Chinese knock-offs of popular products and intellectual properties are a common enough occurrence, but World Joyland Theme Park’s appropriation of popular video game imagery takes bootlegging to a whole new level.
The park, which was opened in 2011, is a sprawling video game themed attraction in one of China’s busiest cities. The park is split into two distinct sections: half of the park is a fantasy pastiche reminiscent of the popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, and the other half is a science-fiction world, shockingly similar to the strategy game, Starcraft.
The fantasy half of the park, known as the “Terrain of Magic,” is full of larger-than-life statues of fantastic characters that are cribbed straight out of the popular game, but with an altered color scheme or other small alteration. Warriors, satyrs, elves, and demons all stand boldly in the face of copyright law. Even the architecture of the castles and orcish huts seem to have been rendered straight from the game world. Most of the rides are genre-themed versions of popular amusement park staples such as the log flume and roller coasters of all stripes.
Over in the “Universe of Starship,” visitors can walk among the eerily identical halls of the futuristic buildings which are designed exactly the same as the digital fortresses of Starcraft. The park’s largest ride, a huge, blue roller coaster named the “Sky Scrapper,” is contained within the “Universe” and provides a reasonably futuristic look to the skyline.
Similarities to any Blizzard Entertainment (owners of both Starcraft and Warcraft) properties aside, World Joyland is a truly incredible sight with its limitless statues and sincere love for the fantasy worlds it creates. The park also has a fairly laudable mission: to bridge the real lives and the digital lives of its visitors.