Youtube でいい感じの英語動画を発掘するのが趣味の hachi です、こんちわ。台湾のホラーゲーム『環願』の解説動画にとても面白いものがあったので、勉強がてら英語スクリプトを文字起こし・要約してみました。ひとりじめするのももったいないのでシェアします。ちなみに重大なネタバレがあるので注意してください。
文法などの基礎ができている人向け（目安は TOEIC800 以上）。基礎に不安がある人は正しい日本語訳や文法解説が付いている教材を使った方がいい。
The 228 incident took place on February 28th 1947 and is a dark stain on the history of Taiwan also known as the February 28th Massacre it occurred during the closing days of World War two.
When Japan ceded control of Taiwan to China, a move initially met with enthusiasm by a Taiwanese public.
But that enthusiasm quickly turned into disdain when an occupying Chinese force proved inexperienced corrupts and cruel.
The incident began when a dispute between a group of Chinese soldiers and a local cigarette vendor resulted in shots being fired into a large angry crowd sparking a violent Taiwanese anti-government uprising, which was met with the retaliation of China’s brutal National Revolutionary Army. You can still find footage of the massacre that followed online but a lot of it’s disturbing enough that I don’t want to show it here.
But the general attitude of China’s soldiers towards the Taiwanese people can be summed up with a single quote from Kay Yoon fen the chief of the KMT secret police in which he stated: We would rather kill 99 innocent good people by mistake than miss a guilty one. This was the ethos that led to an era of martial law in Taiwan that lasted 38 years, a period the Taiwanese adopt the white terror, during which paranoia and fear run rampant.
Any slight or even perceived infraction against the Chinese government could lead to entire families disappearing. And those infractions could be as minor as reading censored material or in one case translating a Popeye comic. According to official numbers kept by the Republic of China at the time, 190 people were killed by Chinese forces during the White Terror. But examination of census data by Taiwanese scholars shows that figure a closer to 20,000.
Of course I’m not a historian I am a ridiculous human being who talks about anime games and wrestling for a living. So the only reason I know anything about the 228 incidents the white terror or Taiwan in general is because these were the setting for one of my favorite games of 2017 the indie horror Detention from Taiwanese studio Red candle games.
The story of Detention was inspired by the grandparents of some of the team members at Red candle games who had actually lived through the white terror. Those experiences of paranoia and depression, the feeling of always being watched and never knowing when a classmate or teacher might just disappear - those are the experiences that the team at Red candle crafted into a beautiful and nuanced piece of horror.
The game itself was designed to look like an old faded photograph capturing the feeling of that era perfectly and drew on Taiwanese and Asian mythology in order to flush out the more supernatural portions of its story. Creating a distinctive cultural identity for Detention, all while showing the damage high-level government oppression can have on the most vulnerable members of society, but also a chilling tale about one person’s inability to accept the atrocities they’ve committed.
Detention to me is horror at its most powerful field with cathartic creative scares but using that fear to convey the very real terror the people of Taiwan would have felt. And in doing so, turning the horror of Detention into a tool for empathy letting us experience the lives and traumas of people who grew up in a very different culture than we did.
Detention was Red candle’s first game and given how distinctly frightening it was, I was keen to see what the studio would do next. And whatever I might have expected, I never could have anticipated Devotion.
Like Detention, Devotion draws on the history and culture of its developers to create a distinctive and chilling kind of horror. But unlike Detention the game takes place entirely from first person with Red candle using this perspective to create scares not possible in 2D but also as a way to convey the feeling of having a surreal lucid nightmare, using a single unbroken first-person camera shot to take us through its entire story as we swim to the different memories and life events of its characters.
The first scene of the game seizes take the viewpoint of Du Feng Yu, father and husband to a family of three and we’re given a few moments just to soak in the cozy atmosphere of his warm family life until his hands begin to tremble and his vision blurs. And we’re awaken in the same apartments now filthy and abandoned leaving us with the question what exactly happened to the Du family.
