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Taking Games Seriously In Korea

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the what's-my-motivation dept.

Games 166

elph writes: "Seems like some kids in Korea have been taking an online role playing game, Lineage: Blood Pledge a little too seriously ... You can check out the CNN.com article here. Ban the RPGs! They cause kids to kill eachother! Evil! Satan!" The article paints Korean society with a fairly broad brush, but the numbers are still astonishing -- imagine if 5% of all Americans all played the same online game, for instance.

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Re:eyewitness report (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#177348)

The youth there seem to need more of an outlet, an escape from reality, than the people I know here in California.

Of course, it could be argued that California is an escape from reality.

Re:Same old same old (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#177349)

Goldeneye is also very frustrating to play, just because the controls suck ass. I'm sure this contributes to fistfights as well.

Re:So, um, (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#177351)

You can download it at http://www.lineagethebloodpledge.com It's about 170 megs if I remember correctly. You get a 5 day free account, after that you have to pay for it. There's 2 US servers, but the population seems to be a pretty thorough mix of Korean, Japanese, European, and American players, judging by the languages being spoken and the way a lot of people speak English...

I was a Lineage Junkie (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#177352)

I just quit my Lineage habbit 2 weeks ago after playing the game for about 6 months.

It is one of the most hostile and unenjoyable games I have ever played in my life. They have a server in Cali which went commercial about a month ago. First of all, 50% of the players on the US server are Koreans who live in the US and Canada. This would be ok except that there is incredible hostility between US and Korean players. This hostility leads to more racism than a Klu Klux Klan convention. I never imagined that kids could be so incredibly racist, and this goes on ALL DAY on global chat. Some of my friends have recieved death threats from other players.

For anyone considering paying for this game be warned: NCsoft does not reply to emails. I sent an email concerning my account payment to them 2 months ago with no reply. My friends have had similar results. This is incredibly frustrating since they charge us $15 a month, which is kind of high compared to the competition. During the beta test we basically got screwed by NCsoft. There were absolutely no gamemasters. NC refused to reply to email. Simple bugs like korean text that had not been converted to english were left unfixed for MONTHS. Then we discovered that all testing was being done in korea. The graphics in the game look ok but are very choppy even on very fast machines.

Gameplay: this game is very frustrating. If you can handle the constant hostility and racisim on a daily basis, you wil discover that the gameplay sucks. Fighting consists of pointing and clicking with the mouse and then just waiting around to see which player dies first. There is absolutely NO strategy of any kind. When 2 players duel the player with the highest HP or the strongest weapon (of which there is a very limited selection. Almost every knight uses the same sword: the katana) or the most money to spend on potions wins. There is a pet system where you can train dogs to help you but this has caused me more grief than anything else. Imagine spending an entire month to lvl a dog to level 30, to only have it DIE when your isp disconected you. If you get disconected before you can kennel your dogs OTHER PLAYERS WILL KILL THEM. I have friends who have lost months of work because of this. Also dogs have completely destroyed any teamplay in the game. Lineage is just a game of 1 man and his army of dogs. I hear that they will fix this in the next update due this month though by limiting the number of dogs a player can have.

The classes are limited and unenjoyable. Knight, Elf, Mage and Prince. The mage class has had a serious bug FOR OVER 2 MONTHS NOW and NCsoft will not even admit it exists. The bug is that when a mage levels up they are getting VERY low MP gain per level. Everybody in the game knows about it and NC does nothing. Also there are hardly any spells for the mage class, and the higher level spells cost an arm and 2 legs. Also there is NO way regen Magic Power. there are no MP potions. If your mage runs out of MP be prepared to sit in town for half an hour doing nothing while you wait for it to regen.

Sorry that this turned into a rant, but I truly hate this game now and I could not help myself. Be warned. This game is not worth your $15

Re:offline PK (4)

Russ Steffen (263) | more than 12 years ago | (#177353)

who'll scoop this phrase first- Rudy Rucker or Bruce Sterling?

Unfortunately, it will probably be Jon Katz.

Re:imagine if 5% of all Americans all played the s (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 12 years ago | (#177354)

Please tell me you're joking. About 13,000 people are playing CS a any given time- that's so small a percentage of America (250 million) that my calculator watch can't even display it.

Re:blah (1)

pod (1103) | more than 12 years ago | (#177356)

[ God damnit, I had this reply all nicely written up and previewed and fricking Mozilla crashed!! It can be such a pain in the ass sometimes! Argh!!! Alright, I'm ok now ... ;) ]

First of all, I don't know why the /. write up says CNN, the article is on Time.

Second, I don't think the article is offensive, or portraying Asians (or Koreans specifically) in a bad light. Replace Korea with Poland and I wouldn't mind a bit. There are dumbasses among the people of every nation, just deal with it.

What is bad about the article is that it makes it seem like all Lineage players are like that. Indeed, by extension it makes it seem like all online players are like that. There will always be a subset of players that take their games very seriously, and will take online world grievances offline. Many people in the US play Diablo and EverCrack, but geographical realities of the US mean you can't just call up your clan members and go to the cyber cafe across the street and pummel someone for killing your character.

We've all seen stories like this before about other games and people in other countries, in fact a quick search on Time's own site will reveal this article [time.com] . Take with a big grain of salt and an agenda.


Re:Behold the blind eye of US journalism (2)

K-Man (4117) | more than 12 years ago | (#177358)

Also, if you meet a Korean person, you'll often be asked your age. This question arises due to the necessity of fitting each person into the Confucian hierarchy.

