Andrew on Medium: August 2021
Updated: Oct 1
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There’s been a lot written about the phenomenon of the “white monkey,” the foreigner-for-hire in China, but it’s often presented in a very abstract manner, as though it were some poorly understood phenomenon of nature. It is not hard at all to find people who’ve done this work. In fact, I’m not sure that I know of a single expatriate here who hasn’t played the white monkey at some point, if only as a favor.
24 hours is too much time to spend on a Greyhound bus, even on a routine trip. When the destination is special, and the moment is critical, the time is an exquisite agony, every moment blessed with eager terror.
There’s no way to do any serious writing while tripping — the letters move around too much. Now, whatever’s dead-center in your vision is all nice and stable and sane, but past that it gets ever wigglier. Out at the periphery, it’s like a little lexical orgy, and the H is giving you the side-eye.
This is the kind of series that Chinese developers dream of creating — a group of popular mainstream titles that are distinctly, unmistakably Chinese. But they’re also a good jumping-off point for understanding what sells here. Chinese-developed video games have a distinctive feel that is easily missed by outside observers, and the roots of that go back hundreds of years.
I was 13 years old, sitting in my 8th-grade math class on a wholly unremarkable day, contemplating my imminent death. It wasn’t the first time I’d thought about it, but never before was I so sure — I wasn’t going to make it to the end of the year, maybe not even the month.