How Chinese Online Retailers Get Around Game Bans

Image: Taobao,Image: Abacus

Violent games keep getting banned in China. Last month, as r/gaming pointed out, China banned nine games and forced changes in 11 more. Many gory games have no chance of release. To slip past the country’s draconian censors, Chinese online retailers must get creative.

According to website Abacus, Taobao sellers have been trying to skirt around the bans with pseudonyms and hand-drawn box art.

Website Automaton Media reports that Resident Evil 2 is being sold with titles such as “Shoot And See: Remake 2" and “Capcom Remake 2”.

Screenshot: Baidu

Gory and scary? No, Resident Evil 2 is adorable and nice. Sorry, I meant “First Day of Work at the Police Station: Remake Version”. That’s the title!

Screenshot: Taobao

Other workarounds include using art from Plants vs Zombies when selling RE2 or selling the survival horror remake as “Little Nightmares 2”, using box art from Little Nightmares. One retailer redrew the box art and just used English, hoping to fool the authorities. 

Image: Taobao,Image: Abacus

This kind of thing is not new. Online retailers in China have been trying to fly under the ethics board radar for years.

For example, the uncensored version of Diablo 3 has been sold as “Demon Buddy” or, as Kotaku previously reported, “Big Pineapple”.

Screenshot: Taobao

In Chinese, a big pineapple is “dà bōluó”, which sounds like Diablo. Chinese officials monitoring online retail sites would search using the game’s official Chinese name, which translates to “Dark God of Destruction”, and not “Big Pineapple”. That is, until all the Chinese game sites began covering the ruse.

Abacus adds that other pseudonyms include selling the banned Battlefield 4 as “Boyfriend Storm”.

These fake titles are great fun! Super strict ratings boards aren’t.

In case you missed it, check out Kotaku’s Resident Evil 2 review right here.


    Um demonbuddy is a bot. That is why the price is 60 yuan....

    Fighting censorship in China! And turning a profit at the same time. For a country that claims to hate capitalism, they are sure good at capitalising.

      China is the best of everyone at capitalism.

        They are as good at capitalism as they are bad at communism.
        Delicious special fried irony.

      They don't claim to hate capitalism, that's just American Cold War era propaganda that they rehashed in 2018.

      The reason we are being pushed toward conflict with China is because of their success in capatalist markets.

        Spot on. China seems to be one of the least understood countries in the world, thanks to certain western propaganda. In particular, despite being a unitary one-party government they're also a republic, meaning they do have democratic processes both publicly (local elections) and internally to the party through congress tiers. Their economic system has been an implementation of state capitalism since the 1978 reforms.

          Didn't they change the law last year allowing indefinite leadership?

            They removed term limits, but the president still needs to be elected by the National People's Congress at the end of each term. For comparison, around 40% of countries worldwide have no term limits for their head of state, including Australia.

              Yes the congress run by a single party though right?

                In effect. The Chinese system does have other parties, but their role is cooperative rather than adversarial. You don't have to be a member of any party to be elected to any congress.

                The members of each congress are elected by the congress below, and the lower tier congress members are directly elected by the public. This is similar to how we vote for our local member and then they collectively decide on the prime minister themselves, we have no say in that arrangement. The Chinese system has a lot more tiers than we do of course, they have 63 times the population we do.

                Chinese specifics aside, it's worth noting that a single party system isn't inherently bad or undemocratic, it's just different to the adversarial system we have. There's recourse for the public in both systems if they don't like the direction of public policy - in both cases you vote for a different local member, which progressively changes the composition of the tiers above. In practice it's slower to effect change in the Chinese political apparatus, but its sheer size is as much a driver for that as CPC control of the levers is.

        In truth, I'd prefer Australia to establish stronger ties with China politically than the US. The US is not a good ally for us. China have economic ties here and are much better candidate for for us economically, geographically, and maritally.

        Just because the US speaks the same language of us and we watch their TV shows, doesn't mean we have to commit to our post-WW2 stance on friendship with them. They're a bag of dicks at the moment. Let's get some more of dat China love going on instead.

    One Big Pineapple 3, please!

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