I am sick to death of this story. When I first read this on Kotaku, I didn’t think much of it; days later, it turns out that this story has gone viral and been republished several times over until finally now making its way onto the BBC. The BBC.
I knew it when I first saw this that this is the usual run-of-the-mill apocryphal Chinese news story; never did I think that something like this could get republished over and over again without any fact checking. You know, news the old-fashioned way.
So, here it is for you to see for yourself: this is the original story as referenced by Kotaku. This isn’t the original source, but since every news outlet is quoting Kotaku, Sinopathic will bring you the entire news story that Kotaku referenced with the text translated into English.
Now that you have the story for yourself, please tell me why is this a reputable news story that was fit enough to be re-published on the BBC. What are the facts?
- What are the proper nouns used in this story? (hint: there’s only one) Are there any other facts mentioned in this story, like: where do they live? What is the name of the game he is playing? Where did his son go to school? What is the name of the company his son worked at? What does the father do? Where does he work? Why is the only proper noun for the entire story “Feng (冯)”？
- There are only two people interviewed for this story (and they share one name between them). Who are these “online assassins” (as described by other websites)? How did the father contact them? How did the father pay them? If this is a true story, then there must be some kind of precedent or similar story taking place. Who does that story concern, and what do they think about this?
- How does a reporter ever find out a story like this? If he found out about this online, where is the link?
- If the “online assassins” didn’t talk to Little Feng, why would they talk to other online players? How does something so small and concealed become public knowledge? If so many people know, why weren’t they interviewed?
- I don’t play online games (I have a life – I play console games offline, you losers), but the kind of situation described in the news story in which a player is spawned/respawned in the exact location where a select group of people can then target him sounds implausible/impossible. There’s a lot of people in China, and a lot of them play games, and just guessing (no facts, natch) but we’re talking about an online game with tens of thousands of people in a virtual world that is hundreds of miles across (if it’s something like WoW and other MMO’s – if only the facts could tell us). How many people do you need to employ to make this “virtual manhunt” work? How do these “online assassins” know exactly where Little Feng will spawn/respawn? Aren’t respawn areas safe zones where you can fraternize with your fellow players – like how Little Feng supposedly found out the truth about his infanticide-inclined father?
- Little Feng has been playing video games for a long time, ever since he was in middle school. The article states that his parents didn’t care before because he continued to receive good marks and played only in his spare time. Don’t his parents know what his work situation is? Doesn’t he talk to them and relate the day’s events, like “Oh yeah, I sent out a resume but I haven’t heard back.” It is conceivable that some Chinese family regard speaking out loud as heretical to the honor of one’s ancestors, but the father’s response appears to be inversely proportional to the problem at hand.
- The reporter made a grievous error: Little Feng is described as a video game “expert with genius ability”; has the reporter never heard of “grinding”, the work component of the fun of playing MMO’s? Grinding doesn’t not take talent or effort as much as it requires time. Of course, the reporter is saved the embarrassment of proven to have poorly researched a story because the story itself was poorly written without any facts. Touche; shine on you crazy diamond.
- I know this is China, and there are 5000 years of history and tradition behind any one man – but hey “Mr. Feng”, couldn’t you have said “stop that” and then your son would say “okay”, and then you’d go have ice cream? It may prove to be too “Western” and “decadent”, but you would get want you wanted. Because you asked him. Your son. Who by all tenets of Chinese thought and tradition, does what you say. The father.
This will probably be the last time I’ll ever get to say this, so here goes: “You suck, BBC News”. They went even further and went and asked somebody really smart about a news story he knows nothing about:
“It’s not going to do much for family relations,” Prof Mark Griffiths, a gambling and addictions expert at Nottingham Trent University told the BBC.
“I’ve never heard of that kind of intervention before, but I don’t think these top-down approaches work. Most excessive game playing is usually a symptom of an underlying problem.”
Yes yes, it’s all a wondrous tapestry… Prof Griffiths is undoubtedly a smart guy who must pick up freak pussy like a madman, but what does his comments have to do with this news story in which a Chinese father and son reconcile their differences? Does China know that England does not approve of Chinese “top-down” parenting techniques? What would Confucius say about this?
As for Kotaku, well, maybe it’s a better idea to stick with reporting on imaginary video games that don’t exist, like “Half-Life 2: Episode 3″ and “The Last Guardian”.
Father Employs Top Level Players of Online Game to Pursue and Kill His Son’s [In-Game Character] to Deter Him From Playing
Written by Tao Ying
December 28th, 2012, 8.17 AM Originally published on the Sanqin Metro Report
Little Feng likes to play games and has always been quite good at it. Lately however, he has found that he has become an “online target” for other players to pick on; once he logs into the game, Little Feng has found himself to be quickly killed off by top tier players, and made into a proverbial “sitting duck” for others to pick off. Little Feng thought this to be strange, and for the life of him could not figure out how something like this could come to pass. However, in the end he found out that his own father conspired to “pull the strings” of this online manhunt.
A Systematic “Search and Destroy” by Top Tier Players
As soon as Little Feng has logged into the game world, his in-game character is immediately surrounded by several top tier players ranked much higher than himself and without a word of explanation is immediately killed. This is something that he had never encountered before in all of his years of playing online games; after spending a lot of time conferring with other online players, Little Feng at last discovers the truth: his father has specifically hired these online players to “deal” with him.
Says Little Feng’s father: “I thought that by doing this he would lose interest in the game and instead apply his efforts towards finding a job.”
Upon hearing his father’s explanation, Little Feng turned off the computer. As it turned out, all this time Little Feng has been sending out numerous copies of his resume [and applying for work], even attending many interviews with several companies. Little Feng once worked for a software development company for three months, but the job wasn’t up to his satisfaction. “I didn’t want to do that job, there wasn’t much room there for me to advance [my career],” said Little Feng gravely.
As for holing himself up at home playing video games constantly, Little Feng says that he does it not because he has to, but because he hasn’t been able to find a suitable job to his liking; as such, he’s just passing time by playing video games.
Father Relaxes Once Son Bares Feelings
Since junior high school, 23 year-old Little Feng has been player online browser games. Once he entered high school, Little Feng started to play online games with his fellow classmates. When it comes to video games, Little Feng is an expert with genius ability; among his friends he has quickly become the “video game expert”.
Because Little Feng’s grades in school have always been good and the fact that he only played games in his spare time, his parents never minded when he played video games. However, because his job situation hasn’t worked out lately and Little Feng had taken to sequestering himself at home and playing video games, his father thought the worst and “over-analyzed” the situation and believed his son to be addicted to video games; that’s when he hired people to “deal” with him and reduce him into a “beginner noob”.
“In fact, when this happened I just thought it was strange. I didn’t think that by playing video games for a few days it would give my father such a [big] misunderstanding. Work really isn’t something I want to put up with for the time being; I’d rather allow myself more time to wait for the right job to come along. [It doesn't matter to me;] video games are something that I could either play, or not.” After hearing Little Feng explain himself this way, Mr. Feng could finally relax and rest easy.