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Bring Me The Heads Of Twelve Corrupt Mistresses

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Incorruptible Warrior, the truly bizarre anti-graft game from the land of some truly bizarre MMOs, has gone offline. This translation of a Chinese newspaper article has some details of the game:

When you kill a corrupt official, you gain experience points. For example, killing the notorious eunuch official Wei Zhongxian from the Ming dynasty gains you 100 experience points. As you accumulate points, you increase your powers for “Combatting corruption,” “Moral character” and “Degree of being corruption free” instead of the usual “life,” “magic” and “strength” in other kinds of games. Your ultimate goal is to reach <Honest and Corruption-Free Paradise>, where “the birds sing, the flowers give out fragrance, the people are full of love and harmony, the nation is prospering and the world is calm and peaceful.”

And from that noted game review site the Wall Street Journal,

Incorruptible Warrior went live in July — for about three weeks — before it was taken down. The Ningbo government hasn’t offered an explanation, though at one point it posted a message on the game’s main Web site citing technical difficulties. Officials of China’s Ministry of Culture — which regulates the online-games industry and normally would be the agency to shutter a game for excessive violence or other violations — said they had nothing to do with shutting down Incorruptible Warrior. Other central government officials in Beijing declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

The game went live amid a rash of high-level corruption cases — from the July execution of the nation’s top drug watchdog for graft to last fall’s disgrace of the Shanghai Communist Party boss for mismanaging pension funds. It also sparked heated debate on the Chinese Internet, which at 162 million users is now the second-largest, following the U.S.

Still, some players and industry analysts theorize that Incorruptible Warrior was less a victim of Chinese politics than of shaky history, slow speeds and bad design.

“Lots of people laughed at the graphics,” observes Leon Zhang, a blogger from Nanjing.

Clearly, the Serious Games movement is alive and well in China.