Predictably, a game named Dirty Chinese Restaurant created by Canadian company Big-O-Tree Games (yes, you read that right), has been pulled from its slated release, after some members of the international tech community rained hell on its creators for developing such a blatantly-racist game.
What is the game about anyway?
In Dirty Chinese Restaurant, you play a restaurant owner who has to run a place that he inherited from his brother.
In essence, this is a resource-management game with various mini-games embedded. Here are some things you do to play the game:
- To supply meat for your menu items, you’re required to chase and kill stray cats and dogs with a meat cleaver as a mini-game.
- You have to handle random visits from the police where your workers (who are assumed to be illegal immigrants) may be deported.
- You also run an illegal gambling den as a mini game in your restaurant.
- You have the option to pay your workers “degradingly frugal minimum wages.” What this amounts to was never revealed.
Here is the first write-up the company itself did about the game:
According to reports, Big-O-Tree Games had initially defended its game, saying that the game was merely “satire” that drew inspiration from the likes of South Park, Family Guy and other adult cartoons that constantly made fun of stereotypes.
The negative reactions to their game (without the launch) grew when a US lawmaker, Grace Cheng, released a statement condeming the game and everything it stood for.
Take a look at her statement here:
In her Facebook post, the New York representative said that the danger of the game is that it “epitomizes racism.” She fears that the depictions of the characters and how the game is played can help reinforce negative perceptions about Asian people.
She categorically said that the game promoted “racism” and called on mobile app platforms Google, Apple and other companies to boycott the game.
Eventually, the Toronto-based game company retracted the game and released this statement:
“After careful consideration and taking the time to listen to the publics opinion we have decided it’s not in anyone’s best interest to release Dirty Chinese Restaurant. We would like to make a sincere and formal apology to the Chinese community and wish to assure them that this game was not created with an intentional interest of inflicting harm or malice against Chinese culture.
Out of respect we will begin removing all marketing media pertaining to DCR off our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. These accounts will also be removed. We ask the press to please respect our privacy at this time as we begin the task of removing all our content.”
This is the only thing you will see on their website. On their Facebook page, you’ll find that they’ve taken down all the material on the game.
Before they released this statement, officials from the game company said that the game was wholly satire. The official said, “Our game in no way is meant to be an accurate representation of Chinese culture.”
You can still see it, though
Some news outlets were able to take the game materials from the company’s accounts before everything was taken down. Here are some of the screenshots from the game:
Here is a sequence where policemen come to the restaurant to harass the player character. According to some netizens, this reflects badly on the police force.
Another part of the game lets you run and illegal gambling section within your restaurant.
Above you can see how the Chinese restaurant you run in the game could be called “dirty.”
Playing on a common misconception and/or shady practice in real dirty restaurants, your player character must catch stray cats and dogs so they can have a meat supply for the restaurant.
Netizens react to the game
Since Big-O-Tree released their statement, netizens have expressed dismay and even support for the game. Here are some of the reactions:
Some expressed support for the game
Should the game be brought back if Chinese people want to play it?
Others took issue with the fact that the developers likened themselves to comedian Dave Chappelle.
Others condemned the game and the developers.
How about you? Would you pay $4.99 and play this game? Let us know in the comments!