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Tencent Releases Nationalistic “SimCity” Game to Stoke Excitement for China’s 70th Anniversary

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As the People’s Republic of China approaches the 70th anniversary of its founding, its government is pulling out all the stops to generate excitement. One of those stops was to release a rip-roarin’ city-building simulator.

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The free game, Homeland Dream, shot to the top of the most-downloaded charts on the Apple’s Chinese App Store. It was released by Tencent — ever-eager to foster good relations with regulators, in the midst of an ongoing crackdown on mobile gaming content — in collaboration with the state-run People’s Daily newspaper.

In the game, players build out empty city lots into shining Chinese metropolises. Gameplay is littered with political buzzwords, with players aiming to collect trophies of national monuments and Communist slogans.

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It’s certainly a novel strategy as far as getting people into the anniversary mood — something that Tencent seems to be full of. The company ran another promotion which allowed users to add a small national flag to their WeChat profile pictures, which became so popular that it managed to briefly shut down servers, attracting over 200 million users by the afternoon of its launch.

Cover Image: SimCity BuildIt

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan