Quiet frog becomes most loved game character for urban Chinese
Photo: image.baidu.com
A quiet little frog in a Japanese-made mobile game tuns into apple in the eyes of Chinese young urbanites as they empathize with the adorable creature who would travel and live all by himself, reported Chinese media.

Tabi Kaeru, or Travel Frog, developed by the Japanese game company Hit-Point Co., Ltd, has become a phenomenon on the country's social media when Weibo, China's microblogging platform and the most popular WeChat Moments page, are these days overwhelmed by posts talking about the animated frog.

Many state media published commentary to study the new fad, and most of them would relate the mini-game's unexpected success to a concept of “Buddhist style of living” which is reported to have gained popularity among China's younger generations since last year.

It's known that the Chinese mobile gaming market has long been dominated by “big games” like Tencent's King of Glory that features confrontation, teamwork and always intends to stimulate adrenaline rush. Travel Frog is apparently something different and believed by industry observers to be a successful niche product which has found its place in the market.

In the minimalist game, there are only three scenes—home, backyard and a shop. Players do not get to directly communicate with the frog. Instead, they collect clovers grown in the backyard and trade them for delicacies and equipments at the shop for their frogs to be prepared for a trip.

The beauty lies in the fact that no one could know for sure when the frog would be ready for a trip, where he would go, and when he'll be back home. The sweet bitterness as depicted by some netizens is felt by players while waiting for their frogs to come home with gifts and longing for happy surprises when the fog sent home postcards and snapshots of himself on the road. All these lure players to log onto the game every now and then to find out what's going on.

It's not hard to find out, based on Chinese reports, many urbanites love the game because they resonate with the Buddhist creature who happily keeps to himself, while living and traveling with no companion in most times.

“I began to realize how small my world is. In the city of well-developed transport and all the good facilities, I was still restricted to my shabby apartment and office building and the road that connect the two,” commented a netizen @Meng Xiaohei on the Shanghai-based mobile game-sharing platform Taptap about Travel Frog, which has till now gained thousands of likes.

For Hu Jia, an IT company executive, her traveling frog has provided her a chance to experience a different life. Hu had worked countless extra hours since her graduation four years ago, with no real-sense holidays. She always hopes she could travel more, but worries meanwhile asking for more holidays would make her lose her job.

“My frog is, on behalf of me, leading the life I aspire,” she told 36Kr, a blog website focused on Internet technology industry, adding that the truth is most young Chinese would not leave big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou where they have to toil, because they need to earn more money to make life better.

Kenichi Ohmae, a Japanese strategists, believes younger generations of Japanese are losing desire to become rich, successful, or even get married and have kid. They tend not to socialize, spend more time at home, and keep to themselves. Meanwhile, they really enjoy such a life of no desire but tranquility.

The Beijing News commented, that “no wonder such a frog was born in Japan. It is actually the digital self of young people who are happily leading single and simple lives.”

More and more young urbanites in China are in similar mental and emotional state like their Japanese peers. The popularity of Buddhist lifestyle and Travel Frog serve as proofs that more young people tend to favor more plain and self-reliant life, wrote the commentary.

“A booming economy has brought both development and growing pains - surging home prices, declining social mobility and complicated interpersonal relationships. Young people with mountains of burden may give up on futile efforts, and turn to their inner self in pursuit of peace and true happiness.”

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