A patriotic Internet game featuring heroic Chinese and designed to wean the young off their addiction to violent foreign games is still not ready for release a year after development begun, state media said on Tuesday. Unlike the more popular games, where players have to slay dragons, fight aliens or beat up bad guys, in Chinese Heroes players click on statues to learn about their experiences and carry out tasks like moving bricks, Xinhua news agency said.

We hope the game will teach players about Chinese ethics, it quoted Kou Xiaowei, an official with China's General Administration of Press and Publication, which is organizing the game's development, as saying.

Some of the heroes will include Lei Feng, a Mao Zedong-era model soldier, and Zheng Chenggong, a pirate also known as Koxinga who seized Taiwan from Dutch colonial rule in 1661.

Five heroes have been developed, but we have not yet decided the launch date, Zhuge Hui, a spokesman for Shanghai gaming company Shanda, which is designing the game, told Xinhua.

Online gaming has exploded in China in recent years, with an estimated 13.8 million people taking part. Chinese media have expressed concern with more and more young people getting hooked, taking a heavy toll on their studies.

But the official news agency expressed doubt the new game would even appeal to China's youth of today.

Teenagers seek adventure and fulfillment in dramatic and skill-demanding games, it quoted Tao Ran, director of the Beijing Internet Addiction Treatment Center as saying.

If hero games do not focus on killing and domination, gamers will definitely not play them.