Mao is looking out for you
- Quiet list. Not in the least of which because for the past year,
I've been much more deeply involved in issues of functional
programming, compiler, design, and game AI than in game design per
se. That said, maybe I'll try to say something about the
mathematical provability of high level strategies in Civ-like games,
when I have something more tangible to offer. Right now I'm still
Anyways, I was struck by the following article about China doing
something proactive / dictatorial about online game addiction. It
resonates with me because I have recently "dried out" as far as
online interactions. My Civ-like game binging habits do continue
sporadically, however. Ah well, 1 bad habit removed at least!
Anyways my feeling is, controlling people's time sounds awful, but
really it was my recent lack of internet connectivity that forced me
to "dry out." For a time, all I had were public library terminals,
with either exceedingly limited time budgets (1 hour/day at the
public library) or restrictions on use (no e-mail longer than 10
minutes at the community college.) Even now, I connect to the
internet through a cell phone, and the minutes are free only after 9
pm and on weekends. Thus I can't start my day by poisoning myself
with a useless barrage of e-mail.
I'm also curious how people will "game" the online RPGs to get around
the time restrictions. Just keep 4 accounts? Or will people accept
devaluation of their characters, and will this greatly change the
game economy? Could this have the unintended consequence of making
the game about something other than "hours and hours of tedious
Brandon Van Every
Chinese Online Publishers Sign 'Beijing Accord'
Chinese government officials have unveiled new plans to discourage
users from playing online games for more than three consecutive
hours. Officials first announced plans to limit online use in August,
when they also banned anyone from under the age of eighteen from
playing online games where it was possible to kill other players.
"This timing mechanism can prevent young people from becoming
addicted to online games," Kou Xiaowei, deputy director of the
Audiovisual and Internet Publication Department of the General
Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), said during a press
conference, in remarks reported by China's Interfax press agency.
The new system, developed under the guidance of GAPP, cuts the
ability level of a player's online game character by half after they
have played for more than three consecutive hours. Once a player has
played for more than five consecutive hours, the system cuts the
ability level of that player's character to the lowest level allowed
by the game. Players must be logged off for a minimum of five hours
before the system resets.
The system also lowers the ability of players to find treasures or
prizes available in an online game after they have played for more
than three consecutive hours, but it does not at any point actually
prevent the user from playing the game or communicating with others
online. Development of the system is scheduled for completion at the
end of September 2005 and will become compulsory by at least spring
Seven of China's largest online games publishers Shanda, NetEase,
The9, Optisp, Kingsoft, SINA and Sohu have already agreed to the
measures and signed up to an agreement nicknamed the "Beijing
Accord", which will see them pledging to "sacrifice short-term
revenues" to create a "healthy" environment for young Internet users.