Finally, the developer of what can be considered the worst game ever gave his first interview since the release of Hong Kong 97 in 1995. Yoshihisa Kurosawa created Hong Kong 97, a 16-bit shooter, in 1995.
As Hong Kong was being returned to China, it was a time full of anxiety.
Kurosawa reportedly made the game very cheaply and as a commentary on the video games industry that was dominated by Nintendo and Sega at the time.
Worst Possible Game
At the outset, Kurosawa admits that his attempt to make a video game wasn't to beat the game giants at their own game. He wanted to make a game that was nothing like the ones being offered at the time.
While it is not a good-looking game, Hong Kong 97 was made at a time when indie developers didn't exist. Games went through the official channels to get made, and they cost a lot of money to make. Kurosawa was able to make the game by bucking that trend.
It only took him and a friend who worked for Square Enix, just Enix at the time, two days to complete the entire game. Hong Kong 97 used unlicensed images and music. Its story dealt entirely with the political situation in Hong Kong.
The story shows that as Hong Kong is transferred to China, crime soars as a result of the immigration wave. Former British governor Chris Patten asks undercover hero Chin, who is a relative of Bruce Lee and looks like Jackie Chan, to kill the communists.
Even though it uses martial artists's likeness, the game is a shooter.
"I harboured a dream of working in the games industry, I disliked Nintendo games. The settings and the characters all felt stale," said Kurosawa to the South China Morning Post. "In those days, all games were manufactured by Nintendo and Sega, so it was impossible to put out your own indie game. You were subject to rules and ethical standards, and you had to pay steep royalties just to make a game."
Kurosawa said he was influenced by games from Europe at the time. He wanted to make a cheap and vulgar game to mock the video games industry. He admits to using images of Jackie Chan and Deng Xiaoping for the game. For the music, he sampled a song from a laserdisc.
Kurosawa sold the game directly from a PO Box, and he was paid through wire transfer. It was sold on floppy disks and eventually forgotten about. He says the internet has brought a new wave of attention to the game. People message him on Facebook, oftentimes trying to read between the lines for a message or what's happening in the game.
He wishes that people would just leave the game in the past.
"The goal was simply to create a vulgar game and I thought it would be more fun for the gameplay to be a failure," said Kurosawa. "But honestly, I just wish people would forget about the game once and for all."
Hong Kong 97 is considerably an ugly game from the visuals to the music to the gameplay. Players play against backgrounds of Chinese propaganda while People's Liberation Army soldiers charge at them. Occasionally the disembodied head of Deng Xiaoping attacks the hero.