Officially debuting on 8 May, Mysteries of Fence is an online anime-styled game, whereby players participate in various scenarios in an Internet addiction clinic. The clinic has been modelled on of the now infamous Lin Yi Internet Addiction in Shandong province.
Mr. Yang Yongxin, dubbed “Uncle Yang”, runs the clinic. It was first publicly condemned in 2009 after it was revealed Mr. Yang was administering electro shock therapy to teenagers, a large majority of whom, it was reported, had been duped into checking in by their parents.
Over 6,000 former patients took to the Internet saying they had been “tricked into going there”, with many publicly discussing the unethical methods and brut force to which they had been subjected. One patient was reported to have killed her mother after being subjected to forced detox at the clinic while many others have returned from centres across the country showing “signs of lasting psychological damage”.
In 2008, China became the first country to recognise Internet addiction as a mental illness. Even though the government officially banned the usage of electroshock therapy, Mr Yang is still reported to be using it to this day, but he has “reduced the voltage”.
Mysteries of Fence developers claim the reason they have made the game is to bring back “public attention” of the Lin Yi clinic. The game is controversial in itself as it puts users into a world of hurt and pain, which they were subjected to in the first place by doing just that; playing games.
As well as giving people a feel of what life would be like in the clinic through electroshock therapy, entrapment and escapism, it also looks at human trafficking. Introduced to players is a young character that is brought to the clinic because he refuses to marry a woman his parents had bought for him.
Players are able to escape at the end of the game; however, talking with Sixthtone, the developer of the game says, “the ‘good-ending’ was only there to provide a glimmer of hope… As far as I know, in reality, almost none of the patients were able to escape”.