Monday, October 09, 2006

 

All Kinds of Sports In The World

Korea has been in the news as of late because of you know what! But I'm not going to go there with this posting. I am going to comment on a fascinating article about South Korea I read in the New York Times online titled, "The Land of the Video Geek."

Six paragraphs down, it is written, "All in all it was a typical night in South Korea, a country of almost 50 million people and home to the world's most advanced video game culture. Where more than 20,000 public PC gaming rooms, or "bangs", attract more than a million people a day. Where competitive gaming is one of the top televised sports." At the end of this startling paragraph from a revelatory article, it is written, "The finals of top StarCraft tournaments are held in stadiums, with tens of thousands of fans in attendance."

Reading this article, I suddenly felt as if Maui was the backwater of the universe. We have a sprinkling of gaming places on this island, but certainly not anywhere near even one of these gaming rooms. Our sports are surfing, windsurfing, volleyball, paddling, golfing, tennis and other outdoor sports. We're as different as night and day to the South Koreans in this sporting respect. I became very curious about this gaming culture and marveled at the differences in our worlds.

Why does South Korea have two full-time video game television networks? Reading this article, I see that South Korea is one of the most wired societies in the world. The United States has only 16.8 broadband subscriptions per 100 residents compared to South Korea's 25.4. What is going on with this gaming biz I asked myself, so I decided to do a bit of online research out of curiosity. I remember what my computer tech had told me sometime back when he said that it was the gaming business and pornography that had driven the changes in the computer industry.

Since I've never been into gaming, I thought I'd investigate this world-wide phenomena of gaming and attempt to determine why it's so popular, especially in South Korea. Is it because the South Koreans don't have the beautiful outdoors as we do in the Islands and thus have out of necessity coped with indoor games? Or is it social pressure, culture, and a different mentality which incline them to gaming? Why haven't gaming fever and gaming rooms caught on over here in the Islands where we have many Koreans as well as other Orientals? Maybe it has, and this hasn't made the mainstream news yet.

And what is this science fiction strategy game StarCraft? According to the Wikipedia source, this is a game that's been around for a while (1998) and has devotees all over the world battling for control over the fate of the galaxy. There are a lot of "others" battling for control these days, not only in the gaming world. Has this urge/obsession to control been duplicated in the virtual gaming world?

I never realized how influential and gigantic the gaming industry was until I did my research. So many games. So many players. So much money being made. Here are a few links I found for those that don't want to purchase their games. Apparently, they are available for free at these locations: Videogame and here at LifeHacker.

Most likely you will have to purchase StarCraft or join a friend who already has one since it's one of the more popular games. As for me, I'll stick to outdoor sports...and play just one video game here and there to satisfy my curiosity and see what I might be missing. Or not!

Technorati Tags:, gaming,,


Comments:
I'm a Starcraft player...but I can't understand the obsession that South Koreans have with this game, either.

Anyhoo, if you want to check out a 5 minute videoclip of a Korean tournament (and I'd understand if you didn't), check out http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6648934043675888354&q=korean+starcraft

Bubba
 
Thank you for making me want to chuck my computer and leave for the islands immediately. Frankfurt is going to be wet, grey and cold until April and I have to survive it!
Kate at http://www.babylune.com
 
Well I think gamers are slow to coming to Maui since there is so much beauty outside. Why would choose gaming all day when you have the ocean? I do not think Maui is backwards on the gaming it is just a choice and most choose surfing because they can!... :)

Interesting blog....thanks!
 
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