In what could be described as a form of macabre entertainment, an increasing number of Chinese youth are rushing to clubs to play a game that can be best interpreted as "scripted homicide". The game in which players become different characters and solve fake murders has led to a proliferation of clubs and competition for new scripts.
The growing popularity of this game, which is expected to generate more than USD 2 billion in revenue, has sparked concerns from Chinese government officials about their sometimes gothic or gory content, New York Times reported. Moreover, the popularity of the game has led to a proliferation of clubs and competition for new and compelling scripts. "There's a huge demand for good scripts that's just not met," said Zhang Yi, 28, a Shanghai resident who played nearly 100 games over a year. "The script is the foundation to everything in this game."
The game titled "Jubensha" in Chinese requires players to gather in a group to discuss a fake murder or other crime. According to the NYT report, each player is assigned a character and then they engage in an elaborate role-playing game, asking questions of the host and each other, until they determine which one of them is the culprit. The "scripted homicide" game offers character backgrounds, relationships and storylines. After the game is played out, players vote on who they think the murderer might be.
Zhang, a player from Shanghai, "Jubensha" has become one of her primary ways to meet people. "I met people who I now spend the entire weekend with," she was quoted as saying by NYT. "We meet every week. It's replaced a lot of the other activities in my life."
"I couldn't leave Beijing for two months," said Gong Jin, a veterinary medicine student. "I felt bored, so I often played script murder." Gong, who works at a club said, "I shed tears every time I play." Gong said the pleasure comes from matching players with a part in the script that "will touch you and resonate with you."
China, a country with one billion internet users, spends a lot of hours on their phones, causing concern to the government about excessive screen time. The government's concerns led to a recent restriction on playtime of video game time for minors.