Hong Kong 97 (香港97), stylized as HONGKONG1997 on the game’s boxart, is a 1995 unlicensed multidirectional shooter video game made in Japan for the Super Famicom in disk drive format by HappySoft Ltd., a Japanese homebrew game company. The game was designed by the Japanese game journalist Kowloon Kurosawa (クーロン黒沢 Kūron Kurosawa), who said the game was made in about a week. The game has gained a cult following in Japan and Taiwan for its notoriously poor quality including copyrighted images – it has been ranked as a kusoge, which literally means “shitty game”, a game considered “so bad that it’s good”.
Immediately after the plot introduction (which follows some ads and the title screen), the game begins. The player controls Chin, with the objective being to shoot and evade the Chinese populace and police officers moving about and spitting randomly on the screen. When shot, the enemies explode in a mushroom cloud, leaving behind a flashing corpse and items for instant death or temporary invincibility. After a while, cars start appearing from the sides, moving horizontally across the screen as obstacles. After thirty enemies have been defeated by the player, the final boss, ultimate weapon Tong Shau Ping (depicted as the disembodied, proportionally giant head of Deng Xiaoping), appears. Once he is defeated, the game repeats itself. The game shows static photos as the background; which alternate between pictures of Maoist propaganda, Guilin, the logo for Asia Television, the logo for Chinese Coca-Cola or Mao Zedong in monochrome.
If Chin is hit by anything other than the invincibility item the game is immediately over (unless Chin is under invincibility), and an image of a corpse caught on security camera footage (as seen by the date and time of the image capture at the bottom left corner of the screen) shows as the game over screen. The words “CHIN IS DEAD!” in English and in grammatically incorrect Chinese – “Chén sǐ wáng” (陳死亡) can be interpreted as either “Chin is dead”, or as a proper name, “Dead Chin” – are superimposed on the game over screen. The game then goes to the credits (curiously listing the Embassy of Canada to Japan as cooperation partner) and back to the title screen and repeats again. The game is noted for its difficulty, one of the factors that made the game a kuso-ge.
Upon turning on the game, the first two lines of an upbeat “I Love Beijing Tiananmen” song can be heard, which loop endlessly throughout the game. The game can be played in English, Japanese or traditional Chinese.