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A Buddhist Instrument Simulator is the Hottest Game in China

By Johnson Ge
Nov. 16, 2022 updated 06:30

On November 9th, a meme-inspired mobile music game, Rhythm Wooden Fish, was released on TapTap and soon reached 5th on the Music game ranking.

A solo developer created the game in two days, and it plays like a rhythm game; for starters, there are only two kinds of notes and spamming the button won’t count as a miss. This allows players to get a full combo by simply spamming the left and right buttons while completely ignoring the notes. It is a weird sense of humor and the result of a popular online meme about the “Gongde”(功德).

A screenshot of “Rhythm Wooden Fish” shows the Buddha wielding a lightsaber on an album cover.A screenshot of “Rhythm Wooden Fish” shows the Buddha wielding a lightsaber on an album cover.

The “Gongde” is a concept in Chinese Buddhism that can be roughly translated to “Good Deeds”. Besides being an important Buddhist word and concept, young people in China have recently been using “Good Deeds” in a casual way. Some will say, “I will lose Good Deeds if I laugh at this shitty joke” on social media when they find something funny but also feel guilty about it. Like with some cruel jokes or memes, for example, the Rebecca Coaster x Adam Smasher Mug Set

A terrible joke inspired by Cyberpunk2077 EdgerunnerA terrible joke inspired by Cyberpunk2077 Edgerunner

The wooden fish is a Buddhist instrument that makes a very recognizable sound and is usually used by monks as they chant to help them concentrate. Hitting on the wooden fish in a slow sequence is a common way to pray and accumulate “Good Deeds”.

Thus, some people have created “Cyber Wooden Fish” Mobile Apps. The App shows a wooden fish icon on the screen. Each time the user clicks the screen, the virtual wooden fish will respond with a satisfying sound, and the App will show “+1 Good Deed” after each hit to help the user “regain” their “lost Deeds”. 

A screenshot of Cyber Wooden FishA screenshot of Cyber Wooden Fish

When a video of the “Cyber Wooden Fish” App gets thousands or even over a million views on Bilibili, the faithful Buddhist may see this as a genuine convenient replacement for the real wooden fish to help them with their prayers. But the internet meme lords just see this as an opportunity to make jokes. 

In their eyes, the generated “Good Deeds” are more like a morality value in an RPG (Like the Karma in Fallout 3), and they’re trying their best to “farm Deeds” with video game techniques.

On October 2nd, a short video with 1.4 million views showed a person using music game techniques to hit the Wooden Fish as fast as they could. In that way, they could hit the screen nearly 10 times faster than others. 

A gif of the video shows the uploader hitting the “Cyber Wooden Fish” at an amazing speed.A gif of the video shows the uploader hitting the “Cyber Wooden Fish” at an amazing speed.

On October 22nd, someone shared a video about how they used an auto-click tool to grind the “Deeds”. The video soon got 500k views, and people were joking about this hilarious idea. 

Someone joked about the “auto-click tool” saying they were performing a “DDoS attack” and they would be banned.  Someone joked about the “auto-click tool” saying they were performing a “DDoS attack” and they would be banned.

There were further impacts of the “Wooden Fish”, including a “Cyber prayer beads” App that can be infinitely swiped on a mobile phone or a smartwatch. Some modders added the “Wooden Fish” into modded games like CSGO. And the Rhythm Wooden Fish, a playable music game, was released.

The CSGO mod was created by a popular content creatorThe CSGO mod was created by a popular content creator

Another Wooden fish mod created by the same content creatorAnother Wooden fish mod created by the same content creator

Someone tried a combination of both the “Cyber Prayer Beads” and the “Cyber Wooden Fish”Someone tried a combination of both the “Cyber Prayer Beads” and the “Cyber Wooden Fish”

Despite the App allowing users to easily change the deed value of each hit from 1 to 999999, people are still trying new ways to exploit their “Good Deeds”.

Some may think the Cyber Wooden Fish and Cyber Deeds show the emptiness of the younger generation and their cruel sense of humor, but in the end, these harmless, creative and funny ideas are just a great way to vent off some steam.