Good Grief! Father Hires Virtual Assassins To “Kill” Son

Being old fuddy-duddies, at RPS we generally frown upon fathers’ hiring hitmen to kill their sons. Political health and safety correctness gone mad, we know, but we’re stuck in our ways. But as Kotaku spotted while we were still curled up hibernating within the warm furry fuzzle of Horace’s infinite tummy, when it comes to Mr Feng of China, we are totally down with it. Because he did it online. In pretend land.

His son, Xiao Feng aged 23, spends rather a lot of time playing online games. His dad believes it’s the reason he did badly at school, and can’t hold down a job, so decided he wanted to do something about it. But rather than misdiagnosing his son with some media-invented sickness, he took the far more sensible route: he decided to grief his son on a very elaborate level.

Finding players who were significantly better than Xiao Feng at the games he played, he hired them to kill his son’s characters whenever they started playing. He hired assassins to make the games no fun for his offsprung. Which seems to have at the very least succeeding in pissing his son off.

Kotaku takes a pretty optimistic angle on the ambiguous status of this venture. They report that Feng said he was “relieved” to hear his son give a quote that doesn’t really seem to say anything:

“I can play or I can not play, it doesn’t bother me. I’m not looking for any job — I want to take some time to find one that suits me.”

This sounds to my ears to be a roughly rephrased, “Shut up and leave me alone to play games.” I’m not sure why the father finds this relieving, nor why Kotaku calls it an “earnest plea”, but then I also don’t care all that much. I’m too pleased by how brilliant the initial idea was, whether it’s been effective yet or not. Mr Feng is some sort of griefing hero, and deserves to be high-fived by everyone he encounters for the rest of his life.


  1. ekuurh says:

    *High fives*

  2. BreadBitten says:

    Sheer genius!

  3. Chumbaba says:

    So why is there a picture of Charles Bridge in Prague in the crosshairs? That is where I live, annd it is certainly no China :-)

  4. zeekthegeek says:

    Kotaku calls it an earnest please because most of their staff are bad writers, I thought we all knew this.

    • John Walker says:

      Well, no, they’re not.

      • spedcor666 says:

        I’ve no idea if most of their staff are bad writers or not but the only articles I’ve read on there seem to be blatant, sensationalist, nerd baiting and so I keep well away from it on principle. So, if they do have some good writers there (as I’m sure they do if Mr Walker says so), it’s a shame that they’ve allowed certain writers to give it such a bad name.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          come on now, “I’ve had sex on my sonic-themed bed” and “I got my fashion-sense from JRPGs” are hard hitting cultural classics.

          I feel it’s my duty to regularly read “japanese man arrested for stealing jpop girl’s knickers” every christmas.

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          Oh, the horror!

          Next you’ll tell me that Jezebel is publishing Charlie Sheens sex texts or that Deadspin publishing an article on who gave Magic Johnson aids.

          I mean, they’d have to sunk pretty low over the past few years and have gotten progressively more shit and ugly in order for something for that to happen.

          It’s almost as if the Gawker network is a horrible, click baity lump of internet driven almost entirely by web traffic in a way that’s so utterly blatant it makes a hardened capitalist puke at the blatancy of it all.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          The problem is not so much the writers as it is the editorial direction. Kotaku is just one of Gawker Media’s “lifestyle” blogs targeted at different demographics.

          Gawker is basically the internet’s version of tabloids and pretty fascinating to watch. It’s only a matter of time before they get bought up by Rupert Murdoch or some other media mogul.

        • ffordesoon says:

          They have some good writers there who were not grown in vats beneath Gawker HQ.

          (Well, [i]now[/i] they do, anyway.)

          The problem is more that the signal-to-noise ratio there is abysmal, which has more to do with Gawker’s “post every twenty seconds whether it’s true or even interesting because Daddy needs those sweet sweet hits to buy two cups of Top Ramen tonight” editorial policy. It’s not that they do bad writing (and particularly not by the usual standards of games journalism), but that they don’t have any real standards. They treat any dollop of information like a coke fiend treats the white lady, never mind if it’s malicious or spurious, because that’s what the cash-for-hits policy does to people.

          And by the way, whatever you want to say about Destructoid (which is a pretty solid site in general, despite their annoyingly amateurish editorial standards that have been allowed to fester for the same reason that a talented team of modders’ lack of professional standards is often allowed to fester when they start making commercial products), until they start putting out something called “Snacktoid” unironically and on a regular basis, they’re no Kotaku.

