GAMING

Chinese online game where players bomb Japanese cities is criticised in Japan

NetEase game The Great Tokyo Air Raid purports to be based on 1945 US bombing raid on Japan, and thanks gamers for 'contributing to world peace'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2015, 7:13am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2015, 7:13am

A new game by Chinese internet giant NetEase has been criticised for rewarding players on a mission to blitz 15 Japanese cities in a warplane. It also thanks players for “contributing to world peace”.

The crude, Chinese-language point-and-shoot game, called The Great Tokyo Air Raid, was produced by Nasdaq-listed NetEase for mobiles and desktop. Its name is derived from a second world war bombing campaign by the US Air Force and the game purports to be based on the raid.

Imagine if there was a game called the Nanjing massacre, and the gamer had to bomb Chinese cities on a map of China. What would Chinese think about that?
A post on huashengjp.com 

Play begins with a screen telling users they are piloting one of 334 B-29 bombers commanded by General Curtis LeMay during an offensive on May 25, 1945. NetEase announced the game’s release on May 26. The actual fire-bombing of Tokyo by 334 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses occurred on March 9 and 10, 1945.

Players navigate a warplane using just the left and right arrows on a keyboard. They appear to be flying over a rough map of Japan, with 15 cities marked, including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A click of the mouse releases the bomber’s fiery payload.

The full journey takes less than a minute and, regardless of how many targets are missed, the end screen says: “Thank you for contributing to world peace.”

Some have questioned the game’s theme, given the lingering distrust between China and Japan.

Users of huashengjp.com, a forum for Chinese speakers in Japan, were not amused. One user, dazuimao, writes: “This is a double standard. In the past, there was a game developed by Americans about bombing Tiananmen Square, and Chinese people flew into a rage ... Imagine if there was a game called the Nanjing massacre, and the gamer had to bomb Chinese cities on a map of China. What would Chinese think about that?”

Another forum user, Levear, writes: “Although the Nanjing massacre is a historical fact, I still cannot accept this kind of game which uses historical fact as a background. I am very tolerant, but I also have my limits.”

Commentators on the Japan-based RocketNews24 website, which reported on the game’s release, were equally unimpressed. One user writes: “Just in case there isn’t enough civic conflict.”

NetEase is one of China’s biggest producers of online games, such as Westward Journey and Kung Fu Master, and has the licence for the Chinese versions of global blockbusters World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.

The company is increasingly focusing on mobile games, which accounted for 15 per cent of its revenues of US$593.7 million in the last quarter of 2014.

NetEase's investor relations office in Beijing had not responded to questions about the online game by press time.