Hong Kong 97 (video game)

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Hong Kong 97
Hong Kong 97 cover.jpg
Game cover
Developer(s)HappySoft
Publisher(s)HappySoft
Designer(s)Yoshihisa "Kowloon" Kurosawa[1]
Platform(s)Super Famicom with floppy disk drive
ReleaseApril 2, 1995[2]
Genre(s)Multidirectional shooter
Mode(s)Single-player

Hong Kong 97,[a] stylized as HONGKONG1997 on the game's cover, is a 1995 unlicensed multidirectional shooter made for the Super Famicom in disk drive format by HappySoft Ltd., a Japanese homebrew game company. It was designed by the Japanese game journalist "Kowloon" Kurosawa [ja] (クーロン黒沢 Kūron Kurosawa), who said the game was made in two days. The game has gained a cult following in Japan and Taiwan for its notoriously poor quality, considered to be a kusoge.

Plot[edit]

The game is set around the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. People from the Chinese Mainland 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 and a heroin addict,[2][4] 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 in 1997, which is when the game's plot actually takes place.[5]

Gameplay[edit]

Immediately after the plot introduction (which follows some ads and the title screen), the game begins. The player controls Chin, with the objective being to shoot and evade the Chinese populace and police officers moving downwards from the top of the screen. When shot, the enemies explode in mushroom clouds, leaving behind a flashing corpse and items for instant death or temporary invincibility. After a while, cars start appearing from the sides, moving horizontally across the screen as obstacles. After thirty enemies have been defeated by the player, the final boss, ultimate weapon Tong Shau Ping (depicted as the disembodied, proportionally giant head of Deng Xiaoping), appears. Once he is defeated, the game repeats itself. The game shows static photos as the background, which alternate between pictures of Maoist propaganda, Guilin, the logo for Asia Television, the logo for Chinese Coca-Cola or 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 still frame of a man's corpse with bullet holes is shown 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 (curiously listing the Embassy of Canada to Japan as cooperation partner) and back to the title screen and repeats again.

Upon turning on the game, the first two lines of an upbeat "I Love Beijing Tiananmen" song can be heard, which loop endlessly throughout the game. The game can be played in English, Japanese or traditional Chinese.

Development[edit]

In January 2018, Yoshihisa "Kowloon" Kurosawa, the person responsible for Hong Kong 97, finally broke his silence on the development of the game to the South China Morning Post.[1] He stated that his goal was to make the worst game possible as a mockery to the game industry. Since Kurosawa did not have much programming skills, he had an Enix employee help him out, with the game being made in two days. Kurosawa took the music from a second-hand LaserDisc he got in Shanghai Street, and the main character sprite was taken from a movie poster.[1][6]

With the game completed, Kurosawa used a game backup device that could copy Super Famicom games onto floppy disks, devices sold in computer malls of Sham Shui Po. He made some merchandise through articles written under pseudonyms for underground gaming magazines, and set up a mail-order service to sell the game in floppy discs and cartridges.[7] After selling it for a few months, he forgot about his bootleg. He became aware that Hong Kong 97 was gaining some unwanted attention in the late 2000s. Eventually, fans of Hong Kong 97 found his Facebook account and since then he has been repeatedly bombarded with questions surrounding the game.[1]

Reception[edit]

In retrospective reviews, Hong Kong 97 was met with overwhelmingly negative reception, with some calling it one of the worst video games ever made.[1][5][6][8][9] It was also referred to as a kusoge, meaning "shitty game".[8] Journalists have noted the game's racism.[5][8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hong Kong 97 (香港 97, Hon Kon 97)[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Shamdasani, Pavan (2018-02-02). "Developer of world's worst video game, Hong Kong 1997, ends silence to reveal its strange genesis and beg gamers to drop it". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 2018-04-21. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  2. ^ a b DillyDylan (2018-11-06). "Hong Kong 97: The story of the Super Famicom's most infamous game". Gaming Alexandria. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  3. ^ "Hon Kon 97" 香港97 [Hong Kong 97]. Six Samana (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  4. ^ "3 WHAT'S クーロン黒沢って誰やねん?" (in Japanese). Yahoo! GeoCities. Archived from the original on 2018-09-11. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  5. ^ a b c Plunkett, Luke (2012-08-21). "Racism, Violence & Madness Make This Awful Hong Kong Game One to Remember". Kotaku. New York City: Univision Communications. Archived from the original on 2018-01-19. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  6. ^ a b Wells, Adam (2018-09-16). "Awful Game Has Enduring Legacy Despite Creator's Wishes". Kotaku Australia. Surry Hills: Univision Communications. Retrieved 2019-02-25.
  7. ^ yokai-chan. "no one gives a hoot about FAUX-ASS nonesense, yokai-chan: Bidding started last night on the..." Tumblr. New York City: Verizon Media. Archived from the original on 2018-04-26. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  8. ^ a b c Lamy, Corentin. "Laid, raté et raciste: l'invraisemblable épopée du «pire jeu vidéo du monde»" (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Lima, Diego. "Os 10 piores games da história que você precisa conhecer" (in Portuguese). IGN Brazil. Retrieved February 25, 2019.

External links[edit]