A popular Chinese mobile game, “King of Glory,” has come under fire for allegedly promoting an inaccurate representation of ancient Chinese history.
State media outlet Guangming Daily published an article on March 28 blaming the game for “distorting history.” The article claimed that, despite using many famous names from Chinese history, "King of Glory" completely misrepresented the figures' true stories and status.
A comparison between poet Li Bai in game(top) and on textbook(below)
According to the newspaper, famous poet Li Bai from the Tang Dynasty became an assassin, while noted doctor Bian Que from the Spring and Autumn Period was cast as an expert on poison. More than 60 characters in the game were based on characters from history, including many from the classic novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”
“They not only travel through time and space to fight together, [the characters in the game] take on historical figures' names with no connection at all to their experiences in history,” the newspaper argued, adding that this characteristic could easily confuse young players. Some 54 percent of the game's players are aged between 11 and 20, the newspaper added, citing data from the game.
A comparison between doctor Bian Que in game(left) and on textbook(right)
“King of Glory” is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game designed by Tencent Games. It was launched in 2015. In 2016, the total revenue of the game reached 6.8 billion RMB, some 17.7 percent of the total revenue for mobile gaming in China.
The Guangming Daily article was met with significant support and approval. Some people pointed to online search results for the historical figures, which increasingly yield information about the characters in the game rather than the real luminaries.
However, some hit back at the accusation, arguing that games are supposed to be creative, and that “King of Glory” doesn't purport to be set in any specific historical period.
“I am aware that there are many young players, some even in primary school. Some might be affected by the game in certain ways, but it can do a lot of good if students become interested in the characters and do more research to that end,” one “King of Glory” player, who requested anonymity, told the People’s Daily Online.