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by Xinhua writers Zhang Yuqi, Yao Yulin。
TIANJIN, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Donning traditional apparel with a rapier in his hand, 23-year-old swordsman Zhang Yuhao struggled to confess his secret, though doing so could prove fatal for his brother who is suspected of assassinating the emperor.。
Thankfully, however, no one was actually killed in this murder mystery game. Together with his six friends, Zhang was given the background information of his character before the role play began, and they were dressed up in costume to immerse themselves in the experience of finding the true "killer" in a fictive crime.。
Such role play enthusiasts are an increasingly common sight in China nowadays. Murder mystery games that feature brain-racking reasoning and suspenseful plots have overwhelmed more and more youngsters and become a favorite social activity.。
According to a report released by the Meituan Research Institute, China is expected to have about 9.4 million consumers willing to pay for such live-action role play (LARP) in 2021, with an estimated market value of more than 15 billion yuan (about 2.35 billion U.S. dollars).。
Over 70 percent of the game players are under the age of 30, while more than 40 percent of the consumers tend to participate in LARP at least once a week, said the report.。
It was Zhang's first encounter with the game, yet he was instantly hooked. "My character faces a dilemma between staying loyal to the emperor and protecting his brother. While playing our roles, we were experiencing a different life described in the script."
As a white-collar employee in north China's Tianjin Municipality, Zhang often works more than nine hours during busy workdays. "It may sound trite to say that I love the fantasy of being someone else, but the game is kind of an escape from my daily routine on weekends."
As the game unfolded gradually under the guidance of a host, all the LARP players soon immersed themselves in the imaginary world. As they reached the critical junctures, tears even rolled down the faces of Zhang and his companions.。
Liu Yang, 25, is a frequent visitor to a local LARP venue in Tianjin. Almost every Friday evening he plays the in-person role game with strangers after toiling long hours during the day.。
As a young empty-nester in the bustling city, Liu makes friends during the games.。
"I've seen it bring a lot of people out of their shells. Every character in the game has their own vital clues that others may not know," Liu said.。
"How they play their role is mainly defined by their own personalities, so that I can know more about a stranger within the game's four to five hours. I could even be lucky enough to make a new close friend during the game," he added.。
Li Chenyu, a 17-year-old senior high school student, is much more taken with the game's logical side. "Players dig out every clue and share them during conversation to vote out the liar by analyzing the criminal's contradictory statements."
Encouraged by the promising LARP games, Chinese entrepreneurs are scrambling to grab a share of the lucrative market.。
According to Qichacha, a leading platform offering company information inquiry services, over 3,600 LARP-related enterprises were newly registered during the first half of this year, up about 294.4 percent year on year.。
LARP lover Qin Yue owns about 10 LARP studios across the country. "Offline studios have mushroomed in China. In my pre-market survey, I found nearly 100 studios scattered in one office building cluster in a central urban area of Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province."
Yet the nascent industry has also incurred many worrying problems. Some parents of the young players hold negative attitudes toward the game due to its possible violent, vulgar and obscene content.。
Minors are susceptible to the criminal and sexual elements of the LARP games due to the vivid and immersive experiences the games can bring. "It is urgent to improve the regulation over the offline and online studios and script publishers," noted Wang Chunyi, a training consultant of the Chinese Psychological Society.。
"LARP games are still a good emotional outlet for those having a hard time in their daily lives, where they can release all their stress and take a break. This is what the game is all about, beyond reasoning and social interaction," said Qin Yue.。
"As a studio owner, I feel obliged to filter out the scripts of poor quality. All LARP lovers are expecting rosy prospects for the industry rather than seeing the game become a mere fleeting craze," Qin added. Enditem。
Bayern ease past struggling Wolfsburg in Bundesliga******
BERLIN, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Reigning champions Bayern Munich secured its fifth straight win in the Bundesliga after beating harmless "Wolves" 4-0 at the curtain raiser of the 17th round on Friday.。
The German record champions started perfectly on home soil as Wolfsburg's goalkeeper Koen Casteels parried Serge Gnabry's 25-meter hammer into the path of Thomas Muller, who made no mistake to tap home his 134th goal in his 400th Bundesliga appearance from very close in the 7th minute.。
Wolfsburg should have restored parity with the next attack, but Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer denied Wout Weghorst the equalizer following a one-on-one.。
Bayern remained a menace and squandered several chances to double its advantage as Robert Lewandowski pulled a rebound over the goal before Jamal Musiala missed from promising position.。
Wolfsburg created another presentable chance before the half time, but Weghorst couldn't control a dangerous square pass with only Neuer to beat.。
After the restart, Bayern remained in control and made it two in the 57th minute when Muller chipped the ball to Dayot Upamecano, who headed home from five meters.。
The German giants sealed the deal only two minutes later as Leroy Sane had all time and space to curl the ball from the edge of the box into the far post corner.。
Wolfsburg couldn't put up resistance whereas Bayern kept it bowling and rounded off the win with the 4-0 through Robert Lewandwoski, whose 43rd goal in 2021 sets a new Bundesliga record.。
"I am very satisfied with the performance. The first half was difficult as Wolfsburg defended well and had two good chances. In the second half we gained the upper hand and scored fantastic goals to clinch a deserved win," Bayern's head coach Julian Nagelsmann said.。
"I think we played well in the first half, but it's of course impossible to keep Bayern at bay for 90 minutes. You won't get many chances hence you have to make the most of those few opportunities," Wolfsburg's sporting director Marcel Schafer said. Enditem。
Bayern defender Lucas Hernandez avoids prison after Madrid court accepts appeal******
MADRID, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Bayern Munich's French international defender Lucas Hernandez has avoided a six-month prison sentence after a Madrid court accepted his appeal on Wednesday.
Hernandez faced going to jail after breaching a restraining order placed on him following a domestic incident with his then-girlfriend in 2017, when he played for Atletico Madrid.
He was also told to carry out 31 days of community service, which he failed to complete.
The player and his partner then married and went on honeymoon together, despite the restraining order, and he was subsequently detained on returning to Spain.
On September 14, Hernandez was instructed to appear in court in Madrid again on October 19 and to say which prison he preferred to spend his jail term in.
But he appealed against the prison term and that appeal has now been accepted, although he will have to pay a 96,000 euro fine, while the sentence is suspended for four years. Enditem