British Journal of Chinese Studies

dragon mural beijing 2018 copyright Gerda Wielander
Vol 12 No 2 (2022): Games and Gaming in China and the Sinophone World

The Revolution will not be Gamified: Video Game Activism and Playful Resistance across the Sinosphere

Hugh Davies
RMIT University
Published August 2, 2022
How to Cite
Davies, H. (2022). The Revolution will not be Gamified. British Journal of Chinese Studies, 12(2), 76-100.


Videogames are political spaces. For more than twenty years, videogames have been co-opted by activists globally to organise protests in amorphous, organic, and rhizomatic assemblages. Presenting instances of videogame-based activism in global Chinese language contexts, this paper connects cases of videogame activism in Hong Kong’s anti-extradition movement of 2019, to earlier videogame protest repertoires and playful resistance in Mainland China and Taiwan. Through an extensive literature review approach, this paper surveys cross-disciplinary discussions on Sinophonic game-based activism in three ways: by contextualising the antagonisms that drove the protesters to action; by exploring the strategies and tactics employed in each; and by drawing them into a lineage of Sinophone activism that has spread predominantly through Massively Multiplayer Online Games. With much of the discourse surrounding videogame activism occurring in US and European contexts, this paper recalibrates existing discourses of videogame activism to consider their most prominent instances: those that occur in Sinophone contexts.

Image: Screenshot showing the character Mei-Ling Zhou 周美灵 in the game Overwatch

  • China,
  • Taiwan,
  • Hong Kong,
  • videogame activism,
  • playful resistance,
  • gamification
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