Thursday, April 28, 2005

FANTASY GAMES


Fantasies inspire Chinese gamers.
By Louisa Lim BBC News, Beijing

Many Chinese use internet cafes because they cannot afford PCs.
Ancient warlords and dragons that breathe fireballs loom large in China's online fantasy games.
And the virtual world is sometimes taking precedence over the real one for the growing band of online gamers. International firms are eyeing China's computer gaming industry because it offers huge prospects for growth.
But one unusual story which recently hit the headlines here possibly points to a worrying trend.
Harsh reality It involved a 41-year-old man, Qiu Chengwei, who had become hooked on a popular online game called the Legend of Mir 3. Mr Qiu had spent many hours amassing points to earn the right to use a cyber weapon called a Dragon Sabre.
But he had made the mistake of lending his precious weapon to another player, who promptly sold it for almost 900 real world US dollars. Mr Qiu was so incensed he went to the police, but was told that the law doesn't protect virtual property. He then went to the house of the man who sold his cyber weapon and stabbed him in the chest, killing him.
Mr Qiu has pleaded guilty to intentional injury but says he never meant to kill. This cautionary tale shows just how seriously people are taking online games in China.

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