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VR Simulation Puts You On The Frontline Of The Hong Kong Protests


The developers hope to educate gamers and help spread awareness of the protestors’ cause. 

For the past five months, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong demonstrators have been protesting the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill introduced by the Hong Kong governments which would essentially allow local law enforcement to extradite criminals wanted in territories outside Hong Kong, including mainland China. Demonstrators argue the bill would infringe on their personal civil liberties by forcing Hong Kong residents to abide by mainland China’s legal system.

Since anti-government demonstrations began, the streets of Hong Kong have devolved into a veritable warzone as Chinese police and riot control officers clash with non-violent protestors. So far reports have shown incredible abuse by law enforcement with multiple images and videos circulating showing Chinese police physically abusing unarmed, non-violent demonstrators. At this time the protests have claimed the lives of 10 anti-government demonstrators, all of which suspiciously ruled as suicides by the Kong Kong government. 

And while protestors have been doing an extraordinary job at raising global awareness around their ongoing struggle — seriously, no one protests as creatively as Hong Kongers — much of the world is still in the dark. To help spread awareness of the protests as well as help empathize more effectively with protestors, a team of Kong Kong student protestors has developed a VR simulation that puts you on the frontline of the ongoing conflict. 

VR Simulation Puts You On The Frontline Of The Hong Kong Protests 1
Image Credit: UK.Reuters

Players take on the role of a frontline protestor and are tasked with dodging tear gas, ducking behind barriers to avoid projectiles, and avoid capture by riot police. According to an interview with one of the developers, it was important for the team that the player only be allowed to commit non-violent actions as to more accurately represent the behavior of the real protestors. As a result, payers are unable to inflict damage on riot piolice or engage in any illegal behavior. 

In the game, it allows you to experience what crisis the frontline protestors might have been through,” states Lam, a member of the games development team, during an interview with Reuters. “For example, getting arrested, getting hit by a bullet, and needing to stay away from the danger of tear gas cannisters. 

VR Simulation Puts You On The Frontline Of The Hong Kong Protests 2
Image Credit: UK.Reuters

“That does not mean you will have to go out after playing the game. We hope people that fight for freedom will go out anyway.”

Along with participating in anti-government demonstrations, players also have the opportunity to learn about the real protests currently being conducted. Player can visit a VR recreation of one of the cities “Lennon Walls,” which feature words of encouragement for protestors written across wide arrays of colorful post-it notes; this includes phrases such as “fight for freedom” and “five demands, not one less.” There’s also an interactive element that educates players on major protest event, such as the Yuen Long Mob Attack, the Prince Station Attack, and the highly-publicized shooting of an 18-year-old protestor by law enforcement on National Day. 

VR Simulation Puts You On The Frontline Of The Hong Kong Protests 3
Image Credit: UK.Reuters

The development team is currently speaking to online distributors in the hopes of releasing the title to the public, though past events have shown the process to be anything but simple. Earlier this month Google removed a single-player RPG based on the protests as the company has a policy on monetizing content that involves real-world violence. 

Meanwhile, long-time gaming juggernaut Blizzard Entertainment has suspended Hong Kong esports player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai for pro-Hong Kong statements delivered during an on-air interview. Since the suspension, the company has drawn harsh criticism from both its community as well as the media; a large-scale protest of the companies famous Blizzcon event is currently already in the works. 

Feature Image Credit: UK.Reuters

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