From here we’re given the freedom to explore the Du’s apartment but this only raises some more unsettling questions: why is Feng Yu’s head out of frame in the family portrait? why is the bathroom door always locked? and who is the woman who seems to be stalking us?
Devotion asks these questions with strong unsettling imagery and it’s the intrigue of those mysteries that pulls us through the game’s opening scenes as we explore the environments and try to piece together what’s happening.
And look, I know uncovering a mystery through environmental exploration is not exactly a new concept in 2019. But Devotion’s strength is both in the quality of its environments as well as the story that’s been built into them. Devotion’s early scenes of the feeling of wandering around inside an old family photograph and part of that is just how exceptionally crafted these environments are with even little details like sweet packets, models and textured with an authentically Taiwanese feel, giving Devotion spaces a legitimate sense of place and culture. And I love this.
If you’ve been watching my videos for any length of time you’ll know what a fool I am for some good strong environmental storytelling. To me there’s no more interesting way to breathe life into a fictional character than to have that character reflected in the environments around them and it’s this kind of intimate world building that Devotion does so beautifully.
There’s a scene early on when you enter the Du’s apartment on the day they first move in and you’re tasked with decorating the empty rooms with the dews different crockery and memorabilia. But as you do the apartment itself begins to transform going from an empty set of rooms to something that feels like an actual home. And as it does, it reveals all these little insights into who these people are.
For example, we find out that Lee Fong the mother of the Dus used to be a famous singer and actress and has left the spotlight to become a full-time wife and mother. But one look at her bedroom wall and it’s apparent how much her time as a star meant to her and how it looked and she is to leave it behind. Likewise Feng Yu’s trophy cabinet shows the pride he takes in his career as a screenwriter while the scripts themselves reveal how much he values being the father of a traditional family unit surrounded by his adoring wife and daughter. Letting us experience this moment through the eyes of the Dus establishes a kind of familiarity between us and them.
After this sequence the Dus felt like neighbors to me people I might not have had any real relationship with but of who I had had all these little glimpses into their lives. Another great example being a sequence when Feng Yu reads his daughter Mei Shin a storybook and the game turns into a puzzle platformer as Mei Shin draws in her own parts of the story. And it’s little moments like this that really creates the sense of the Dus as a family who were at one point really happy. And it’s that feeling that makes the later events of Devotion so horrifying. Creating a kind of fear that way points Danielle rien dough aptly termed as domestic horror. The best way to think about domestic horror is like this: if cosmic horror is fear of some gargantuan unknowable entity potentially residing in the deepest reaches of space, domestic horror is the opposite.
It’s the fear of the familiar, the person you wake up beside, the family and home that surround you. The idea that there could be some deep unknowable madness or evil residing behind the faces of the ones we love and this is the horror of Devotion.
Our first real indication that something is not quite right with the Du family starts with the Do’s daughter Mei Shin. From an early age it was decided that Mei Shin would become a singer just like her mother. With an old rerun of her performing constantly repeating on the Du’s television but it soon becomes appearent the pressure that Mei Shin is under. The game using its first-person perspective to show how the weight of her parents’ expectation is crushing the little girl. There’s one moment later on when we enter the apartment only to see another clip of Mei Shin performing in a singing competition. But this time it’s Mei Shin losing the contest by a single points. And when the announcer reads out her results, the television starts skipping and repeating.
This moment is creepy but it also captures how traumatic the contest was for Mei Shin, destroying her confidence and causing her intense performance anxiety that her parents ends up mistaking as a physical illness It’s from the viewpoints of Mei Shin. We start to see a more unsettling side to the Du family. We see through her eyes while she suffers a panic attack as her parents scream and argue in the next room. We watch her father through cracks in the wall as he begins to become more violent and unstable.
At this point in the game Feng Yu’s career has started to crumble. The stress of his daughter’s illness causing his scripts to become bloated with overly sentimental depictions of the serene family life he used to have, resulting in film studios no longer wishing to work with him.
