By Gina Martinez
After outrage from politicians and community leaders, a video game company is pulling its game from the app market because of its unflattering depictions of Asians.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and community activist Karlin Chan went after Big-O-Tree Games Inc., which produced the mobile game “Dirty Chinese Restaurant.”
The game allowed players to do a number of things with their avatar, named Wong Fu. Some of the scenarios portrayed in the game’s trailer included Wong Chu hunting for cats, dogs and mice in the back alley to serve customers, an immigration officer deporting employees, and a tax collector looking for money hidden under Wong Fu’s mattress. There was also a “sweat shop” mode that forced employees to work faster and in unfair conditions, according to Meng.
Big-O-Tree Games Inc. was seeking distribution on Apple, Android and Google platforms and previewed the game on social media, which was where Chan first saw the game and decided to bring attention to the game’s offensive premise.
Chan said the community must stay vigilant, speak up and act whenever and wherever racism and hate rears its ugly head.
“2017 has seen a worldwide resurgence of hate and racism — this instance in the form of a ‘game’” she said. “‘Dirty Chinese Restaurant’ had no other purpose than to mock Chinese through every racist stereotype image available and would have given those with limited or no interaction with Chinese the idea that we are monsters. I am elated that we were able to persuade the creators to cancel its release.”
Big-O-Tree Games issued an apology and is in the process of removing the game content from all its platforms following pressure from Meng, Stavisky and Chan.
“Racism must be called out, whenever and wherever we see it,” Meng said. “I want to thank everyone who joined me and spoke out against the demeaning and negative stereotypes depicted in the video game, ‘Dirty Chinese Restaurant.’ While I’m pleased that Big-O-Trees Games has decided not to release its racist video game, it is disturbing that something like this would have progressed as far as it did. I hope this company does not live up to its name in future endeavors.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart