Beijing's Smog -- It's Like Living In Silent Hill

If you've read any international news regarding China recently, you'll definitely have read about the environmental disaster that is Beijing's air.

Over the weekend and heading into the week, Beijing has been covered in a terrible haze of "smog", causing issues with traffic, air travel, and most importantly health. The Air Quality Index, an index used to judge particle matter in the air, went off the charts in Beijing. As of this writing, the AQI is reading 335 — that's "Hazardous".

The air quality issues being as dire as they are have been jokingly referred to by some in the game development community of Beijing as "Welcome to Silent Hill."

Walking outside in the smog felt like walking through a sand storm — I'm sure many of our readers in the Middle East will know what I'm going through. If you've never walked through thick pollution, here's what it's like. The first thing you notice is your eyes burning, then a slight sulphur-y taste in your mouth even though your mouth isn't open. After an initial breath of automobile exhaust, the following breaths feel almost tinny. The closest thing that I can equate it to would be walking through a metal shop without a protective face mask. But hey, don't take my word for it: here are some reactions from Beijing's game development community.

Game designer Andy Lee Chaisiri took this photo while he was downtown Saturday, also referring to the Chinese capital as "Silent Hill".

Chris Pfeiffer of Kabam says that walking through downtown Beijing was like walking through soup.

"Dude, it's soup outside! Like a beach was sent through a fan, its microdermabrasion for FREE!"

Pfeiffer also made a joke about it was like living in GTA.

"It appears that my video card isn't very good. The fog plane is very close.

if I see an pop in... then I'll know I am living in GTA"

Jesse LaRue of Happy Latte said "I guess it's a lot like Pea Soup fog... only soupier."

One thing that everyone agreed on was that being outside was definitely not healthy. I've even interviewed a few doctors who advised everyone stay indoors. The top photo, a photo outside of my apartment building taken by my neighbour, can show you how poor visibility is. My neighbour Jimmy and I both live on the ninth floor. Looking outside today, I couldn't find any better excuse to just stay home and play video games. Unfortunately I had to go to work.

Bonus photo — can you see the ferris wheel?


    I remember one day back in 2009 when I was in Shanghai, I literally could not see more than 150 to 200 metres. The sun was a dim, orange glow in the sky and it was hard to even see its precise location in the sky. I remember thinking it was like Blade Runner or something..

    "The first thing you notice is your eyes burning, then a slight sulphur-y taste in your mouth even though your mouth isn’t open"

    Yup.. that's what it was like in Shanghai that day. I've never had any bad air in Beijing, fortunately for me, but it does seem like a more common occurence there than in Shanghai.

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