Steam’s New Anti-Feminist Game Divides Chinese Netizens

“So it’s okay for Chinese feminists to attack Chinese men, but when Chinese men make an ironic game, it is to create conflict?”

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12:07 AM HKT, Thu January 13, 2022 2 mins read

Video game distributor Steam is set to release a new PC game on January 31 titled 元宇宙普信男生存指南, which roughly translates to Survival Guide for a Regular Guy in the Metaverse’ (from now on referred to as Regular Guy in the Metaverse).

The game is in Chinese only, but the seemingly male-focused, anti-feminist storyline is worth exploring (or rather, debating), even if you don’t speak the language.

Regular Guy in the Metaverse is a simulation game with elements of choice and consequence. Players, who control a male character in the game, decide between two response options to circumstances ranging from determining your family’s financial situation to voting on a trendy social topic to reacting to flirtatious behavior.

In each situation, gamers must choose to either stay “average yet confident” or “say bye to themselves.” The game developer doesn’t clarify what the latter option means, but we interpret it as changing yourself and catering to social expectations.

The game offers eight different endings to be unlocked depending on each decision users make. Though whatever players choose, as the game page claims, they’re always able to find a girlfriend by the end.

steam game feminism

A screengrab of the game’s Steam page

The game page on Steam’s website claims that it’s set 77 years into the Metaverse on Planet Vega and that the content has nothing to do with our current reality. Nonetheless, it’s clearly intended to be a reflection of real life.

For example, the phrase “average yet confident” was a punchline by controversial comedian Yang Li from the TV stand-up comedy contest Rock & Roast in 2020. Yang used the term to poke fun at ordinary Chinese men who are full of themselves.

Though some watchers accused Yang of man-hating, she rose to fame after the show, and the punchline became one of the most used memes among Chinese feminist netizens that year. Even today, it is still making waves on the internet.

Regular Guy in the Metaverse clearly holds a different view toward men than Yang. The game’s Steam page argues, in what seems to be a rebuke to Yang’s joke, that “men are entitled to stay ordinary but keep a confident spirit.”

Through various scenarios, players are encouraged to “stay true to yourself, do not lose this valuable quality.”

Interestingly, the game was originally called 中华普信男生存指南, or ‘Survival Guide for a Regular Chinese Guy.’ The characters 中华, which mean ‘Chinese,’ were only recently changed to Metaverse sometime within the last week.

The game description posted on Steam has also seen modification. An earlier version described the need for players to battle “the increase of homegrown feminism in China.”

According to a tweet by VICE News producer Tony Lin, the original description also included a quote from Adolf Hitler’s vile literary work Mein Kampf. Yikes.

Online discussions around the game are largely divided, with some calling it problematic and others arguing it’s okay for games to contain a bit of irony.

“I sincerely recommend that the production team make it multi-language and doesn’t just offer it to Chinese men. Make sure that gamers all over the world can experience this wonderfully creative and interesting game,” sarcastically wrote an internet novel writer on Weibo. She added in her post that she’s a feminist and often gets attacked online.

“Now it’s just a game? Why didn’t you say it was just comedy when Yang Li was under fire?​” another netizen opined.

“So it’s okay for Chinese feminists to attack Chinese men, but when Chinese men make an ironic game, it is to create conflict?” a gamer questioned on Steam’s discussion page for the game.

It’s hard to tell the real intention of the game before it’s officially released. However, we aren’t optimistic Regular Guy in the Metaverse will be a bastion for gender equality or just social values.

All images via Steam

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