Forbidden City Opens Its Doors—to Virtual Eunuchs

Second Life-style game allows tourists to enter Chinese palace complex
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2008 4:09 PM CDT
A screenshot of the 'Learning to Play Weiqi' activity from The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time.   (The Palace Museum, Beijing)
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(Newser) – It's now possible to visit one of Beijing's premier tourist sights without having to worry about bad air quality or hard-to-get visas, Reuters reports. A new computer game allows users to experience the Qing emperor's Forbidden City complex as member of his court, embodying any character from soldier to eunuch—delicately renamed "imperial servant."

The game imposes some rules of physics and decorum—no running or flying allowed—but it lets users do plenty of things that they couldn't in reality. "You wouldn't have been able to just wander around like this," explains one curator of the real Palace Museum. Avatars can watch the emperor eat dinner and hang out with the courtesans.