It’s cyber entertainment steeped in bitter reality. As hoards of demolition workers come charging with weapons and machinery, the “Ding” family is forced to protect themselves from eviction.
The game is called the “The Nail Household Versus Demolition Team,” and it’s becoming hugely popular in China.
It’s a reflection of an ongoing, often tragic social problem where families are falling victims to local authorities and property developers who try to get their land.
Nail household, or “Dingzhi Hu,” is a term given to those families who refuse to leave, and their houses stick out in construction sites like a nail.
In this video game, the player takes on the role of the Ding family, strategically using each family member to fight eviction and get rid of the demolition men.
Players can choose from six family members, including Father Ding who throws Molotov cocktails at the attackers—a method that has been used in real life. Players get gold coins for each demolition man they kill, and those coins can be used to upgrade the family’s attack power.
If players don’t get rid of the demolition crew in time, the Ding family’s home gets taken down. First with shovels and drills, and then, in the harder levels, the men come charging with machine guns and cranes with wrecking balls.
Players can successfully protect the Ding family in the first six levels. But it seems that the winning streak stops there. At the final “survival” level, demolition workers swarm towards the property, eventually taking down the building, along with the Ding family.
Many see this as blurring with the brutal reality in China where those who try to defend their homes sometimes pay the ultimate price. Earlier this month, three people in Jiangxi Province set themselves on fire to stop a demolition crew from taking down their house. One of them later died from his injuries.