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Fansubbers Are Bringing International Video Games to China

Fansubbers Are Bringing International Video Games to China

For those of you too busy to check in on the RADII website every day, we’ve got you every Tuesday with a summary of all we got on China’s youth culture from the last week. In this edition:

  • Tightening regulations have nearly eradicated the once ubiquitous fansubbing groups in China. But are gamers happy with official translations?
  • On August 22, KFC China reintroduced xiaolongbao to the breakfast menu at more than 7,000 of its outlets in select Chinese regions.
  • Industry giants like Tencent have been paying more attention to indie video games in recent years.
  • Suprise! Hawaiian pizza was actually inspired by the sweet-and-sour flavors of Chinese cuisine.
  • Chinese regulations crack down on luxury moon cakes.
  • Footage of an overjoyed Jackson Wang accepting an offer to join the Kinjaz crew has racked up millions of views on Chinese and Western social media.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.

Despite Crackdown, Fansubbers Bring International Video Games to China

The video game you have been waiting for so long was finally released. You cozy up on the couch for an hours-long immersion in another universe, and... the dialogue makes no sense whatsoever.

Scenes like this are not unheard of if you are a Chinese gamer, and hilarious mistranslations of dialogue in foreign video games often make the rounds on Chinese social media.

For example, in 2019, the name of the warship ‘La Terrible’ in World of Warships was translated as ‘shock my mom’ or ‘vibrate my mom,’ and it became so famous it now has its own Baidu Encyclopedia page.

Fansubbing communities (字幕组, zimuzu in Mandarin) have long served the purpose of avoiding such awkward mistakes. Although they primarily operate on a voluntary basis, their translations are often preferred by gamers to the official ones.

For years, fansubbers have filled the gap between the demand for foreign video games and movies and the limited availability of such entertainment in China.

In light of tightening regulations on the gaming industry and recent crackdowns on popular subtitle groups, the community has been reduced to just a few crews of dedicated people, mainly translating indie games.

Following the crackdowns, official translations provided by companies have become the norm, although they still fail to meet most gamers’ expectations.

Glittery pink stools, rows of unicorn plushies, and jugs of strawberry lemonade are part of the all-pink decor at the new Shake Shack X Museum of Ice Cream diner in Shanghai.

A product of the social media era, the museum first appeared in New York in 2016 and expanded to Austin, Chicago, and Singapore before making its way to China. The Shanghai branch, which opened in Taikoo Li Qiantan retail complex on July 31, is the first-ever pink Shake Shack in the world.

Some of the new Shake Shack creations pay homage to Shanghai — aka the ‘Paris of the East’ — with names like ‘On The Bund’ and ‘East Bank Blueberry.’

“The pink design of the museum and the raspberry custard ice cream are well-matched. The colorful appearance immediately attracted my attention, and the taste was velvety and rich,” reads a museum-goer’s positive review on Weibo.

Beer laced with goji berries. Coffee infused with medicinal herbs. Gorging oneself with ginseng to feel better after pulling an all-nighter. You get the gist.

Chinese youth are pairing their vices with remedies from Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a trend that has been dubbed ‘punk health.’

We glugged down 5 'punk health' beverages that are big in China, from time-tested classics like Wang Lao Ji to one artisanal drink with alleged ties to Germany.

  • August 20 to 21 saw the Los Angeles edition of Head in the Clouds unfold in spectacular fashion. RADII recaps some iconic moments from the L.A. music festival and examines the changing the face of the entertainment industry.
  • On August 22, German sports goods manufacturer Adidas announced that its chief executive officer (CEO) Kasper Rorsted would be stepping down next year, even though his contract was supposed to last until 2025. Chinese netizens have not forgiven or forgotten the sports giant’s contradictory comments about cotton production in Xinjiang.
  • Want to fight against demon spiders and face an ominous mother figure as an omnipotent monkey? Then you’ll be excited by the latest trailers for the role-playing video game Black Myth: Wukong, which Chinese game developer Game Science Studio released on August 20.

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