The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Category: Gaming (page 2 of 5)

Blizzard and Korean Air Remind World What Korea’s National Sport REALLY Is

From GameSpy:

“We’re pleased to be partnering with Korean Air, Korea’s leading airline, on this campaign,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “As we approach the global launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, this promotion represents a unique, large-scale opportunity to introduce the characters and style of the StarCraft universe to gamers throughout the world.”

Yong-won Suh, executive VP of Korean Air, said the promotion would help the airline market itself to youths in the StarCraft-crazed nation. “eSports is an established part of youth culture all around the world,” Suh said. “We look forward to positioning ourselves as a global airline that appeals to the younger generation by operating airplanes wrapped with StarCraft II images and celebrating the launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.”

I’ve never watched an entire episode of “Lost,” and I’ve never played a full game of “Starcraft.” In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever played a game by Blizzard, period.*

* Come to think of it, since I discovered the joy of third and first person shooters, the only RTS I play is Clancy’s EndWar for the Xbox 360.

Homefront Future History Trailer

As I said when I first learned about this upcoming game, “Please, oh please, dear God, don’t ban this game in South Korea”:

(HT to reader)

On the Gaming Front: Bad Company 2, Bodycount

OK, I have completed the single player campaign on Battlefield Bad Company 2, and pronounce it awesome. Without a doubt one of the most enjoyable shooter experiences I’ve had. Very visceral.

Makes for a rather nice contrast with COD: Modern Warfare 2. I can’t really say which one I enjoyed more, in fact.

On another happy note, looks like Black — the single greatest piece of gun porn I’ve ever played — is getting a sequel of sorts.

A PBS Documentary on Internet Addiction in South Korea

PBS aired an interesting documentary entitled Digital_Nation: Life on the Frontier that includes a essay on internet addiction in South Korea:

. . . Today, South Korea considers Internet addiction a public health crisis. Since 1994, Korea’s government has invested billions in broadband infrastructure, and penetration is now 97 percent of households, versus 67 percent in the United States. The government now estimates up to 30 percent of those under 18, or about 2.4 million people, are at risk. To combat the problem the South Korean government offers treatment at roughly 200 counseling centers and hospitals, and has trained more than 1,000 Internet addiction counselors.

You can also view the entire show at the link above.

GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Wait no longer, GTA fans — “The Ballad of Gay Tony” is ready for download.

America? Occupied by the North Koreans? Fuck Me!


Couldn’t we let them keep San Francisco? See full-size image here.

Kaos Studios, the makers of Frontlines: Fuel of War (which I really enjoyed, BTW), has signed on John Milius of “Apocalypse Now” and “Red Dawn” fame to pen the storyline of their upcoming game, “Homefront,” a first-person shooter set in a North Korean-occupied United States in 2027:

There’s a global financial crisis. And a global energy crisis. What if these international issues led to a worst-case scenario? How about the conquering and subjugation of America by North Korean armies? That’s the premise of Homefront, the new first-person shooter from developer Kaos Studios and publisher THQ. The game takes place about 20 years in the future, in a war-torn America that has been devastated by the invasion. In the game, you’ll play as a single soldier who joins a ragtag resistance army in the desperate fight to survive.

What’s that you say? North Korea would be lucky to be occupying North Korea in 20 years, let alone anyone else? Don’t be such a killjoy:

Please, oh please, dear God, don’t ban this game in South Korea.

Deep penetration lady

For those of you who share past times similar to my own, you may want to look at this Chosun feature on Yoon Young-im part of the security detail a Seven Luck casino:

Switching from a KTO employee to a monitoring agent wasn’t easy. Working with an American expert, she underwent intensive one-on-one training in Baccarat, blackjack and poker, and ways to detect sharpers. She reviewed videos of cheaters discovered in real casinos countless times. She continues to hone her skills by watching gambling movies like “Tajja (The War of Flower)”, “21”, and “Rounders.” She also meets regularly with fellow casino experts in Las Vegas and Macau to swap information on new tricks and blacklisted gamblers.

Anybody know this Tajja movie? Sounds interesting. However if it is anything like Rounders or 21 on showing cheats, I am not sure. Personally I recommend Yonkers Joe to her, but then there are NO FREAKING CRAPS TABLES IN KOREA. Sorry had to get that off my chest.

Meanwhile, it’s too bad she is not running the security for those above her.

Epic Games Coming to Korea

Epic Games — the developer of “Gears of War” and Unreal engine — is opening a subsidiary in Korea.

This is nice, I guess. I liked “Gears of War” — normally, I prefer shooters with human enemies from countries I both know and dislike, but the graphics were good and the chainsaw bayonet was pretty fun to use (even if my wife wasn’t so keen on it).

Bioshock 2 Preview: The Big Daddy Cometh

Oh, I’m giddy with anticipation.

The Dungeon Master is Dead

Yes, I know, there is still a stigma attached to Dungeons and Dragons, and to even post about it is to provide fodder for the Trolls (not the same as those in Dungeons and Dragons, but nonetheless as annoying) but so many of today’s popular computer games owe their existence to this man, Dave Arneson – the creator of Dungeons and Dragons.  I am sure that there are some of you who, while not having played the paper and dice version of the game have enjoyed it in other forms such as Lineage and WOW, will fondly remember your days as a geek (some of us are still stuck in that mode) as you read over this obituary of the great Dungeon Master.

“We Must Match Nintendo!”

LMB has laid down the gauntlet.  Last month, South Korea’s Maximum Leader president lamented that Korea does not have ingenious (or “indigenous”) products like the Wii or the PSP. 

A saddened LMB was reported to have said:

A lot of our elementary school children have Nintendo game machines. Why can’t our companies develop products like that?

