Coronavirus game with hidden political messages gets blocked in China
The game Coronavirus Attack gets blocked in mainland China on Steam
The game’s premise is simple: A virus has infected a country and disease carriers are trying to flee. Your task is to prevent the so-called “selfish zombies” from escaping and infecting the world.
Unsurprisingly, Coronavirus Attack has now been blocked for gamers in mainland China on dominant PC gaming platform Steam, according to developer and publisher MythZsGame.
The company says the game was blocked after gamers reported the game for its political content. And it’s not hard to see why the game has attracted attention for that, even though it never directly mentions any country in particular.
But that’s not all. The game has a list of achievements – a sort of badge of honour that unlocks for completing certain tasks in a game – with titles like “Taiwan is not China”, “Liberate Hong Kong” and “Release Xinjiang”.
All three have seen a pushback against the ruling Communist Party in China. Some even insult the Chinese nationalist trolls that take to social media platforms to sing the praises of the government.
But the game’s creator insists that there’s a message behind the game. MythZ, who declined to give us their real name, told Abacus that Coronavirus Attack is meant as a protest towards the Chinese government – and as criticism of those who left Wuhan before the city was locked down.
It’s not the first time that a game on Steam has been banned in China.
Coronavirus Attack hasn’t been pulled for users outside China on Steam yet – but the game’s creator said they’re expecting a pushback. Steam is famously liberal in what it allows on its platform, preferring to let players dictate what is and isn’t acceptable by reporting inappropriate content.
We reached out to Valve, Steam’s parent, for comment on Coronavirus Attack and will update this story if we hear back.