An hour long machinima film produced in a bedroom in China has stirred emotions and quickly become a big hit with over 10 million people watching the movie in the first week it was available online. The movie is a satire that takes a swipe at Chinese authorities attempts to monitor and control internet use. The makers created the movie in popular multiplayer game World of Warcraft at no cost and employed the talents of up to 100 gamers to ‘act’ in the movie.
Some commentators say that the film is more important than Avatar. Chinese media blog DigiCha gives this summary of the film:
The film tracks the fight between The9 and Netease over the renewal rights to Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, the requirement that skulls be removed from World of Warcraft (hence the Skull Party), the bureaucratic battles between GAPP and the Ministry of Culture over the re-approval of WoW in China, the money-obsessed Uncle Yang and his Internet addiction camps and electro-shock therapy, and the attempts to impose “Green Dam Youth Escort” software on Chinese web users. The movie concludes with an impassioned speech calling for Chinese World of Warcraft players to end their silence and raise their hands in protest to fight attempts to harmonize China’s Internet and keep them away from World of Warcraft, followed by an agreement between the warring bureaucracies-GAPP and MOC–to put aside their dispute and go after Netease for more money.
The film makes people who don’t understand games shed tears because all of us on China’s Internet are in the same boat.
Adding to the commentary, Jean Shao of video site YouKu says:
More than a few Chinese netizens have hailed The War of Internet Addiction as more valuable, and more entertaining, than Avatar…. Watching this you’ll realize that it’s not just about World of Warcraft, but about the relationship between young, tech-savvy netizens and a paternalistic, authoritarian state. The “impassioned speech” toward the end of the movie moved many viewers into tears.