Nevermind that Japanese companies like Nintendo have been at it since Space Invaders in 1980 or that the onerous costs of developing, marketing and manufacturing complex game consoles like the PS3 has literally been like an albatross around Sony’s neck.  However, thus saith LMB, so thus it shall be done

Earlier this week the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced a partnership with a local electronics makers to form GamePark Holdings to try and match the Japanese prowess in game consoles. 

 From the KT

However, Korean gaming experts are stratching their heads.  Korea already has some pretty good gaming software companies such as NCSoft, which are not getting any government support.  An unnamed mobile games developer added:

Talking about Nintendo is out of touch, when you consider that the local software market is virtually on life-support. Piracy and lack of quality personnel has killed the vibrancy of the Korean software market, and I wonder whether the government has ever been serious about fostering the country’s software industry. It’s telling that most of the computers at government agencies rely on pirated software.

Another exec also slammed Lee’s government:

You don’t have the right to be daydreaming about Nintendo, when Korean online game firms, which are actually doing well overseas, feel they could do better if the government wasn’t biting at their ankles.  (Emphasis Mine)

Korea’s rather forceful mix of government mandated development has worked for cars, ships and consumer electronics, but one can’t help but wonder if the drive to create a Korean Nintendo is just a big waste of time, money and energy that can best be used elsewhere.

Nintendo Criticizes Korea for Piracy, Asks US for Help

The Segye Ilbo reports that Nintendo, in a report to the US Trade Representative, has listed Korea as one of several countries where software piracy is rampant.

Read more here.

Football champs

Congratulations to Shaun Driver, owner of the Gangnam Georiae Namjas for winning the Insular Korean Kluster Football League’s Hines Ward Trophy. The IKKFL is the semi-official fantasy football league of the Marmot’s Hole.

This is the second time in three seasons that Gangnam has won the Goguryeo Division but the first time they have gone all the way to the league championship.

Oh, and congratulations to the Pittsburg Steelers for winning that other league championship. Apparently, one of the best Super Bowls ever was being played while I slept. I guess it really is time to move back to the States.

Fun with Statistics – Seven Out

The Korea Times today has a puff piece about Grand Korea Leisure (GKL). The Times credulously prints some statistics for 2007 about GKL and the Korean Gaming industry as a whole. Statistics that really show the opposite of the confident face the Times paints for GKL:

The 16 foreigner-only casinos made a combined 612 billion won in revenue in 2007, according to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), with the three Seven Luck casinos accounting for about 47 percent of the amount…

523,722 customers who gathered at the Seven Luck casino at Millennium Seoul Hilton…Oakwood gathered a total of 220,866 customers last year...132,150 plus customers to visit[ed] the Seven Luck casino in Busan Lotte last year, according to GKL officials.

You crank the numbers on that you will get a figure of about W328,000 for each visitor to GKL casinos. Now compare with this from the article:

According to the KTO, Korean casinos garnered more than 1.17 million foreign customers in 2007 who spent some $660 million. The average guest spent $504, up from $461 in 2006. Casinos generated about 11.5 percent of all tourist revenue in 2005, the KTO said, up from 5.5 percent in 2002.

First lets be fair with the exchange rate here. I think its logical to assume the W612 billion and the $660 million are the same figure for 2007. This works out to an exchange rate used in this accounting of W927 per US$ (ah…the good old days). This means the average GKL player spent W139,000 less than the average consumer cited by the KTO.

Some more interesting data comes later.

GKL is targeting revenue of 380 billion won in 2009, seeking to widen its currently narrow lead over Paradise, and lure about 857,000 customers at the three Seven Luck casinos.

This works out to W445,407 per player, still less than the 2007 “average” figure of W467,208 (in 2007 terms). Yet, this is supposed to be “leading” Paradise.

There could be a few reasons for this seeming inconsistency. These two competitors could actually be at the bottom of the barrel of Korean casino companies. More likely is the methodology used by GKL to count a player is different than the KTO (e.g. GKL counts anyone, KTO counts only those who bet). Or perhaps more simply, the paper botched their descriptions of the statistics. Then of course there are other things…

(American) Football news in Korea

Item #1: The Korean American Football Association (no hyphen) seems to have picked up some steam since I played with them a few years back.

First, they are playing on grass now.

Second, they are getting a little bit of media coverage now, such as this article in the KT. I even saw a game on TV! Of course it was on one of the “action sports” channels at about 1:00, but it is still TV.

The Kimchi Bowl, between the college and “old boy” league champs, is going to be played on January 11.

The KAFA still has a long way to go to catch up with its Japanese counterpart, especially in some areas, but progress certainly has been made.

Item #2: Here are the final regular season standings in the IKKFL fantasy football league:

SHILLA
1 Ansan Blue Poo 9-5
2 Busan Power’s Out 7-7
3 Wonju Mad Cows 6-8
4 Naeri Ninjas 3-10-1
BAEKCHE
1 Anyang Andres 11-3
2 BuPyeong Silverbacks 9-5
3 Ewha Wangjabyungs 6-8
4 Myeonghak Olympians 5-9
GOGURYEO
1 Gangnam Georiae Namjas 9-4-1
2 Uijeongbu Asault 6-7-1
3 Itaewon Sweet Life 6-8
4 Oh Roh Gi Boong Oh Baang 5-8-1

(The IKKFL is the semi-official fantasy league of the Marmot’s Hole, featuring teams owned by two MH writers and several regular commenters.)

The mighty Blue Poo (owned by yours truly) won the Shilla Division and made the playoffs for the first time in the IKKFL’s three seasons. I am sure the people of Ansan are proud.

The IKKFL championship game is in three weeks.

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