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Air Pollution Discount turns China’s deadly smog into a mobile game

What do you get when you cross a discount voucher app, an iOS game, and China’s fatally thick smog? A way to feel better about the fact that every breath you take is edging you closer to death.

In one of the strangest pseudo-video-game publicity stunts since Ariana Grande inexplicably appeared in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Chinese advertising agency Dentsu has worked with Kobayashi Pharmaceutical, a leading manufacturer of pollution-related face masks, to create a game app specifically designed around China’s alarming pollution levels.

China has some of the poorest air-quality levels on the planet — earlier this year Techly talked about Beijing even implementing a smog squad to crack down on “open-air barbecues, garbage incineration, biomass burning and dust from roads.”

This collaboration feeds into this distressing episode, and tries to bring a certain light-heartedness to the otherwise dire situation.

The app, titled Air Pollution Discount, links to China’s publicly broadcast air quality index (AQI), which measures the levels of airborne particulates smaller than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM 2.5) present in the local atmosphere.

The higher the levels of pollution in your area, the greater your discount will be, with users able to score anywhere from 1 to 20 renminbi off their next purchase of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical face masks.

The most polluted areas will then ‘earn’ themselves a discount voucher for 20 RMB, which converts to roughly $AU3.80 off the retail price.

(What were you expecting? It’s only a face mask after all, and $3.80 off is still a pretty sweet deal.)

It’s basically exactly like Pokémon Go, except instead of going out and looking for a Charizard, then being overrun by Pidgey and Rattata, you go out looking for the highest discount and get overrun by poisonous smog that is slowly killing you!

No matter how much I love video games, this is one that I would be very, very happy to lose.

About the author

Tyler is currently based in Canberra, though he rejects this reality and enjoys immersing himself in games, technology, and comics. You can usually catch him trying to find that last shard/flag/feather.
Twitter: @FinalAlchemist

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