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A New Game Named Chinese Self-Assured Mediocre Male Survival Guide Has Sparked Widespread Controversy

By Julius Chen
Jan. 5, 2022 updated 06:37

On Dec 30th, a new indie game named Chinese Self-assured Mediocre Male Survival Guide was released. According to the game's Steam page, the player can enjoy the game as a college graduate who will experience “typical, hilarious, and even outrageous, cynical feminism events," surviving in the cracks and making their voices heard online.

The term ‘self-assured mediocre male’ was first introduced by female comedian Li Yang to describe a type of man who hasn’t achieved much in life but often acts arrogant and privileged toward other people, especially women. Besides being widely used as a derogatory term by women, some Chinese men also like using the term as passive-aggressive self-depreciation.

Although the game's developers claimed that the feminism events are only part of the game, they clearly intended to emphasize the gender conflicts in modern China and try to criticize the "unilateral, self-interested feminism that counters the goal of achieving equal rights for men and women." Sexism has always been a touchy subject in China, and the developer certainly didn't mean to ease the tension with terms like "the living space of self-assured mediocre male is at stake, ‘the only way to survive is to acquire soil for our plough by means of our swords’..." , which was a direct quote from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, on the early versions of the game’s description page. This sentence was later deleted from the game's introduction page.

Such attitude angered many female gamer communities, including Female Gamers Unity on Douban, a player group exclusively for female friends to discuss games and has 36,000+ members. In their opinion, this game is a parody of the feminism movement in China and proves males are still ignoring the structural inequalities Chinese women face.

The developer's other game where players can run an old brothel to earn money and have emotional connections was taken as further evidence for the developer’s anti-feminism standpoint and for supporting the sexual exploitation of women.

Another game from the same developerAnother game from the same developer

The increasing number of female gamers is changing the gaming industry. Last year, the new character in Genshin Impact gained heavy criticism from gamers for its provocative costumes, while Harry Potter: Magic Awakened made by NetEase sparked controversy in female fans for characters' inappropriate facial expressions. The conflict between male and female gamers is just a projection of sexism in modern China, and this game is an apparent reflection of that.