Today’s online gaming industry is often regarded as a modern form of art. Since video games are overwhelmingly pervasive in the lives of young people, it is crucial for game designers to make games an educational outlet that promotes the right and ethical culture.
Being one of the oldest and most-populated countries with a long history and astonishing landscapes, China seems to be a popular influence and ideal setting for video games. Its mythology is fascinating, and that’s precisely the part of the Chinese culture that’s usually an inspiration for successful video games.
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor has influenced Chinese pop culture more than any other game in the last decade. It was the most popular smartphone game in the world at one stage in 2018. Originally intended to be a copycat of League of Legends, it quickly gained a cult that rivaled the original.
AoV was the game that laid the groundwork for gaming to become an inseparable part of Chinese culture. Burgers based on the game were available at McDonald’s. Angelababy dressed up as one of the game’s protagonists for a cosplay. There is a whole coaching industry devoted to helping people improve their game. It went beyond being “just a game” to becoming a significant part of many young people’s social lives.
Characters were initially based on Chinese folklore and mythology, but when the marketing team decided to westernize the game, they turned them into characters inspired by European customs and a few mythologies from other nations. That turned out to be a good move because it grossed over $140 million outside China by September 2018.
When we talk about fantasy, the name that pops out is Jade Empire – a game based upon fighting resistance with ancient martial arts and lost tactics.
Jade Empire is a third-person game where, in order to be able to save Master Li, the protagonist’s teacher, you must learn the secrets of a variety of war tactics, including defense, curing, and even some magical skills.
The game is inspired by Chinese myths, so you’re in for epic battles against not only human opponents but also magical beings and demons. The dynamic fighting structure of the game is without question one of the main strengths of the game, with an opportunity to swap between several different tactics on request.
Ink, Mountains and Mystery
Classical Chinese ink paintings are recognized for their distinctive panoramic style, and this game is an excellent demonstration of this technique.
You are a monk who aspires to be a great painter and magically leaps into several famous drawings, embarking on quests with a tailed kid of unknown origin.
The art is stunning, but the gameplay is fairly ordinary. You can only select and claim objects and then drop them later, similar to a puzzle game.
That comes as no surprise, given that the game’s primary goal is to serve as an educational platform rather than a game. As a result of joint efforts by developer NetEase and Forbidden City Museum, Ink, Mountains and Mystery offer players an opportunity to discover and engage with locals, hear their stories, and solve challenges.
Mahjong, also known as mah-jongg, is a tile-based game that originated in China in the 19th century and has since evolved into a global phenomenon. It’s usually played by four people (with some three-player versions found in parts of China, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia). The game and its local adaptations are often seen in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and Western countries. It has also been turned into a common form of online recreation. Mahjong is a game of talent, tactics, and luck, similar to the Western card game rummy, and a great example of Chinese mind sharpness.
Although the strongest Chinese franchise to date is based on a historical Chinese classic – Romance of the Three Kingdoms – it was developed by a Japanese studio.
With nine main series installments and a slew of spin-offs, Dynasty Warriors has essentially defined the “slash ’em up” genre. It’s an easy, absurd, yet addictive series with a plot that’s primarily unimportant and battles that are completely brutal. As the world awaits a fresh release of the Dynasty Warriors 10, it’s safe to say that this the one China-based series we can still count on.
Not all Chinese culture-inspired games are around ink decorations or Han culture. Every aspect of the Nishan Shaman is embedded in the folklore of northern China’s minorities. From the shadow sway of its graphic design to the plot and music, Chinese cultural elements are strong in this one.
In this game, you take on the role of a group’s shaman and use her drum as a shield to fight an unforgiving higher power. It’s essentially a finger-only version of Rock Band, except unlike the standard versions, the beats drive the plot along, with theatrical moments ending in unusual tribal growls that will give you goosebumps.
Wrapping It Up
Video games, just like other forms of art, allow us to travel to and discover new and exciting locations without ever having to leave our seats. We can relax and enjoy our time in both actual and imaginary universes, and we can also choose our favorite time frames – the past, the future, or the Universe as we know it now. The technology helps us hop to China, among a plethora of other locations, and see it through the eyes of game creators and their games inspired by Chinese mythology and culture.
If you like Chinese architecture and history, you can look into some of the video games that take place in China. These aren’t necessarily the most famous games, but they stand out because they’re always created with heart and love by people who genuinely appreciate this lovely country and its history.