If you visit South Korea, one thing you’ll quickly notice are the thousands of public PC gaming rooms (computer cafes) everywhere. Known as ‘PC bangs’ in South Korea, they’re always full of people playing video games. South Korea is the world’s leader in video game purchases and in the amount of time people play video games.
Multi-player video games are so popular that teams of young players are paid just like professional football players in the west. They’re expected to train for 12 hours or more every day, enter pro-gaming national and international video game competitions, and win. Many different video games are played in South Korea, but the most popular ones are these:
StarCraft – Once the most popular video game of all-time, StarCraft is still huge in South Korea more than 11 years after it was first released. Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, StarCraft is a real-time military strategy game set in space in the future. Koreans love StarCraft and South Korean teams are often the winners in international StarCraft video game tournaments. The country even has TV networks that only broadcast video games, with StarCraft being one of the most popular games broadcast and watched.
World of Warcraft – If you’re in South Korea and visit a PC bang, one of the games a lot of people will be playing is World of Warcraft. Also developed by Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft (or WoW) is an MMORPG or massively multi-player online role-playing game. In South Korea, because the gaming industry here doesn’t require a key to access the game, players are charged for online credits on their credit cards instead of having to purchase the software. What that means is, as soon as the expansion packs go online live, South Koreans are often the first players worldwide to play them, so become expert in them quickly.
Kart Rider – Kart Rider is a Korean online multi-player game, which features tons of different vehicle types players can buy accessories for, and customize with spray paint and decals. Players can also race in an item game (where they collect different items), a speed game, flag game (similar to capture-the-flag), a scenario game (players must succeed in missions). battle game and a chance game (every game is different and can be anything from a beginner level game to one of the hardest games available, or anything in between). At one time, it was reported more than 30% of South Koreans had played Kart Rider at least once.
A trip to South Korea isn’t complete without experiencing a PC bang and playing one of the country’s most popular video games, just once. Unlike anything in any other country in the world, a PC bang shows Korean modern culture at its coolest