Hong Kong 97 (video game)
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|Hong Kong 97|
|Distribution||Super Famicom cartridge|
Hong Kong 97 (HK97 (香港97 Honkon97?)) is a game made in Japan in 1995 for the Super Famicom in disk drive and cartridge format by HappySoft Ltd., a homebrew game company. The game has gained a cult following in Japan and Taiwan for its notoriously poor quality — it has been ranked as a kuso-ge, literally means "shitty game", a game considered "so bad that it's good". It has since received a cult following online and given multiple parody treatments, particularly in Taiwan. Although Hong Kong 97 had poor quality, it correctly predicted Deng Xiaoping's death, as he died 2 years later.
The game is set around the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. It is said that, at the time, people from the Chinese Mainland started immigrating to Hong Kong and generally increasing the crime rate. As a countermeasure, Chin (Jackie Chan in his Wheels on Meals appearance), a relative of Bruce Lee, was hired by the Hong Kong government (represented by Chris Patten) to wipe out all 1.2 billion people of China. But meanwhile, in China, research was underway to bring the dead "Tong Shau Ping" (Deng Xiaoping) back to life as the ultimate doomsday machine.
When the game was released in 1995, Deng Xiaoping, said to be dead in the game, was still alive. However, he did die months before the handover, which is when the game's plot actually takes place.
Immediately after the introduction above (which follows some ads and the title screen), the game starts without any warning. (What usually follows is an instant game over.) The player controls Chin, who tries to shoot and evade the Chinese populace and police officers moving about and spitting randomly on the screen. When shot, the enemies explode in a rectangle with a mushroom cloud, leaving behind a flashing corpse and items for instant death or temporary invincibility. After a while, cars appear from the sides and, after three cars, the final boss appears. The final boss is actually Deng Xiaoping's head from the title screen, and once he is defeated, the game repeats itself. All these happen with a stagnant photo as the background; it is random and might be pictures of Maoist propaganda, Guilin, the logo for Asia Television Limited, the logo for the Chinese Coca-Cola or even Mao Zedong in monochrome.
If Chin is hit by anything other than the invincibility item the game is immediately over (unless Chin is under invincibility), and a gruesome image of a corpse appears as the game over screen, with the words "CHIN IS DEAD!" in English and in a badly toned Chinese "Chén sǐ wáng" (陳死亡) – can be interpreted as either "Chin is dead", or as a proper name "Dead Chin", superimposed on the screen. Then the game goes to the credits and back to the title screen and repeats again. The game is noted for its difficulty, one of the factors that made the game a kuso-ge.
The game can be played in English, Japanese, or Traditional Chinese. The first two sentences of the introduction in English mode are: "The year 1997 has arrived. A herd of fuckin' ugly reds. are rushing from the mainland." [sic]
Upon turning on the game, the first two lines of an upbeat I Love Beijing Tiananmen can be heard. The two lines will loop endlessly throughout the game until the game is turned off. The track, though short, is actually one of the few samples of streamed audio voices to be played on a Super Famicom cartridge. There are no sound effects in the game.
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HappySoft Ltd. distributed the games themselves, but few retail stores were interested in getting copies of the game at the time. After this game, HappySoft was never heard from again. Therefore, actual hard copies are extremely rare, and the ones commonly available nowadays are emulated ROMs. Although this game is difficult to obtain through legal means, it gained notoriety years after its release for portraying an actual event in a bad taste and bad quality, and was thus spread on the internet. Soon it became famous enough in Japanese gaming forums it was featured in articles of underground books and magazines. The game eventually spilled out of Japan, and received a greater following in Taiwan. This is probably because of the relative familiarity with the Hong Kong transfer of sovereignty in 1997, and not to mention the awkward Chinese subtitles that was also available in the game. The song I Love Beijing Tiananmen also gained popularity because of its repetitive nature, though this popularity is mostly satirical towards the People's Republic of China. Some teenagers in Taiwan even made a spoof of HK97 called "TW2001" for the PC, claiming it to be worse than HK97. TW2001 features Taiwanese textbook characters Wang Xiaoming (王小明) and Wang Xiaoying (王小英), with an additional 'bomb' command. Unlike HK97, TW2001 is freeware.