Historical game aims to draw auds away from o'seas fare

It’s no wonder Chinese consumers are clamoring for pirated Western media.

After a year in development, “Chinese Heroes” — a new Internet vidgame designed to lure Chinese players away from violent foreign fare and focus them on more patriotic pursuits — is still not ready for release. And the game, when it finally does arrive, doesn’t exactly sound like riveting play.

Instead of a shoot-em-up, “Heroes” is more of a look-em-up game: Players click on statues of ancient generals and Communist Party heroes to learn their experiences and carry out tasks like moving bricks. Gamers gather information and collect raindrops (yes, raindrops) en route to the online “Hero Square,” where they’ll be asked about the heroes’ life stories to earn points.

“We hope the game will teach players about Chinese ethics,” Kou Xiaowei, an official with China’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), told the Xinhua news agency.

Online gaming has exploded in China in recent years, with nearly 14 million people taking part, and the industry is expected to generate $1 billion this year.

But some Chinese youngsters say “Chinese Heroes” sounds boring, and that they’re much more interested in playing mainstream titles like “World of Warcraft.”

The Blizzard Entertainment title is one of the most popular Internet games around the world. In China, some 630,000 gamers are playing simultaneously at any one time.

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