Taiwan 2001 (found parody PC game; 2000s-early 2010s)
Date found: 16 Nov 2023
Found by: Andrew Varial
Taiwan 2001 (台灣2001), abbreviated as TW2001 is a game created by 'Kuso Soft' (kuso being Japanese for crap) in Taiwan as a spoof of the 1995 homebrew shooter game Hong Kong 97 by Japanese Kowloon Kurosawa for the Super Famicom, in which the latter game has received a cult following in Japan and Taiwan because of the game's difficulty, anti-Chinese overtones, poor grammar, graphic content (namely the fact that the final slide in the intro features a photograph of Holocaust victim corpses and that the game over screen utilizes a still image of a man killed during the Bosnian War in mid-1992, which is a screenshot taken from a mondo film), and reputation as one of the worst video games ever created. The name of the company 'Kuso Soft' is most likely a made-up company as a parody of HappySoft, the company that distributed Hong Kong 97.
The gameplay of Taiwan 2001 is very similar to Hong Kong 97; however, Kuso Soft claims that it is intended to be worse than that of the original game.
Story and Content
The game can be played in three languages: Taiwanese Mandarin, Hua, and Standard Mandarin. After the title screen, the intro follows, which is a near-exact replication of Hong Kong 97's plot:
"The year 2001 has arrived. A herd of fuckin’ uglies. are rushing from the mainland. Crime rates skyrocketed![sic] Therefore, the Taiwan Government called Wang Shou En’s relative Wang Shou Min for the education plan of the mainlanders. Min is an etiquette expert. Reform all 1.2 billion people! However, in mainland China, there was a secret project in progress! A project to transform the captured Wang Shou En into an ultimate weapon!"
According to the story and the website, the game takes place in the year 2001 in Taiwan, in which citizens of mainland China are invading bringing crime and chaos. Wang Shou Min (王小明) is sent by the Taiwanese government in order to “reform” the mainlanders. Wang Shou En (王小英) is related to Wang Shou Min (though their exact relationship is unknown), and it is assumed that she was working with and helping Wang Shou En on his side prior to the events of the game but was apparently kidnapped by the Chinese Communist Party of mainland China who turned her into an ultimate humanoid weapon and cloned to be used against Taiwan. Now it’s up to Wang Shou Min, along with the rest of the Taiwanese forces, to defeat Wang Shou En.
It relates to the dispute for international recognition and political claim between the People's Republic of China (PRC, mainland China, ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)) and the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan, initially ruled by Kuomintang (KMT)) over each other as the sole sovereign government of China including Taiwan. It also relates to the political status of Taiwan as to whether the island should be recognized as independent of mainland China under the ROC, or as a part of China whether the PRC or the ROC is the ruling government as a whole.
The Republic of China is recognized as comprising the island of Taiwan as well as a few much smaller surrounding islands although it technically claims mainland China as a government-in-exile, and vice versa with the PRC of mainland China claiming Taiwan as part of its territory. In reality, the PRC does not control and has yet to enforce its sovereignty over Taiwan and other territories controlled by the ROC, and the ROC has leaned more towards becoming a Taiwan state rather than challenging the ROC as the sovereign of China. Thus they act as de facto separate jurisdictions and authorities, each governing the areas they control. Both entities have opposing ideologies, with the PRC being under Communist one-party rule and the ROC being more democratic with a multi-party system and a capitalist economy.
This is the result after the ROC and the KMT lost to the CCP during the Chinese Civil War in 1949 after being originally the government of mainland China since 1912 after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, establishing the PRC as the new government of mainland China and exiling the ROC to Taiwan at the end of the island’s occupation by Japan.
Similar to the situation with Hong Kong and Macau during their transfer of sovereignty to the PRC from the UK and Portugal respectively, and the question of their political and economic autonomy under the Chinese government thereafter, there was a concern of Taiwan being taken under control by force under mainland China and be subject to the PRC’s sovereignty and system of government as a result of its political status, and should Taiwan and the ROC attempt to claim independence and sovereignty.
