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In China, This Video Game Lets You Be a Tiger Mom or a Driven Dad

SHANGHAI — You want your children to do well in school. You want them to have nice friends and interesting hobbies and to not go out with creeps. You may even want them to be happy.

But in this computer game, you can always start over with a new digital child if things don’t work out as planned.

A new game in China puts players in control of those most fearsome of characters: Mom and Dad. The mission? Raise a son or daughter from cradle to college.

In a nation of famously demanding, scolding and, yes, sometimes loving mothers and fathers, the game, Chinese Parents, is a hit. Since its release in September, it has found a huge audience on Steam, an online marketplace run by the American game maker Valve Corporation. There are no official figures for how many people have downloaded the game, but it has provoked heated discussion online, while earning tens of thousands of reviews.

Yang Ge Yilang, a founder of Moyuwan Games, the independent studio that developed Chinese Parents, said he hoped to produce an English version this year.

On the flip side, “if you mess up the first generation, it will be harder for the following generations to make outstanding achievements,” Mr. Yang, the game’s developer, said.

Kong Qingxun, a 21-year-old blockchain entrepreneur in the southern city of Guangzhou, has raised eight generations of sons in the game. He let the first boy play lots of soccer and video games. But he didn’t get into college, so Mr. Kong changed his approach.

He drove his next son hard in school, earning him admission to the famed Tsinghua University in Beijing. From then on, it was easier for Mr. Kong to keep his boys on a path to accomplishment. By the seventh or eighth generation, his children were so gifted that they could goof off yet still excel academically and date pretty girls.

This feels true to life, Mr. Kong said.

“At the beginning, you think it’s just a 100-meter run,” he said, referring to life. “Then you realize it’s a marathon. And finally you understand it’s a relay race that never ends.”

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