allow to come with something off the cuff.
            • I agree. Selective abortion is illegal, and in fact China's government is trying to change cultural attitudes towards women so as to reduce its incidence. You don't even have to read Lonely Planet to learn more; see here [slashdot.org], for example.
          • by Trogre (513942)
            Just in case you don't know, selective abortion = infanticide.

      • infant girls really isn't pervasive in modern China

        Assuming the occurence is only 1 in 10,000, that's only 60,000. Nothing to get worked up over. Not like it's pervasive or anything.
        • In rural areas, infancide is brutally rampant. Since theres no accountability/no effective police force/everyone knows each other and therefore won't speak out again it, its insanely easy for a baby girl to "fall down a well" or "die in its sleep" and have NO ONE question it.

          Hell, even if it happened in the U.S. some people wouldn't question it. "The pillows accidently smothered it in its sleep. We should be sueing the pillow company instead for this tragedy!"

        • by Valar (167606)
          First of all, you aren't going to sound credible if you just make up numbers and then present them as evidence.

          Let's assume /. user Bob Cat blah blah blah ONLY eats fifteen kittens a day. That's still 5,475 kittens a year! Not a problem at all!
      • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ShakaUVM (157947)
        Regardless of what you may have read in an article, selective infantcide is still very pervasive.

        I know two girls who are only around today because the doctor misread the ultrasound and thought they were a boy. Let me tell you, this doesn't lead to good relations with your parents later in life.

        And sure, it's illegal. Whatever. What the doctor does is smile if it's a boy, frown if it's a girl. Then without anything obvious at all being said, the parents spontaneously decide to abort or not.

        Regardless of if
        • by Echnin (607099)
          In this particular case I agree with you, since selective abortion is despicable regardless of the reason, but dismissing a foreign culture as generally "barbaric" without even trying to understand context is a medieval way of thinking. I want to make clear that I disagree strongly with cultural relativism, but comdemning something before trying to understand it breeds hatred and causes wars, and no country in the world can be classified as entirely "barbaric" or, for that matter, perfect. It goes all ways.
      • by heli0 (659560)
        "And killing infant girls really isn't pervasive in modern China, even in rural areas, regardless of whatever uninformed drivel Microsoft-NBC is spewing today."

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?story Id=3499024 [npr.org]
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/news/archives/sociology/000 040.shtml [bowdoin.edu]

        "China's demographics don't add up, according to a new study. The country's 2000 census indicates 120 boys are born for every 100 girls, the highest ratio ever recorded in human history (in average populations, the sex ratio is 105
    • by Valar (167606)
      There's actually little evidence that the one child policy or communism made this problem any worse in China. It had been going on for a long time, as a result of it being a predominantly agricultural society.

      Secondly, direct infanticide is fairly rare (a lot rarer than the American press would have you believe). Now, gender-select abortion, that's a huge issue.
  • by bromodrosis (639957) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:02PM (#14938966)
    Where do I wait in line for a copy?
  • by the_other_one (178565) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:12PM (#14939025) Homepage

    in real life, Mao believed that deflowering virgins would help him live longer

    All I need now is a steady stream of corsage bearing virgins.

    Just one question: What do I do with the flowers?

  • Behold! (Score:4, Funny)

    by zephc (225327) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:19PM (#14939064)
    I have level 25 Narcing ability! I can tell the authorities in mere seconds if I see someone reading banned materials or thinking subversive thoughts!
  • by technoextreme (885694) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:28PM (#14939113)
    To monitor what people are doing on their computers.
    • Insightful? Hardly. Believe it or not, China isn't some kind of Orwellian nightmare where everything you say or write is monitored by truncheon-dragging thugs, or by brains cloistered in the Ministry of Thoughtcrime, for that matter. Nowadays, you could parade around downtown Shanghai yelling "Down with the Party!" and people would care about as much as people in New York care about the drunk guy on the subway prophesizing the return of Jesus. Don't get me wrong--China's certainly no paradise for dissenting
      • Quite frankly, both the US and China are not particularly good places to live for one who values civil rights. Just say certain keywords loud enough in the US (I need not say which ones) and I'm certain the men in black suits will start paying attention.

        However, the US isn't quite as experienced in these matters as China. My communications might get monitored for mentioning said keywords, but that doesn't mean the FBI or NSA is going to show up at my door and disappear me right away. It's just beginning to
        • Quite frankly, both the US and China are not particularly good places to live for one who values civil rights. Just say certain keywords loud enough in the US (I need not say which ones) and I'm certain the men in black suits will start paying attention.
          I can't really tell what you are trying to imply. Can you please give a few examples?
      • Please do me a favor. Go to your favorite bookstore in Shanghai (where you can supposedly parade around downtown yelling "Down with the Party") and pick up a copy of any book by former President Lee Deng-hui of Taiwan. If you can't find such a book, try going to another book store in Shanghai. If you fail to find any of Lee's books in Shanghai, start working the bookstores in another Chinese city. Please continue this exercise for as long as it takes to find one of Lee's books in China.
        Or, as an alter
  • Remember the whole GBLT-friendly controversey in World of Warcraft? I can only imagine what the situation must be like in this "game." I wonder what the GMs are like...
  • by ROBOKATZ (211768) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:53PM (#14939243)
    'Every time you are promoted to a higher level, your clothes will become more average,' he said. I'm pretty sure this isn't a translation screw up. The longer you grind, the more you look like everyone else.