This puts tremendous strain on his relationship with Lee Fong with us overhearing a letter being read out on a radio show that sounds very much like Lee Fong complaining about her husband’s inability to provide. At this point in the story, we know how much family means to Feng Yu, and the pain and humiliation he would have felt in this moment is palpable. And it really frames the character as a man losing control of his life, his beloved family now cracking apart. But it’s in those cracks that a more insidious force begins to seep into the lives of the Du family.
Early on when Mei Shin first gets sick, Feng Yu is contacted by a mentor Heuh, a mysterious woman who lives upstairs from the family, claiming she can heal Mei Shin through spiritual healing, as long as the family is willing to show her enough devotion. And so Feng Yu on the verge of losing everything begins to believe that mentor Heuh and her God Cigu Guanyin are here and his familie’s only remaining path to salvation. And slowly he begins to lose touch with reality.
Devotion depicts Feng Yu descends into madness with strong unsettling imagery but it’s that imagery juxtaposed against the Du’s once picturesque family life that makes the experience so unsettling.
What should be comforting scenes of a loving family are given an eerie uncanny quality when depicted with grotesque mannequin-like dolls that start to follow you on the scene from room to room.
With the apartment itself beginning to crack and distort as it stretches to impossible dimensions. It’s through the apartment that Devotion conveys the nightmare that the Du’s lives have become. Over the course of the game, we’re presented with the Do’s home at three different times 1980 1985 and 1986. And the further down the timeline we go, the more manifestations of Feng Yu’s madness begin to appear with him eventually turning the apartments into a twisted altar to his God. And it starts to become apparent that his family may no longer be safe with him.
And that’s about as far as I can go without straight-up spoiling the game which I am about to do. So skip to here if you want to avoid, you, you cowards.
As Feng Yu becomes an irreconcilable devotee to Cigu Guanyin, Li Fang grows exhausted with the situation and leaves her husband returning to her career as an actor, meaning that Mei Shin is now alone with her unstable father.
The deterioration of her family meaning her panic disorder has become increasingly debilitating. But Feng Yu doesn’t understand this. He doesn’t want to believe that there could be anything and mentally or emotionally wrong with his daughter and becomes convinced that she can only be healed through spiritual medicine, and so out of genuine love for Mei Shin, brings her to the cult of Cigu Guanyin, in which mentor Heuh instructs him that the only way to save his daughter is to submerge the little girl in a spiritual wine for seven days leading to Feng Yu drowning his daughter in the bathtub of their apartments in a misguided attempt to save her.
The final moments of the game reveal faint news sitting in front of these same static television we originally woke up in front of. The apartment now abandoned, his family gone. Feng Yu trapped in the endless cycle of reliving the memories that led to him killing his daughter.
there is a scene towards the end of the game where you enter mentor Heuhe’s apartment, you find all these answering machine tapes and when you listen to them back, it’s all these different people dissatisfied and I rate that her spiritual healing isn’t working, these people having been manipulated just like the Dus were. And there’s just this awful realization of like shit everything this family went through, all the pain and horror, it was all caused by this one low-grade con artist.
Devotion is a story about how cults harm people. And when I originally discovered this, I was surprised because it seems like such a general concept especially considering how specifically Taiwanese the inspirations for Detention were, or at least that’s what I thought until I did a little research.
What you’re seeing here is a gathering of the Rulaizong a Taiwanese religious group with approximately 80,000 members, who have been repeatedly accused of financial corruption and breeding idolic levels of worship in their devotees towards the group’s leader a former stuntman who goes by the title of Miao Chan.
Miao Chan meaning literally the wonderful Zen claims to be a living Buddha capable of healing sickness and dispelling negative karma from his followers. Those followers attributing every positive occurrence in their life to him even believing he can protect them from natural disasters. The Rulaizong have been accused of drawing in the most marginalized members of society and manipulating them into donating large sums of their living wage every month, all operating with zero financial transparency.
