Hey, that's where the console games are!
September 20, 2015

I've been in Korea since May, and apart from seeing one pretty decked out PlayStation Store in Busan, I haven't really seen a lot of console game stuff. Sure, the big retailers have PS4s and a small selection of games, but it just isn't like what I'm used to. That's why I was pleasantly surprised today when I found several small shops selling used and new consoles and systems in Gwangju, the city in which I live.

I was in a shopping complex called Kumho World, which had electronics ranging from VCRs and Laser Disc players to the latest high end graphics cards and cell phones all spread out across several vendors. Many of these vendors were selling console games. The PlayStation family seemed very popular, even Vita was well represented and quite a few PSP games lined the shelves. I'm not sure how localization works for these (almost exclusively Japanese) games. The covers had their titles translated into Korean, but are the games dubbed or subbed? Or is the market so small that most releases stay in Japanese? Or, would they use the Western version since English is so common here? I'm not sure, but I think I'll pick up a cheap PS3 game to find out next time. There were a few 3DS games and used systems, but I didn't spot anything from Xbox.

In general people here heavily favor PC and mobile games. Kumho World had twice as many gamer oriented PC shops as console sellers. PC bangs (rooms where you rent time to play on PCs) are everywhere, and I really, really need to go to one. Despite playing plenty of Steam games now, I still usually use a controller and play mostly single player, which has held me back from going. However, I'm fairly interested in Black Desert Online (검은사막), despite having never played an MMO in my life. It could be a great way to jump into the language more as well. All of this is an optimistic way of saying that I want to play a game I can't possibly understand and do it in public with strangers who I also won't understand. Hopefully the experience won't be such that I crawl back into my single player console cave never to be seen again. (“At least you'll never laugh at me, 90s Lara!”*adjusts glasses*)

I've seen a lot of kids playing cell phone games, which you would find anywhere of course, but I've seen quite a few playing 3D FPSs that look maddening to control on a touchscreen. Samsung and LG dominate the market here, and most of the phones are huge, but even that isn't enough to convince me that virtual analog sticks will ever work. They just gross me out.

There are a few decent arcades around, but nothing really remarkable. Fighting games seem to be really big at the arcades I went to, with many multiples of the same machines setup for local and (I think) network play.

Anyway, if I can convince someone to come with me I'll hopefully come back with a report on the PC bang experience and maybe a mini review of Black Desert. Because, of course, everybody wants to read someone's thoughts on a game they played in a foreign language in a genre they have no experience with on a platform they rarely use. Right?

I haven't given up my play through of the Tomb Raider titles, but as soon as I started making serious headway in TR4 again MGSV dropped and I got distracted. I'm mostly through with that game, and I may review it here. However, since there are two great reviews already up on the site, I might skip it. We'll see. Either way I will finish TR4, which is actually a darn good game, and one of the ones I missed when it came out. It's also quite longer than previous games, despite being considerably easier than the overly difficult TR3. After that, I'll move onto Tomb Raider: Chronicles. I hunted down a PS1 disc of the game before I left and brought it with me, so I won't have to resort to PC versions until I get to The Angel of Darkness.

Stay awesome honest gamers. I'm not as active as I could be, but I still visit every day!

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honestgamer honestgamer - September 20, 2015 (11:50 AM)
It's good to see you post, Jeremy, and your report on life in Korea was very interesting. I hope more of them will follow, and I hope you wind up enjoying the MMO. It's neat to have unusual experiences like that!

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