Wang Shou Min is the boy shown on the title screen and in the intro as well as the protagonist and player character, and Wang Shou En is the head of the girl and the antagonist and main boss. Both characters apparently originated from photocopies of Taiwanese textbooks.
The second screen in the plot features Chen Shui-ban, who was the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2000 to 2008. Since the game took place in 2001, he was the president at the time. He happened to be the first president of Taiwan in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which overtook the Kuomintang (KMT) as the dominant party since the founding of the ROC and is noted for its support of Taiwanese nationalism, viewing Taiwan as its own independent nation distinct from China with the ROC being only the sovereign government in Taiwan and leaving the rest of China under the PRC, in contrast to the KMT’s support for Chinese unification, with the ROC taking over and being sovereign over all of China replacing the PRC. He also had a policy known as the Four Noes and One Without, in which Taiwan would not declare itself separate from China nor hold referendums over the matter, however, it would not abolish the National Unification Council (eventually abolished in 2006), which sought to deal with reunification peacefully. This was due to the increasing tensions between the governments of Taiwan and mainland China under his administration.
Most of the backgrounds and graphical assets in the game were apparently taken from photocopies of Taiwanese textbooks. One of the backgrounds during gameplay features the face of the founder and first president of the Republic of China Sun Yat-sen on a $100 New Taiwan dollar banknote.
The gameplay is virtually identical that to Hong Kong 97 in which you control a character named Wang Shou Min and throw projectiles at enemies such as people from mainland China and passing motorcycles while dodging them. After defeating a certain number of enemies, the head of Wang Shou En appears and after defeating it a new wave of enemies come again and the game repeats. Additionally, the game also had an exploding 'bomb' command although it isn't known what it exactly does. There are also numbers in red that appear in addition to strings of text in Chinese on the screen during gameplay representing your current score. The game over screen says "小明死亡 Min is DEAD", atop a digitized photograph of a CPR dummy, referencing the game over screen of Hong Kong 97 while omitting the use of snuff imagery.
Availability and Distribution
Unlike Hong Kong 97 which was distributed and sold as a physical unlicensed game for the Super Famicom with a backup device on floppy disk, this game was made available as a digital download for PC (Microsoft Windows) and is freeware, meaning the game can be obtained for free with no monetary cost and can be installed and run natively on a computer.
Previously the only evidence of the game's existence is mentions and reviews of the game from an interview between Kowloon Kurosawa (the designer of Hong Kong 97) on Six Samana and on personal blogs, as well as the screenshot of the title screen and gameplay. However, downloads and archives for this game were not made available.
Although screenshots of the game had resurfaced prior, a download link from the official site was broken: http://inxtyle.com/kakeru/other/kuso_icon.htm . Direct download link was at http://daisukidaisuke.hp.infoseek.co.jp/download/TW2001.zip but the Wayback Machine is also unable to download it.
On November 17th, 2023, Internet Archive user Andrew Varial received an email from 'Kyte', the developer of Taiwan 2001, which contained a '.zip' file for the whole game. They later would upload this on the Internet Archive.
- Note: All screenshots are uploaded under fair use for educational purposes.
- Interview between Kowloon Kurosawa on Six Samana about Hong Kong 97 and Taiwan 2001 in Japanese. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- Onee-sama's blog post describing the game. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- Article on Codex Gamicus about Hong Kong 97, also mentioning Taiwan 2001. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- Blog post in Cantonese with screenshots. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- Codewalr.us forum requesting a search of the game. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- ZetaBoards forum also requesting the game. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- English Wikipedia article on Hong Kong 97, which mentions Taiwan 2001. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- Chinese Wikipedia article on Hong Kong 97, also featuring Taiwan 2001. Retrieved 27 Aug '17
- Andrew Varial's reddit post on r/lostmedia on how they obtained the game. Retrieved 22 Nov '23