A new PC video game has its players facing a very real and very scary thing in the real world. With the simple name “Chinese Parents,” the game promises to immerse those that challenge it in a rigorous world of studying and expectations. “Chinese Parents” was developed by a Chinese duo called Octopus Play. That’s right–you’ll be getting the Chinese parenting experience from a pair that survived it themselves.
The game starts from your character’s birth and follows them through childhood to adolescence, but making it to 18 years of age is far from easy–especially with Chinese parents watching and critiquing your every move!
You must perform chores and tasks that will win your family’s approval. Sometimes, other Chinese families will visit, forcing you to compete against their children in tests of intelligence and skill that have been described as quite similar to Pokemon battles.
Should you fail to be the perfect child with diligent studies, amazing extracurriculars, and social adroitness (among a long list of other aptitudes), you will bring both dissatisfaction and shame on your parents. They will “lose face” with their reputation and social standing suffering because of your laziness and incompetence.
You’ll get a Game Over if you lose too much face, but the game also has built in adversity for players who think they can push their character like his own parents do. While it is possible to perform all tasks perfectly and “min-max” your stats, doing so comes at the cost of your character’s emotional stability and personal happiness, which can lead to stress. Ignoring your character’s mental health and letting stress accumulate runs the risk of damaging their personality and leading to unfavorable qualities later in life that will ultimately hold them back, AND of course, bring ruin to the family name.
Chinese Parents is available on Steam to those aged 5 and up as a prerelease demo. It’s witty, subversive, and really too real for some of us with our own Asian parents.