Online game reflects reality of demolition

08:54, September 16, 2010      

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The online game Nail Household Fighting Against Demolition Squad, which was launched in August, is becoming increasingly popular with netizens. [Provided to China Daily]

As the public debates whether the government should be stripped of its power to seize private homes for public projects, an online game that gives property owners weapons to fight demolition teams is proving to be a hit in cyberspace.

The game, Nail Household Fighting Against Demolition Squad, mocks the reality of forced demolition, which may partially account for its surging popularity.

It depicts a scenario in which a four-story building earmarked for demolition is repeatedly attacked and eventually destroyed by a demolition crew.

Players are challenged to fend off wave after wave of demolition team members wielding shovels and drills, firing machine guns and driving bulldozers to flatten the house.

Since it was launched in mid-August, the game has become one of the most popular on major game portals, such as

Users' recommendations and links to the game have also been flying about the Internet and appearing on micro blogs, where it scored top ratings this week.

The game depicts the scenario that unfolded in 2007 at a Chongqing nail household, a term referring to a home whose occupants refuse to allow its demolition. In the 2007 case, a couple refused to move and tried to defend their home, even after developers had dug land around the building, cut off the water and electricity and sent real estate developers to harass them.

For their efforts, netizens crowned them "the coolest nail household in history".

The game has six levels that players must pass before they are able to advance to the survival model, in which hordes of demolition teams fill the screen in a game that never ends.

Netizens have drawn a parallel with the difficulty of the challenge, which has been taken to imply that "property owners are doomed".

Players aim to defend the building by hiring guards from six members of a family, including the grandfather, the parents, the sister and two brothers, each of whom has a weapon to fend off the assault: a gun, a catapult, firecrackers, slippers, a dumbbell and a homemade bomb.

By killing the invaders, players gain money with which to call for reinforcements, or upgrade the skills of the characters engaged in defending the property.

Some of the weapons the game features have actually been used by people to fend off wrecking crews.

For example, Yang Youde, a farmer in Central China's Hunan province, managed to successfully repel a demolition team in June by shooting firecrackers through homemade rockets.

In the game, members of the demolition teams are also armed with a variety of weapons, ranging from kitchen knives and shovels to drills and bulldozers, which they use to repeatedly attack the building until it is totally destroyed.

The only way players can protect the building is by killing off the demolition team. To do so, they need to select the right family members according to the weapons at their disposal, with a maximum of four - one on each floor of the building.

However, in the survival model of the game, none of the players can successfully defend the building, because the wrecking crews can never be completely wiped out and will eventually demolish the building.

"I love playing it because it really pacifies your anger. The demolishers deserve to receive the same treatment that they dish out to home owners," said Wang Yang, a college student in Beijing.

Yu Dahai, a games fan who used to play the demolition game, told China Daily on Wednesday that the game is not ideal, because the participation of the players is limited.

"The players just click the mouse. It got a little boring," Yu said. "But it had the merit of reflecting real social problems."

Ma Bin, a news anchor at Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, commented on a news program on Wednesday that the game should include self-immolation as a weapon against demolition teams, a move home owners have resorted to at times in China.

Ding Jie contributed to this story.

Source: China Daily(By Wang Huazhong)


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