One of the most troubling parts of the Rulaizong is that it isn’t even the only organization in Taiwan like this. Groups like this are so common that I’ve seen Taiwan described as an island of cults. And the reason for that is that after the oppression of the white terror, Taiwan adopted very luxe policies towards self-expression and especially towards religion allowing organizations like the Rulaizong to operate in plain sight preying on the most vulnerable members of society.
This is why the horror of Devotion feels so real because it is; Devotion draws on something frightening and terrible but also something happening in Taiwan right now right this second, and uses it to tell a chilling story of how pouring all of who you are into one belief system or way of thinking will leave you with nothing. And to me, today when atrocities are being committed on a nearly weekly basis in the name of a variety of different causes, Devotion’s message is a powerful one. I think this is a story that people need to hear.
Which is where I’d like to end this video but I can’t. Felt like we came to a nice emotional conclusion there but for all I’ve said about Devotion, you can’t actually buy this game. Devotion had an extremely successful launch earlier this year, quickly becoming a semaj hit on Twitch with thousands of reviews on Steam at placing the game in the “overwhelmingly positive” category, but all that came to a halt when the text “Xi Jingping winnie-the-pooh moron” was found in one of the game’s art assets. Xi Jinping being the president of China but also the subject of a popular internet meme likening him to Winnie the Pooh, a comparison that he apparently takes such umbrage with that Winnie the Pooh was censored out of the Kingdom Hearts3 promotional material as well as the movie Christopher Robin of being denied release in China, which is a shame because that movie is a delight.
The inclusion of the meme in Devotion was taken with extreme eyre by a portion of Chinese players, leading to a very negative backlash against the games of Red candle with both Detention and Devotion, being review bombed on Steam, with Red candle eventually removing Devotion from the store entirely. I don’t think that hidden messages like this are the best way to criticize an oppressive regime especially from a studio that has already very successfully criticized oppressive regimes. But I also think that Xi Jinping with his policies on censorship and restrictive views on human rights is a leader worthy of criticism.
According to a statement released by Red candle, the art asset itself was just a placeholder and never meant to be included in the final release but intentional or not it has led to a very complicated situation, with many Chinese players being less offended by the meme and more concerned that its inclusion could lead to increased regulation on video games in China, with the matter growing ever more complicated when taking into account that Valve are currently developing an exclusively Chinese version of Steam that will be subject to China’s censorship laws.
At the time of writing it’s unclear when or even if Devotion will be available again for purchase. And I think that’s really unfortunate because I think this is a game that needs to be experienced by more people. I’m guessing not that many people are going to care about a mid tier anime youtuber talking about a PC in the horror game, but I also think what Eed candle has done with both Detention and Devotion is really special, drawing on their own history and culture to tell stories of horror that are real and powerful.
And if making this video leads to a few extra people checking out their games and supporting them, well, I’d be pretty happy with that.
- Devotion は台湾のゲーム会社 Red Candle が製作したホラーゲームである。2019 年発売。前作は Detention（返校）。1980 年代、父母娘の三人家族が住んでいた無人の家が舞台。ゲームは主人公（父）の視点で進む。進行するにつれ家がどんどんやばい感じになっていき、この家庭に何があったんだ？という謎を明らかにするのがプレイの目的となる。
- 台湾には実際に多くの怪しい宗教団体があり、社会で弱い立場に置かれた人々が食い物にされている。こうした背景が Devotion の恐怖をリアルなものにしている。
- Devotion は習近平をくまのプーさんに例えるアセットがゲーム内に含まれていることが発覚して中国で物議を呼び、販売中止になった。そのため基本的に現在このゲームをプレイすることはできず、再開の予定もない。
私は Devotion をプレイしたことはないんですが、たまたま Youtube でこの動画を見かけてすごく惹かれました。雰囲気がめちゃめちゃよい。そしてこの動画もクォリティが高い。本編のあらすじだけでなく前作との対比、2.28 事件や白色テロなどの歴史、台湾の宗教事情など背景知識も解説されているのがとても面白いです。