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How Chinese Online Retailers Get Around Game Bans

Image: Taobao , Abacus

Violent games keep getting banned in China. Last month, as r/gaming pointed out, China banned nine games and forced changes in 11 more. Many gory games have no chance of release. To slip past the country’s draconian censors, Chinese online retailers must get creative.

According to website Abacus, Taobao sellers have been trying to skirt around the bans with pseudonyms and hand-drawn box art.

Website Automaton Media reports that the game is being sold with titles like “Shoot And See: Remake 2" and “Capcom Remake 2.”

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Screenshot: Baidu

Gory and scary? No, Resident Evil 2 is adorable and nice. Sorry, I meant “First Day of Work at the Police Station: Remake Version.” That’s the title!

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Screenshot: Taobao

Other workarounds include using art from Plants vs Zombies when selling RE2 or selling the survival horror remake as “Little Nightmares 2,” using box art from Little Nightmares. One retailer redrew the box art and just used English, hoping to fool the authorities. 

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Image: Taobao, Abacus

This kind of thing is not new. Online retailers in China have been trying to fly under the ethics board radar for years.

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For example, the uncensored version of Diablo III has been sold as “Demon Buddy” or, as Kotaku previously reported, “Big Pineapple.”

Screenshot: Taobao
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In Chinese, a big pineapple is “dà bōluó”, which sounds like Diablo. Chinese officials monitoring online retail sites would search using the game’s official Chinese name, which translates to “Dark God of Destruction”, and not “big pineapple.” That is, until all the Chinese game sites began covering the ruse.

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Abacus adds that other pseudonyms include selling the banned Battlefield 4 as “Boyfriend Storm.”

These fake titles are great fun! Super strict ratings boards aren’t.

In case you missed it, check out Kotaku’s Resident Evil 2 review right here.

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.