    And this is different from WoW in what way?

  • ...would be if all PC gamers in China were REQUIRED to play a few hours of this game a day.

    Muha muahahahhhaahaaa
  • A good fit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:17AM (#14939380) Journal
    Amazing how well the ideological absurdity of utopian communism finds its expression in the mechanics of a multi-player online game. Or maybe it's not that amazing. Surely you World of Warcraft players, engaged in the "grind" of leveling, have heard an Orwellian Animal Farm voice calling "Work is Fun. Fun is Work. Fun is Unfun." Co-operation and submission to the group is explicitly rewarded through "Guilds" and similar organizations.

    Of course, not only is the gameplay of multi-player online games ideologically communist, but the mechanics of game economies are explicitly communist. They are planned economies. Gold farming and black markets are exactly the same phenomenon. The Chinese Socialist online game will be interesting to watch for observers due to this inevitablity. How will they deal with external and internal black markets? Will it be possible to distinguish countermeasures gameplay from reality as ingame countermeasures are taken?
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday March 17, 2006 @03:50AM (#14940116) Journal
      Amazing how the same lame sophistry dating all the way back to the first MUDs, and maybe even before, still gets spewed as if they were some deep revelation about humanity.

      In fact, probably even before. I can imagine some "but I really want to start directly at the top of Pong's high score table" whiner sitting on the side and spewing rationalizations about how actually playing the game is "work", and how those poor Pong players got scammed into working in their free time and paying for it. (And make no mistake, playing arcade games used to cost a _lot_ more than 13$ a month.) Fast forward a bit in time and you find the same kind of people whining about how deluded people are to invest any kind of time or effort into their entertainment and, god forbid, to cooperate with other players.

      That's all that levels, xp, epic equipment, or PvP ranks are: a way to keep the score, not all that different from Pong's or PacMan's high score table, or from a RL football team's rank in the leagues and championships. And some people "grind" for that score (in fact, for some trying to beat the high score _is_ the challenge and the fun), some people just play the game for what it is and let the score just happen on its own, and... some busibodies stay on the sideline and try to sound deeply philosophical in their lament about how sad it is that people put up with "having" to spend hours on their entertainment, or "having" to interact with other people or whole groups. (E.g., the group around the arcade machine.)

      And yes, some form of coop play always existed even in those arcade machines. Ever since the first game got a fire button to mash, in addition to the directional joystick/trackball/whatever, I recall people "grouping" and having specialized "group roles" at the arcades. E.g., one would guide the character/ship/whatever around and dodge enemy fire, and one was mashing the fire button and dropping the AOE "bomb" at the right moment for maximum effect. I.e., using the modern MMO terms very loosely, one was the "tank" keeping the team from taking damage and one was the "damage dealer", even if noone used those words at the time. I.e., even when the game didn't actually offer the in-game mechanics for that, some found their own makeshift ways to cooperate and interact with other humans, regardless of how many others sit around and whine about how everyone else should be a loner.

      Get this: it's not a matter of "work" or "grind" to some end. That's the actual game. It's ok if I "have" to spend some hours doing quests in WoW, because exactly that was the whole point and purpose in the first place: to waste some hours in a game. Gaining some level or armour piece at the end is just a virtual pat on the back, but the real purpose was to waste those hours in the first place. That's what entertainment is all about: filling your time with something better than staring at the walls.

      It may surprise you, but it's not just MMOs. Actually _most_ of the RL passtimes need some time or effort, and most are someone else's "work". Do you enjoy tweaking your car? That's a mechanic's "work". Do you enjoy going dancing? A professional dancer would call that "work". Taking digital photos in the park with your cool new camera? Yep, pro photographers would call that "work". Play tennis or basketball with your friends? That's a pro athlete's "work". _Watch_ sports? Sports journalists do that for a living. Watch a movie and maybe discuss them with your pals? Yep, that's a movie reviewer's "work". Etc.

