Monday, September 6, 2010

Beheading Freedom in World of Warcraft

Finally the Chinese gamers get their hands on World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King despite the rest of the world enjoying it for 2 years now. And, as expected, after a long examination of the game, the Communist party censored any details that they felt would lead to thoughts of overthrowing the government. The most ridiculous of this censorship is the ban of the word “freedom” or “liberty” (自由) which also results in mandatory renaming for characters and guilds. Due to this rule, chatting about freedom in the context of quests, or discussions regarding free trade of in-game materials is also forbidden since players cannot use the word “free” (自由). China’s dear beloved leader justified this ban by saying that the concepts of freedom are not suitable for the gaming or cyber world. This, however,has not stopped gamers from using alternatives of the word in World of Warcraft. Instead they have created the word “目田” (not to be confused with the Japanese place 目田町) which symbolizes beheaded freedom(自由) or awaiting liberty’s arrival (何時才能出頭). It is the creation of the word “目田” that reflects how ridiculous the Communist censorship has become in both the internet and gaming (WoW and even Starcraft II). As such Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is now written as “星際爭霸目田之翼”, the phrase “freedom to use” has become“目田使用”,the phrase “freedom to abandon” is now“目田離開”, and the phrase “freedom to share” has changed to“目田分享.” In Addition, “目田”is the first Chinese word that is both a synonym and antonym to the word freedom (自由). Yes, the Chinese are truly creative for living under dictatorship for 5,000 years.