We’ve come a long way from the days of “getting your older brother to finish the final levels of Adventure for you.” Digital Journal reports on a father in China who hired virtual hitmen to kill his son’s video game characters.
According to Chinese media a man known as “Mr. Feng” hired “virtual” assassins to kill off his son’s avatar in online video games. He believed his son’s gaming habit was to blame for his poor grades in school and failure to land a job. Mr. Feng was concerned his son, 23-year-old Xiao Feng, spent far too much online, and hoped his actions would deter his son from playing.
An article on The Telegraph offers further detail;
The 23-year-old man, identified in reports as Xaio Feng, noticed that he was frequently targeted in an online game by players who were considerably more skilled them him. Suspecting that something was amiss, he talked to the players, who said they had been paid to ‘kill’ him.
Frankly, it’s hard to blame Xaio Feng for his habit. Video game addiction is a serious problem in China, akin to the long-standing Japanese addiction to pachinko, or the twin French addictions to non-work and complaining. These cultures all lack the basic self-control and natural inclination towards productive time-utilization that is endemic to the American population, particularly our young. It is unsurprising then that Chinese youth like Xaio Feng are lured by the siren song of escapist games into fantasy worlds. Consider his alternative. He is a twenty-something boyman, born into a Communist country that, unlike America, has no hope for economic growth.
Fortunately, Feng’s story has a happy ending. He and his father have reconciled. Had his addiction taken place only a few years earlier, the outcome might have been far darker, as Chinese youth were often consigned to psychiatric institutions and given ‘refreshment therapy‘ (i.e. electroshock) as a cure.
Only in China.