Animal Crossing And The Freedom Of SpeechMay 24, 2020 | 1 Votes by jose 10 rate Who ever thought that a simple and cute online game would end up as a world celebrated venue for the Freedom of Speech.
The Covid-19 pandemic has no doubt affected the gaming industry in a lot of different ways. However, gaming is but one portion of the whole issue which affects the whole world today. The core of the issue actually traces back to mainland China, the source of the pandemic. Mainland China is also known as Communist China as opposed to Formosa also known as the Republic of China (ROC) or Taiwan. Taiwan is a democratic state that promotes the freedom of speech which is abhorred and censored by the mainland's Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Most of us are aware of the kind of brutal human rights violations and totalitarian state control practiced by the Communist. China is a place where people have totally no rights and must strictly comply with the edicts and laws of the CCP. This is the country where individuals are routinely being incarcerated and put to death for simply voicing out their opinions or telling the truth. What more is the fact that the CCP hates criticism and will immediately silence anyone who dares to do so.
Everything is controlled from daily life, the media, the Internet, and even almost inconsequential activities such as gaming. Probably even going to the restroom would also be under the control of the CCP. The party treats everything with political bias and applies this to even personal choices such as religion and ethnicity. Thus is the fate of the hundred thousand followers of the Fallun Gong as well as other ethnic groups and religious followers who have fallen victim to the massive human rights crimes of the CCP.
Despite this, the people of a single state under Communist China dares to stand up for their rights and the freedom of their speech. That state is Hong Kong. Being a former colony of the British Crown until its return to China in 1997, most of the people of Hong Kong have stood strong to their former beliefs despite the imposition of the communist regime with their vehement protest against the mainland's Extradition Policy which totally undermines the rights of the people of Hong Kong. Almost the whole of 2019, the people took to the streets giving the CCP one of it's worst headaches. Clashes between protesters and police often ended up in violence with the whole world bearing witness to the events that had unfolded.
By Dec. 2019, the Corona Virus outbreak in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China had reached the international media with the first recorded death in Jan. of 2020. From thereon, the catastrophic viral contagion spread throughout the world. This temporarily placed a stop to the almost daily massive protests happening in Hong Kong. As the CCP continues to monitor, block and control overall communications and media in China, the protestors had no way to air their voices. Youth activist leader and avid Nintendo Switch gamer Joshua Wong started an online protest campaign to continue the Hong Kong protests amidst the pandemic.
The CCP may have been able to censor everything but they had seemed to miss one very widespread means of communication, online gaming. Using the game Animal Crossing, Joshua was able to rally other protesters/gamers into establishing an online rallying community within the game where they were able to practice freedom of speech and criticize the government while protesting for the freedom of Hong kong. The game let's one play the role of a kid exploring an island inhabited by cute and friendly animal NPCs that one can interact with on a daily basis. The game is open-ended as the player will have to explore the place, search for artifacts, and perform other activities to earn bells, the in-game cash of the game.
With bells, one can purchase items and other features that can be used to spice up the gameplay and interest other players to visit and view one's personal environment in the game. One can put up custom made decorations and images and this is what Joshua just did. "Free Hong Kong". One can even communicate by either sending letters or chatting in the game. Naturally, the HK protesters found a way for their voices to be heard not only in China but in the whole wide world as well.
Angry by being outwitted by freedom-loving HK gamers, the CCP ordered the local gaming server platforms which run the game to take it down. Sales were prohibited as well although the ever smart gamers could purchase it on-line from outside China. Believing this to be a victory, the CCP censored and band online gaming in a lot more varied ways particularly where Chinese gamers could communicate with the outside world. Too late as the harm to them had already been done. The world had received the message Joshua and the other protesters had uploaded online and the CCP's actions afterward only spurred the popularity of the game particularly in the free western world.
Animal Crossing was first released by Nintendo and developed by Katsuya Eguchi way back in 2001. Since then the game had risen in popularity and had gone through several iterations as well. It's cuteness and immersive gameplay drawing the player into a sort of private real-time alternate world has managed to draw up a huge if not sizeable crowd worldwide. With it's unforeseen and spur-of-the-moment use as a very effective tool for freedom of speech and the fight against Communist oppression in Hong Kong, the game despite its kid-like appeal will no doubt go down in gaming history as one of those games that made a big difference.