      You'll notice that they also all involve some time spent on that hobby. E.g., a movie buff may spend hours a day "grinding" through movies on their DVD player. E.g., someone with a digital camera may "grind" for hours taking photos of squirrels in the park. Etc. Some of those, *gasp* may even involve "grouping" with people. E.g., going dancing with a couple of friends instead of doing it solo. Some of those *gasp* may involve joining some kind of a "guild". E.g., joining some photo community or whatever kind of associati
      • There are two types of motivations for playing MMORPGS:
        a) Playing the game for the fun. Enjoying walking around, iteracting with other players, discovering new places, facing new challenges and beating them and maybe getting a cool outfit for your avatar in the process - playing because it feels good.
        b) Being the best, having the fattest loot and letting everybody else know about it. Being able to publicly proclaiming one's 1337ness, rubbing it in everybody else's face and going around calling all else noob
        • Basically what you describe there is insightful in its own right, but it's basically a sub-set of what Bartle described for MUD players. His division went something like this:

          - socializers: basically the people who are there to chat, make friends, organize a guild, organize a player town/community/whatever, and generally be social about it

          - achievers: people who want to have the highest score, a level 60 character, the biggest player house or the full epic suit for their class, etc.

          - explorers: people who l
    • Re:A good fit (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jandersen (462034)
      Good heavens, man, is this really the best you can manage? Talk about displaying your ignorance. But perhaps this is the way Americans think? A quick comparison:

      Communism:

      - in America the manifestation of anything evil, repressive or stupidly unrealistic is labelled 'communism'. Satan is a Communist, no doubt. Nobody knows why.

      - in the rest of the world 'Communism' is a political viewpoint, something about sharing etc etc.

      Capitalism:

      - in America the manifestation of anything good, true and beautiful. God is
      • Satan is a Communist, no doubt. Nobody knows why.

        I'd always assumed that Satan was a capitalist. Either way I know I feel his presence when I walk into walmart... Maybe he just likes the cheap lighter fluid.

      • Re:A good fit (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Detritus (11846)
        Communism is a mountain of corpses [gulag.hu]. By their acts you shall know them, and not by their words.
  • Payback (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:27AM (#14939419)
    I will be spending all my time farming socks. I can hear them now, damm these American sock farmers.
  • We get to meet mao, do we get to protest at tiananmen square?
  • Another enticing feature in the socialist game is that the level 1 sock menders make the same gold/minute as the level 99 epic monster slayers!
  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:34AM (#14939720)
    This may sound messed up, but in an age of Yet Another "Madden" Football Game and Zombie Fragger 9 (or whatever), we finally have a game that piqued my interest. I'm not being ironic for once. I doubt there will be an English translation and even if there were, there wouldn't be US servers... but if there were, I really would consider trying it! I mean, it would be free for the people, right?

    Doesn't anyone see how this could be fun? Yeah, mending socks doesn't sound like a thrill, but what do you do for XPs when you're weak in a commercial fantasy game? Endlessly stab chickens? How is that more fun? No, I think mending socks in a sweatshop that more of a feel of honest labor.

    I think my talent would be in being a newspaper reporter for the government. I'd try my best to sound like this North Korean paper [kcna.co.jp]. Really, it would be a blast! And I bet there would be all sorts of neat quests, like stopping burglars, helping fishermen, getting a village to quit smoking... the sort of stuff that would be really refreshing after months of "deliver this scroll to Naldemor and you shall receive this +2 sword and lots of XP!" Yes, it would take a lot of creativity to make this game fun, but I guess I am one of these people who still appreciates creativity.

  • translation mess up? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SYSS Mouse (694626) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:42AM (#14939753) Homepage
    I read a news on tihs report in Chinese.

    From this article "Every time you are promoted to a higher level, your clothes will become more average."

    "More average" is not it is supposed to mean. That word should mean "simple".

    Also, the title should read the Chinese Revolutionary MMO.This has to do with the person Lei Feng itself and the background at that time. "He was characterized by propaganda as a selfless and modest figure after his death and consequently was an idol to many." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lei_Feng [wikipedia.org]

    He is protrayed as a selfless person, including his accidential death at 22. A quote from him: "Life is limited, but the service to the country is boundless. I want to use my limited life to boundless serve the country."

    It was the time whe loyality to the party that matter's most. In was in the 1950 and 60's in the history, see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Leap_Forward [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution [wikipedia.org]

  • by aendeuryu (844048) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:11AM (#14939856)
    I really hate it when governments try to sneak propaganda into computer games. This indoctrination of youth is really creepy. You're never going to see me advocating or playing a game like this. Those Chinese are just so... so... sinister.

    [/goes back to playing America's Army]
  • by Guppy06 (410832)
    When do they add the new Cultural Revolution expansion pack?
  • Westwood (Requisat In Pacem) would have done so much better creating a Commie MMORPG.

    Hot Chicks, Rock Music, Evil Masterminds, Superweapons, Giant Squids...

    Sigh, Real Communists are so boring....

  • Just a reminder that because of the Chinese calendar, today is the equivalent of April 1.
  • Since it seems to be a 1st of april hoax, all the lively discusions are for nought :-)
    Oups ;-)

    (although I'm sure that the PR CP has some PC games for the PC (in latin languages its even more "alliterative" CP becoming PC)

    Sorry to end my mail here I have to mend some socks before my batery closes down due to electricity shortage :-)

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