      • f1x says:

        Well yes, Kotaku has evolved into something truly disgusting,
        it was not like that a couple years ago, it was not the best but you could at least get some information on you know… games

        now its all about cosplay and “what does developer X like more bananas or cactus?”

        • WoundedBum says:

          To be fair, the very name Kotaku should suggest that it’s not just a gaming site, but also obssessive culture-y sorts of things. If you check out Kotaku Core, which they put up as something to cuts out all that sort of thing there’s plenty of news articles:

          link to

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I know they restyled themselves as “nerd culture” rather than “video games”, but I feel it a bit sad that they actually had to make an explicit “actual video games only” segregation on the site.

        • f1x says:

          Yes I know that it was never strictly about videogames but rather about the culture,

          the thing is as I said, now the videogames part is a small one inside the rest, and some years ago it was the other way around

          The thing is, I used to read RPS, Kotaku and Destructoid (obviously RPS always have been superior <3) but every one of the 3 sites got me something interesting, now Kotaku is… well… and destructoid…. ugh

          • BrendanJB says:

            Exactly the same for me. Kotaku, Dtoid, and RPS were my go-to websites for gaming news for years. Then Kotaku got progressively shittier to the point where I wondered why I was even visiting the site, Destructoid’s best writers left or post very sparsely, and now its all Tony Ponce’s terrible taste in entertainment and Jim Sterling’s troll-baiting. The Dtoid Show is leagues above what their website portrays.

            These days I frequent RPS and Rev3; with Adam Sessler and The Dtoid Show, it makes for great viewing. Occasionally going to /r/gamingnews and TheGameStation.

          • arccos says:

            Polygon is also worth reading. Especially for their features.

      • Bhazor says:

        They really are though.

        I lost all faith in them with their treatment of Jade Raymond. Posting ridiculous articles like link to then they post articles damning her for trying to use her sex appeal. Alongside “Cosplay reviews” and you can see why female journalists and game designers don’t want to be seen.

        They are absolute gutter press.

        • WoundedBum says:

          While the bikini thing is stupid, I’m not sure it contradicts any points they are making, they’re just saying that the rumour isn’t true. Unless that post has since been edited.

          • Bhazor says:

            That one seems to have been edited

            This one wasn’t
            link to

            This article does a decent job of summing the issue up
            link to

            Though I should point out that the comic she mentions was supposed to be a parody of her treatment by the press rather than how she actually marketed the game.

      • colorlessness says:

        I get that they’re fellow journalists and you wanna defend them, but Kotaku (and the Gawker sites as a whole) are really pretty bad. Maybe they’re great writers when they’re writing pieces for other venues?

      • Lev Astov says:

        Sure, not all of them, but come on. The entire reason I’m here now is because I got progressively more disgusted with the way Kotaku and Gawker in general wrote. One day I realized that a very significant portion of the articles I actually enjoyed on Kotaku anymore came from this Rock, Paper, Shotgun place and I haven’t looked back since.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Ernest, please.

  5. WoundedBum says:

    I think I might have to do the same for my dad, because he is absolutely in love with Company of Heroes, but it is quite endearing to hear him chuckling away at some of the things the soldiers say.

    It’s actually fascinating to watch him play, he’ll building mortar teams and shell entire areas before he moves his troops in there where as I would waste quite a few squads just scouting an area. I think Goliaths are his mortal enemy too.

    • stkaye says:

      Watching dads play videogames is always an extraordinary experience. Mine plays a few recent releases, but for some reason he always comes back to two or three absolute favourites. And for some reason these include Project I.G.I. and its sequel. I’ve spent hours when back at home watching him creep around an enemy installation, exploiting the crappy AI, patient enough to replay the same damn ten meters of corridor a dozen times until he gets through it with an acceptable amount of health.

      When I tried to show him how to circle-strafe in Jedi Knight 2, he looked at me like I was crazy.

      • Alphabet says:

        I did that with Project IGI when it first came out. A truly great game, IMO. I watched someone play it on youtube a while ago and they speed-ran the levels, which I found abominable.

        • BathroomCitizen says:

          How do you make a dad play first person games?

          I’ve let my dad try Portal, and when I showed him the WASD controls he lost his head and gave up, because—in his words— “I’m lacking the right skills for this game”. I told him it was just a matter of practice, but he just wouldn’t listen.

          I failed as a son!

