Monday, July 16, 2007

One life: Korean online gaming

Today, Jun Sok Huhh at shares a translated cartoon with us regarding a humorous and sarcastic look at online gaming in Korea.

The entry, titled, "That's OK. We have another life in the game!" addresses the 1997 financial crisis in South Korea and its impact on middle-aged office workers in Korea.
From what I see, the cartoon shows an executive wondering where one of his recently ousted underlings has gone, while showing satisfaction at having gotten rid of that worker. To his chagrin, he finds the worker at a computer working hard and seemingly occupying a high post in the MMORPG Lineage.

The significance, as Huhh and the cartoon allude to, is the financial crisis acting as a catalyst in the widespread uptake of online gaming. In Malcom Gladwell's terms, it served as the 'tipping point' that created the critical mass needed to vault online gaming into mainstream Korean culture. Coincidentally, one of my journal papers (currently in process) reports that the situation is also the culmination of a number of government-led initiatives that have wired the country with broadband Internet and subsequent promotion of the games industry.

The gaming 'revolution' in Korea was brought about by many externalities. This cartoon is a good thought-piece on just one of them.

As I said in a past Terra Nova entry, "it's not a first life or second life, but one life." Everything we do, online or offline, is intersubjectively linked with our identity as ourSelves.

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Blogger Tien H. Nguyen said...

Hi Florence,

It's an interesting thought you presented in this post. My hypothesis before getting here was that Korean entertainment industry got hit badly during the crisis. Why do you think are the reasons the online games got so popular during the period, except some of the facts that the cartoon illustrated?



6:32 AM  

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