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It has been remarked upon by others that China lives in a perpetual state of now, with the past existing not as something real and living, but merely as a series of facts that help make sense (or money) out of the present. Similarly the future is not something to speculated about or fetishized, it's simply a means of projecting hopes and wants into the present. An example of this might be in computer games. Western designed games have long adopted futuristic attire, thanks to the unspoken bond between computer geeks and their off duty diet of sci-fi escapism and sure enough like most adopted Western culture here, the blueprint doesn't seem to have been drastically altered when the chinese have designed computer games. The difference though is that the urban Chinese youth who occupy the 24 hour internet bars night after night don't dream that life, they live it. Geeks and nerds, as concepts, just don't exist. It seems the aesthetics of the present and the projected future have fed off each other to the extent that they are indistinguishable. So as the Chinese IT and computing industry continues to grow in sophistication and stature worldwide, I can't help but wonder just how much the latest hit game resembles the country's deserted shopping malls and their experimentally hairstyled inhabitants on the way to the 24 hour netbar. With nothing better to do on a cold winter's evening I went in search of secret levels.

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Taken on September 25, 2006