          • stkaye says:

            There’s definitely a moment – somewhere in our 50s? – when our brains become quite impermeable to new programming. So I’m not sure the WASD controls ever became second nature or unconscious for my dad – he looks at his fingers every time he’s about to do something, and this leads to a lot of slow, pixel-by-pixel sniping and creeping – but the game still speaks to him on some level. He didn’t much enjoy Modern Warfare, it’s too frenzied.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Half-Life was a good introduction for my dad. Still a slow paced game and the environments were more relatable to real life. I can see a beginner becoming genuinely confused at what was up and what was down in Portal’s weird lab world.

          • The Random One says:

            I’m just going to put this out here – anyone who’s used with first-person games has a hard time realizing how incredibly complex they are.

    • One Pigeon says:

      That sounds quite nice though.

      I wish I could get my dad to play some proper games. The one time I’ve seen him not playing Freecell in the lowest screen resolution I’ve ever seen, is when he played an old version of Train Simulator we bought him for Christmas a while ago.
      And when I say played, I mean he got a cup of tea and set up journey just to watch the train travel between two stations in Yorkshire or somewhere. He didn’t touch a key.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Hah, dads and games. My father was really into into Warcraft 2 and StarCraft (but not Warcraft 3). He kept my copies when I left for university and was still playing occasionally when I got back. Don’t think he ever managed to beat the last two missions of Brood War. Great at multi-tasking, but his micro was lacking.

      He hasn’t gamed for years now, although he was absolutely fascinated watching me play Just Cause 2. Hmm, might be a good idea for a silly birthday gift, now that I think about it.

  6. archnme says:


    (I’m sorry)

  7. Gnoupi says:

    Hm, time to launch a meeting agency between parents and hardcore gamers..

  8. MOKKA says:

    I’m wondering if there’s a market for something like this.

  9. Gap Gen says:

    I’m guessing that without instadeath, this is simply a campaign of annoying someone rather than actually destroying their character.

    • Kollega says:

      It is, but that’s the point: annoy him so much that he stops playing.

  10. frightlever says:

    Didn’t happen. This is a bullshit news wire article fabricated to fill space in local weeklies. Believe it, don’t believe it but it’s too full of plot-holes to be credible, in my opinion.

    • spedcor666 says:

      Plot holes? What is this, the IMDb forums?

      But yeah, I was going to read the source article to see for myself but then I seen it was Kotaku and decided not to bother.

    • Lanfranc says:

      I’ll choose to believe it, if only because I’d hate to live in a world where things like this didn’t happen. ^_^

  11. Valvarexart says:

    Really, Walker? Pagehit-whoring, and at that borrowing from KOTAKU, of all places? I know you are buddies with the kotaku dudes and defend them, but if you were to examine the website even somewhat objectively you would realize how terribly low their level is.

    • Bob_Bobson says:

      That seems excessively harsh on John. I’m glad RPS carried this story, it interested and entertained me (and I don’t doubt others like me) and I wouldn’t have come across this story otherwise. And as I’m not a fan of Kotaku I wouldn’t have happened across this story without RPS.

    • Berzee says:

      It is a funny story wot I liked to read.

      What I do think it silly though it how nobody has been able to discover what game(s) this was in. (At least that I’ve seen). That’s kind of important, as much as any of this can be important.

  12. Hunchback says:

    Is his son playing EVE then? Cause hiring assassins is standard practice there… nothing immoral or special.

  13. Hoaxfish says:

    Not sure why Kotaku gets its own tag, unless it’s to warn us to steer clear.

  14. -Spooky- says:

    Ultima Online anyone? Assassinate the son and loot ALL of his own (incl. property / house etc.)! *instant rage quit confirmed – fo´ da lulz*

  15. biggergun says:

    Believe it or not, we often do it to an outsource coder who is rather good, but often disappears for weeks to play World of Tanks. Started as a joke, but turned out to be quite effective.

  16. ffordesoon says:

    This is one of those stories that I love and desperately want to be true.

    Because a world where a dad pays virtual assassins to get his son off them damn vidya games so’s he kin apply hisself is a world I am happy to live in.

    It’s such a good story that it probably isn’t real, unfortunately. But it’s worth mentioning just in case.

  17. namad says:

    this article is bad, it’s pandering to what’s popular on a popularist site, it’s not real news. what this father did was immature and showed a poor relationship and poor communication with his son. way to be a bad writer. oh wait? you’re like my favorite writer ever? what? the? heck?

  18. rickenbacker says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t believe that this ever happened? We’ve seen loads of stories like this over the years, and they usually turn out to be made up, and then spread by non-fact-checking journos in the daily rags.