Hong Kong 97 (video game)
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|Hong Kong 97|
Hong Kong 97 (香港97), stylized as HONGKONG1997 on the game's boxart, is a 1995 unlicensed multidirectional shooter video game made in Japan for the Super Famicom in disk drive format by HappySoft Ltd., a Japanese homebrew game company. The game was designed by the Japanese game journalist Kowloon Kurosawa (クーロン黒沢 Kūron Kurosawa), who said the game was made in about a week. The game has gained a cult following in Japan and Taiwan for its notoriously poor quality including copyright images – it has been ranked as a kusoge, which literally means "shitty game", a game considered "so bad that it's good". It has since been given multiple parody treatments.
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 (referred to as "fuckin' ugly reds", making this one of the very few games on the Super Famicom that contains cursing) started immigrating to Hong Kong and greatly increased the crime rate. As a countermeasure, Chin (Jackie Chan in his Wheels on Meals appearance), an unspecified relative of Bruce Lee, was hired by the Hong Kong government (represented by Chris Patten) to wipe out all 1.2 billion people in China. But meanwhile, in China, research was underway to bring the dead "Tong Shau Ping" (Deng Xiaoping) back to life as the "ultimate weapon".
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 mushroom cloud (notably poorly cropped, to the point the explosion is nearly rectangular), 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 have been destroyed by the player, 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, the logo for 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 an image of what appears to be a real corpse (rumoured by many to be a photo of the body of Polish boxer Leszek Blazynski, whom committed suicide on August 6th 1992, the date shown on the photo, though this has not been proven) shows as the game over screen. The words "CHIN IS DEAD!" in English and in grammatically incorrect Chinese – "Chén sǐ wáng" (陳死亡) can be interpreted as either "Chin is dead", or as a proper name, "Dead Chin" – are superimposed on the game over screen. The game then 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.
Upon turning on the game, the first two lines of an upbeat "I Love Beijing Tiananmen" song can be heard. The two lines will loop endlessly throughout the game until the game is turned off, and is the only actual audio that plays during the game. The track, though short, is actually one of the few streamed tracks to be played on the Super Famicom platform. There are no sound effects in the game.
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 (numerous reviewers have commented on this; James Rolfe commented that he was unable to locate even photo evidence that a cartridge of the game existed, let alone the cartridge itself), and the ones commonly available 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 bad taste and bad quality, and was thus spread on the internet. Soon it became famous enough in Japanese gaming forums that it was featured in articles of underground books and magazines. The game eventually spilled out of Japan, and received a following in Taiwan. This is probably because of the relative familiarity with the Hong Kong transfer of sovereignty in 1997 and the awkward Chinese subtitles that were 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 made a spoof of HK97 called TW2001 for the PC, claiming it to be worse than HK97.
- Kowloon Kurosawa. 香港97 [Hong Kong 97]. Six Samana (in Japanese). Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- "Hong Kong 97 (Super Famicom) Angry Video Game Nerd – Episode 134". March 26, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.