An independent game studio has recently come under fire for its inaugural game, Dirty Chinese Restaurant. The title, currently in development by Big-O-Tree Games (wordplay on “bigotry”), features a slew of racist themes, including a “sweatshop mode”, employees with rice-picker hats who occasionally get deported, and a Chinese chef chasing cats and dogs with a meat cleaver and fishing for ingredients out of dumpsters. Its release date is yet to be determined and will be available for download on Google Play and the App Store.
— Big-O-Tree Games (@bigotreegames) November 14, 2016
The mobile game is fairly straightforward; players take on the role of Wong Fu, who inherited a Chinese restaurant from his brother, Wang Fu. Players can choose to run a “prestigious Oriental establishment” by giving customers high quality food and service or “a real filthy dive” by evading taxes and gambling away your profits in Mahjong.
Big-O-Tree Games, headquartered in Ontario, Canada, is forthcoming about the blatant racism in their game, stating that the title is “a shining example of our unorthodox modus operandi.” They have positioned themselves as makers of “games that are tongue-in-cheek, shockingly humorous, and full of satire inspired by the mad world we live in,” because “being politically correct is so…boring.”
Although Dirty Chinese Restaurant’s development began in 2016, it wasn’t until recently that any attention was given to the title; most notably, Representative Grace Meng took to social media to denounce the indie studio and its project on Monday, imploring platforms to block the game.
“I wish I could say that I was shocked that there is a new video game soon to be released called ‘Dirty Chinese Restaurant.’ This game uses every negative and demeaning stereotype that I have ever come across as a Chinese American. From the names used for the characters of the game, to the types of food they cook, to the disturbing depiction of their faces, this game epitomizes racism against Asian Americans. I fear that prejudice against and othering of Asian Americans remains a form of racism that is too frequently brushed off and tacitly accepted. Racism against Asian Americans is just as harmful and pernicious as racism against any other group, and we must call it out when we see it. How we portray people matters. I urge Google, Apple, Android, and any other platform to not carry the game Dirty Chinese Restaurant, or any other game that glorifies in hurting any community.”
Netizens have also expressed their outrage via Twitter:
— Karlin Chan 陳家齡 (@Karlin_C) September 24, 2017
— Toby Ann Stavisky (@tobystavisky) September 25, 2017
Dirty chinese restaurant!
making fun of ownself is humour,
making fun of other race is racist.
not cool man Big-O-Tree!
— People united (@jeesive) September 26, 2017
Dirty Chinese Restaurant is an unreleased mobile game developed by Canadian game studio Big-O-Tree Games and is… https://t.co/SpNaRpeDH7
— SinoVision English (@SinoVisionEng) September 26, 2017
Big-O-Tree Games has not responded to inquiries from the media.