A team led by pro-Taiwan independence author Shih Te-lang (施特朗) has finished work on a video game that retells the history of the 228 Massacre from the perspective of a vampire.
The 228 Massacre refers to a crackdown launched by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime against civilian demonstrators following an incident in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947. The event also marked the beginning of the White Terror era that saw thousands of people arrested, imprisoned or executed.
The game, titled Bloody Day 2.28: Vampire Martina (荷裔台籍吸血鬼), tells the story of pro-independence fighter and vampire Martina’s war against the KMT soldiers who arrived in Taiwan following their defeat in the Chinese Civil War.
Photo courtesy of Shih Te-lang
Shih, 40, who had worked on the game for two years with a team of university students, said he was surprised when the demo version of the game he released showed up on Chinese servers on Oct. 12.
“I was quite puzzled. I mean, it’s a game promoting Taiwanese independence,” he said.
However, the following day he noticed the game had been taken down from the Chinese servers, presumably by Chinese censors.
“I guess that’s one way of preventing piracy,” he said.
A history buff who loves vampire stories, Shih said he hoped that by combining the two, he might inspire others to create works with a Taiwanese element.
The protagonist of the new game is from a novel he wrote seven years ago, which was published three years ago, he said.
In the novel, Martina is a Dutch woman who became a vampire and came to Taiwan — then referred to as “Formosa” — during the Dutch colonial period.
“I came to realize that people tend to see the 228 Incident from the perspective of the victims,” he said.
Always framing the Incident as one of death and tragedy would not help society advance, he said, adding that it was more helpful to put the resistance fighters at the heart of the discourse.
Many people are unfamiliar with key figures of the White Terror era’s resistance movement — including Chen Tsuan-ti (陳篡地) and Liu Chan-hsien (劉占顯) — both of whom the KMT regime characterized as rioters, he said.
“I decided to tell the story of Taiwan’s 400 years of resistance through a video game,” he said.
The game also contains satirical elements, such as if players shoot a Republic of China flag, it drops pig’s blood cake or an Easter egg covered in blood, he said.
The game does carry a political message, such as the identity conflict that protagonist Martina experiences, he said.
“After several hundred years in Taiwan she sees herself as Taiwanese, and finds herself embroiled in a conflict of historical perspectives when faced with the KMT and its imposition of a national identity,” he said.
The full version of Bloody Day 2.28: Vampire Martina is to be released on software-distribution service Steam on Jan. 11 and costs NT$228, he said.
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