Summary of Why China Struggles to Make Games like Travel Frog

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The Japanese mobile game Tabi Kaeru, or Travel Frog, has overcome language barriers and gained overwhelming popularity in China. Even though no Chinese version existed, this minimalist game about a traveling frog quickly became the most downloaded app in Apple’s Chinese app store, garnering more than 3.9 million downloads between December 2017 and February 2018. In contrast, only 400,000 people downloaded the game in its home country; that’s Apple app store and Google Play combined. Entertainment writer Gao Lingling of China’s leading business and technology information provider TMTpost relates the country’s obsession with the game to the stress and anxiety levels of China’s younger generations. She takes a critical look at the phenomenal success of this game in China and discusses the issues that China’s gaming industry is facing. getAbstract recommends this article to gaming enthusiasts and people interested in the mental health of China’s youth.

About the Author

Gao Lingling is a writer for new media company Nan Qi Dao, which was founded by the entrepreneur and tech blogger of the same name. This article was published on TMTpost, China’s leading business and technology information provider.



The Japanese mobile game Tabi Kaeru, or Travel Frogis free to download and revolves around a frog that lives in a wooden lodge where it eats, reads, writes and sharpens its pencil before going on trips to different parts of Japan. Outside the frog’s lodge, players can collect “clovers” – the main currency of the game – to pay for food and travel supplies for the frog’s journeys. Players can’t control where and when the frog goes on vacation or when it returns. It may or may not send postcards during its trip or bring home souvenirs. Sometimes the frog disappears for days. Players spend most of their time waiting or doing nothing. With little commitment involved, Travel Frog has surprisingly become the most downloaded free game in Apple’s Chinese app store.

In late 2017, the term 佛系  (fo xi) – meaning “Buddhist-style” or “Zen-like” – started to gain popularity among China’s young people, signaling a desire to find calm and peace of mind in the fast-paced, competitive environment...

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