A group of Chinese teenagers have created a video game about sex education – a topic still taboo in mainland China – earning positive reviews on the US-based video game distribution platform Steam. Self-Reliance is an interactive video game where players make decisions for the protagonists and lead the story in different directions. It was developed by seven high school students in Shanghai, who acted on camera to simulate various sex education issues in real life. One chapter of the game features an underaged couple debating whether they should have unprotected sex. Another explores what you should do if someone is about to rape you. The personal computer title was released last week on Steam as a free download. So far it has garnered more than 110 reviews on the platform, 85 per cent of which are “very positive.” Cooking, dancing and fighting: our pick of festive video games “The educational aspect of the game is implemented seamlessly into the gameplay itself,” wrote one Steam user, who identified himself as a 35-year-old software engineer. “As the player progresses through the story, their actions and subsequent consequences warn them of the weight of these choices.” Despite the game’s flaws, like amateurish acting and an unfriendly user interface, most players offered encouragement considering it was effectively an after-school hobby project. Chinese classrooms are traditionally reluctant to talk about sex and the subject is at best mentioned in passing in some biology textbooks. Abortions are widely advertised in the country, while contraception methods like condoms are not. There have been growing calls for better sex education to reduce risks of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among young Chinese. In 2017, 24 per cent of new HIV infections in China were in the 15-24 age group, up from 6 per cent in 2008, according to data from the national health agency. In 2017, however, some primary schools were forced to stop using a new sex education textbook, after parents complained about its depiction of sexual organs and gay couples. As for Self-Reliance , it is unlikely that the title will be officially released in China, which requires a license from local regulators. After China suspended the approval of new games for much of last year, many indie developers opted to tap Steam to reach Chinese gamers. The Self-Reliance developers noted on Steam that their game “contains scenes of condoms, pills, and a pregnancy test kit,” stressing that there was no adult or pornographic content.