Zombies take over Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution at gaming show

A statue based on local politician Christopher Chung is displayed at the stall of a virtual reality game "Hong Kong Infected" at the Ani-Com show on July 29, 2016.
A statue based on local politician Christopher Chung is displayed at the stall of a virtual reality game "Hong Kong Infected" at the Ani-Com show on July 29, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong's 2014 pro-democracy "Umbrella Revolution" was reimagined as a zombie apocalypse by gamemakers who transformed politicians and protesters into the walking dead using virtual reality technology at a comic and games expo on Friday (July 29).

Teenagers and video game enthusiasts packed the Ani-Com show at the city's harbourfront convention centre and queued for "Hong Kong Infected", where they shot down protesters and police officers who had been afflicted by an unknown contagion.

In late 2014, tens of thousands took part in a mass pro-democracy rally, dubbed the "Umbrella Revolution" which paralysed the city for more than two months, with residents calling on Beijing to allow fully free elections of future leaders.

The rally exploded on Sept 28 of that year when the police fired tear gas to disperse crowds.

But in the virtual reality parallel universe, they were turned into zombies.

"(In the game) there is a mysterious gas released at that time when protesters are being dispersed," Mr Elphonso Lam, art director for production house YYY Industry which created the game, told AFP.

"You can imagine how scary it would be as the protesters, police and even lawmakers turn into zombies," Mr Lam said.

"We wanted to make a record of what Hong Kongers have experienced, so we used this topic," he said, adding that very few local productions would be willing to touch upon such a sensitive issue.

The game was designed for the virtual reality platform and players got their first look at the show.

Players also have to gun down "the boss" - an enlarged, zombified version of a pro-Beijing lawmaker, in a three-dimensional re-creation of the area near the government headquarters where the protests were held.

The game is expected to be released next year along with a feature-length film and a comic series on the same storyline.

Player Flan Lau, 24, who along with other players wore an Oculus VR headset and held up a mock gun to play the demo, said the experience was better than traditional video games.

"If you are unable to experience a three-dimensional environment... there is a difference," the subway technician told AFP.

Sony also displayed their newest VR kit, which will launch in October with their PS4 gaming console, to the exhibition.

"Everybody is talking about VR...I believe this trend will totally change the gaming industry," Sony Marketing Communication for Hong Kong assistant general manager Jacqueline Chiu said.

Players donning VR headsets at Sony's Playstation booth beat up baddies as Batman in "Batman: Arkham VR", while others carried out robberies in "The London Heist".

The Ani-Com show is one of the biggest of its kind in Asia, where teenagers and video game lovers go to buy limited editions of toy figures and wear costumes mimicking their favourite comic book heroes.