Taiwan has always had a close relationship with the US state of Alaska due to coal imports and the friendship of the Murkowski political family, father and daughter, in Washington.
Now comes a new kind of relationship, and this one is for children in Taiwan and the US where a standing coin-operated arcade game called Hit, Hit, Alaska (極地獵) has been selling like hotcakes.
The Alaska-themed game was the brainchild of Ben Lu (呂坤謀), who runs an arcade firm in Taipei called Saint Fun.
In Chinese, the game’s name means “Ice Hunters.”
Since 2009, Saint Fun has also been selling the game in Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, said Rita Lai (賴佩琦), a Saint Fun office staffer in Taipei.
By whacking penguin icons on the colorful arcade console, a good player can win extra points and get a free game as well. Other icons in the game include Alaskan wildlife and sea mammals such as walruses, turtles and octopi.
“The animals appear from ice holes, and players try to whack them on the head to try to force them back into the holes,” Lai said in a recent e-mail. “It’s quite popular in Taiwan.”
The game has also been sold to arcade shops in the Philippines and Singapore, she said, but it has not yet made it to any malls or supermarkets in Alaska.
When asked if her boss has ever visited Alaska, Lai replied: “Not yet.”
Penguins do not actually live in Alaska or anywhere in the Arctic, making their home mostly in Antarctica.