The situation in Hong Kong right now is a mess, to say the very least. With real harm a reality in the real world, some gamers in the city have taken the protests to the realm of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) Online. And rather than going about your typical indiscriminate rampage, they’ve decided to mimic the real life protesters.
What you might consider the stereotypical protester look is made possible thanks to the most recent update to the game’s Diamond Casino Heist update. The update added yellow hard hats and gas masks as clothing options. Add these to the more easily obtainable black clothing and Molotov cocktail, and get the typical protester look.
Gamers in Hong Kong gathered using the online forum LIHKG to join the online “crew” called Stand With Hong Kong. Their targets are the same ones as the real protesters – subway stations and police vehicles. Of course, gamers in mainland China rallied against the virtual protest dressed as riot police. The two groups clashed, as you’d expect, with the mainland gamers ultimately overwhelming the Hong Kong gamers with sheer numbers.
As a result of the defeat, some Hong Kong gamers took to social media to complain about their own lack of numbers. Some gamers from the mainland are also rallying in preparation for the retaliation. Others want to leave politics out of the game. Which is understandable, considering GTA V is only available in China via Steam, and a number of loopholes.