Hong Kong's Yellow Umbrella (2014): A Prescient Political Game

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This paper examines the political game Yellow Umbrella, a free video game created during the height of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in October 2014 in response to police aggression against pro-democracy protests. The game has been featured recently in an international exhibition (Game and Politics: 2017- 2020). Created by Awesapp, a Hong Kong-based company, this work invites a critical reflection on the relationship between video games, play, and “real time” violence. The game puts the player in the role of defensive protestors in the face of oppositional figures such as policemen with pepper spray, politicians, and gangsters. Reversing our expectation of games as playful and political action as non-playful, Yellow Umbrella posits protests as sites of play and video games as political. The game ultimately instructs the player how the actual demonstrations would eventually conclude: in a peaceful manner without concessions by the central government. The paper also refers to the larger genre of digitalized “derivative works” known as “secondary creation” (二次創作). As Hong Kong’s central government considers legislation to regulate “derivative works,” this paper raises the concern that the creation of such works may be restricted or prohibited in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA 2019
EditorsJuyong Park, Juhan Nam, Jin Wan Park
Place of PublicationGwangju
PublisherInternational Symposium on Electonic Art (ISEA)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9791187275060
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2019
EventLux Aeterna: 25th International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA 2019 - Gwangju, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 22 Jun 201928 Jun 2019
http://isea2019.isea-international.org/ (Conference website)
https://isea-archives.siggraph.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/ISEA2019_Proceedings.pdf (Conference proceedings)

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Symposium on Electronic Art


ConferenceLux Aeterna: 25th International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA 2019
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
Internet address

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Yellow Umbrella
  • videogame
  • play
  • politics
  • copyright
  • censorship
  • détournement
  • “secondary creation”


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