[Chinese DiGRA 2015] Deng Jian on the The Decline of Mainland Chinese Singe-Player Game(early 1980s-2000)

Deng Jian, Shanghai University

This paper will discuss the development of Chinese Single-Player game from early 1980s (in which, Chinese factory produced the first console) to 2000 (in which, the game ban was issued). As all we known, under the circumstance of Reform and Opening-up, early Chinese singe-player game was introduced from Japan, and its development was also greatly influenced by Japan. As for Chinese people who eager to open their window to see this new world, games as one magic thing had made Chinese people great interest and concern when it came to their daily lives.

With the development of game market, there are many huge impacts they had never expected happened in their daily lives. Such as the family relationship between parents and children,which faced to one new challenge cause parents did not know how to deal with this new thing; new culture consume space was opened in the public etc. Game gave them funs and also the confusion. This is one structural question. Many social and economical realistic conditions are responsible to it. We can clearly see that, the one-child policy、educational content and Chinese economy reform environment would give rise to this impact. And how to understand game was one complicated long process for Chinese people. With the development of understanding, Chinese game manufacturing was on sail. Of course, it is very difficult to Chinese game manufacturing because of the special new Chinese history and realistic condition. There were at least five factors restrain its early development: “low technical ability /creative ability、low purchasing power,lack of modern enterprise system、copyright law and social blame.

However, it also gave one special develop route to Chinese games’ development: Imitation game console(such as Nintendo)、Low degree of innovation(such as study-console, one machine which could play 8/16/32bit game and use keyboard to study type write)、pirate and so on. With Chinese game manufacturers’ efforts, Chinese players could play games in one low price environment and purchasing power.

Here the chance came. With the economy and computer technology development, people’s national consciousness waked up. Chinese players desire one Chinese national game. Here it is, the first national game which called “Eagle squadron ”was born in 1994. The new era started from that time. But the Chinese game manufacturer hadn’t understood the real eager of players. These players want national game is true. But what is more,they want these games connect to their daily life. However, these manufacturers still design their games with cold war mentality. The first national game’s attempt was fail cause of wrong strategy and low inferior technology. But Taiwan’s national games got one huge success cause they use Chinese traditional martial arts won Chinese people’s national game dream. Chinese game manufacturer hadn’t seized this first opportunity. Unfortunately, Chinese game ban was issued which is bad for Chinese Singe-Player Game’s development,the era of Chinese online games came.

Author Info:

Deng Jian, PhD student of Program in Cultural Studies, Shanghai University; Research area: Game studies/Urban Culture and daily life analysis.