Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Nightmare of Chinese ‘Diablo’ game

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A new generation of China’s internet gamers faces a dizzying array of interactive role-playing games, an online community that cares only about itself and — most importantly — limits.

Produced in a studio in Shenzhen, “Everyday Is Doomsday” features four everyday people, who live in different cities across China, and are tracked by a computer as they interact online, with each other, with family, with friends.

The result is a stark and provocative portrayal of what the internet means for today’s youth in China, as seen through the eyes of those profoundly affected by its omnipresence and addictive and destructive qualities.

Provocative and dynamic — yes — but clearly still has challenges ahead.

To reach CNN Films, we shared the clip via Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook and it received more than 130,000 views, 10,000 shares and 3,000 likes. More than 550 people liked CNN Films’ Facebook post and more than 500 clicked on the Soundcloud clip.

CNN: Do you have a message for the youth of China?

Picking a game

Orphaned siblings Jia (left) and Mia at the video caption: “Today we play Doom.” Credit: Darren Hauck

P.: Everybody’s new avatar is Instagram, but some people are bored. They download a portal: ‘Check me out, it’s free.’

Fantasy characters Jia and Mia, who play Diablo III together, seem addicted to each other. Mia is a deadly assassin; Jia, a struggling actor. They play all day long, checking back in once they finish their jobs and get home at night.

They’re like 99% monsters and 1% humans — like all the characters in “Everyday Is Doomsday.”

People are supposed to be simple creatures!

To maximize their time, the monsters zoom from room to room, always the closest to each other, just like the games.

So we think it’s good that they’re pushed, that they get this external reinforcement. It keeps them stable! But you know what? Why not just be depressed and feel better?

It’s like, give me the happiness to feel more depressed and there’s something wrong with that?

In other cases, they run out of things to shoot, like police …

Blast everything!

The game’s wild nature amplifies rage, as these non-traditional gamers react in ways not often seen online. It’s like a knife thrust through a wood. I just saw one go …

The game is too wide and it’s not fair. It’s unfair. When my little brother is 11, and I was 10, it was different. There were games for everyone. Now every game is like an obstacle. There’s only so much in my head.

But you can do two out of three games and pass the monitor in the hallway.

Blast all your mommy’s things.

Drug: “There are a lot of shades of grey in this world.” Credit: Darren Hauck

There are a lot of shades of grey in this world. Addiction, depression, PTSD, violence, drugs, friendships… all shades of grey.

Jia isn’t really hooked on Diablo III. He spends all of his time playing this overpriced imitation movie game with his buddy, or the random combat game the river is littered with fishing poles, or the game everyone plays for when nothing else is working.

He only plays games when he’s with his mom, and when he goes to the side to walk or shower — or take a pee.

He’s waiting for his brother’s midterms, he’s waiting for the girl of his dreams to call him. He’s not.

So is he still hooked on Diablo III? He knows.

With these age-old questions, and with little guidance on how to avoid getting sucked into the game, the rich pool of potential Chinese gamers is left to its own devices.

Now if we can just find a way to keep it all straight.

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