Other languages also reflect social structure, but Confucius formalized these tendencies, and the language has more terms describing social and family relationships. For instance, "aunt" is broken into "aunt on the father's side" (como) and "aunt on the mother's side" (yimo). It gets complicated, but most cultures have some traces of this practice.

There's also a polite informal tense which gets around much of the status-checking.

Re:Same old same old (1)

gotroot801 (7857) | more than 12 years ago | (#177363)

And if you want to relive those days, telnet to operagost.com - the only known GALTRADER server in the Universe.

Of course, fistfights with fellow UB alumns aren't as easy as those carefree days when everyone was in Baldy or Bell...

Re:Gangsters Online (1)

Brian See (11276) | more than 12 years ago | (#177364)

So why haven't we see Tony Soprano playing his half-elf warrior on HBO?

Half-elf? Naah. Tony Soprano wouldn't play a pansy half-elf. Half-ORC, maybe. Or maybe even a dwarf.

I think if Tony Soprano were a demi-human, he'd be a troll -- from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, not the regenerating killed-only-with-acid-or-fire AD&D trolls.

Which raises yet another frightening image. Tony Soprano as a /. troll. Yikes.

Yup, them crazy Lineage players... (2)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 12 years ago | (#177365)

see the discussion already in progress at Lum the Mad's [lumthemad.net] website.

And to add to the on-topic discussion: it's interesting to see what can happen when the majority of 'net users don't actually own their machines but rent them by the hour at the cafes. Get your character ganked 'cross-country, can't do a thing. Sitting next to the guy, or a few blocks away? Maybe you'll rough him up.

Re:Same old same old (1)

verch (12834) | more than 12 years ago | (#177367)

Wow, this brings back memories. All night nettrek in the graphics lab at Bell. Its been too long since I killed some twinks.

Re:Things like this pervade many asian societies (1)

fdicostanzo (14394) | more than 12 years ago | (#177369)

> In general, going online in any form, especially gaming, is usually considered for Geeks in the US

i'd always thought this was true buy i met so many "non-traditional" players in asheron's call that i changed my mind. i played with carpenters from canada and female lawyers in massachusetts. i was one of the youngest players in my group at 30. reading about the baseball players and EQ proves the point. hell, even my mother plays nintendo (don't you talk sh*t about my mother! :)

computer gaming, even online gaming, is no longer just for geeky males. (like me)

Re:Same old same old (1)

icepick (17241) | more than 12 years ago | (#177371)

The thing your missing here is the SCALE. Who knew that a culture would take to expressing their desires thru a game, thus making the game so important.

I know we have baseball players knocking homeruns in the name of their EverQuest characters, but I don't think we have the Mob trying to get Sony to give them some virtural weapons.


Re:Same old same old (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 12 years ago | (#177375)

In my experience, the game that has prompted the most fist fights is Goldeneye for N64. When one drunken frat boy keeps shooting rockets at another drunken frat boy that can't get to a decent weapon, controllers get dropped and punches get thrown.

As another poster mentioned, Super Smash Brothers is a good fight starter. When one person feels like they're being picked on by two or three people, wrestling often ensues.


Same old same old (5)

majcher (26219) | more than 12 years ago | (#177376)

This is nothing new. When I was going to college in Buffalo, NY, ten years ago or so, we had the usual gang of misfits and slackers who would stay up all night in the computer labs playing MONSTER (a text MUD-type game) or GALTRADER (a variation of the space-trading game Elite, also curses-based) on the VAX cluster. Physical violence, in the form of fistfights and sucker punches, erupted more than once as the result of player-on-player violence in the game. "Clans" or gangs were formed, protection, yadda yadda yadda. Only thing that's different now is the graphics are better - the people are still pretty much the same.

Re:Good. (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 12 years ago | (#177377)

Good - kicking a PK'ers ass in the bathroom.

Bad - Screaming "I am l33t h4x0r!" and trying to cast spells at aforementioned PK'er

what you call "bad", i just call someone with poor social skills. that is WAY better than than kicking someone's ass in real life. Giving physical beatings to avenge an online act is just an inability to control your own anger. You might as well endorse kicking someone's ass for cutting you off on the highway.

Posting from ignorance. (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 12 years ago | (#177378)

If you haven't actually been to Korea, if you haven't lived there for at least a year, if you don't speak Korean (knowing "annyoung" don't count),

Then DON'T pretend to be able to comment on the society.

Amazing how many instant (insert country here) experts pop up whenever one of these stories happens.

They already do (5)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | more than 12 years ago | (#177380)

imagine if 5% of all Americans all played the same online game, for instance.

They already do. It's called AOL.


Damn... (3)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#177382)

And I thought *I* had no life....

I found the comment about "off line PK's" humorously ironic though. :)

And the bit about sexual favors for in game items... Someone doesn't have their priorities straight, I don't think.


Re:games addictive? no... (5)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#177383)

Ok.. here's how I see it.

I was, more or less, addicted to Ultima Online for about the first 6 months after its release. I played it a MINIMUM of 8 hours a day on weekdays, frequently up til 2 in the morning, having to be at work by 8, this was a bit of a challenge. I would also try to sneak in some play time at work if I wasn't being watched. And once I got home, UO is all I did until I went to sleep.

On weekends, it was wake up, UO until I couldn't stay up anymore, then sleep. Thats it. that was my life. Nothing else.

I would wake up thinking of nothing else, I would spend any waking moment that I wasn't on the machine thinking about it. I wrote extensive documents logging activities, trying to come up with new strategies against my foes in the game, researching the online sites about the game, etc.

Every time they put in a patch, I was disgruntled. BIG TIME. Because every patch meant I had to completely change the way I played the game. Figure that if every 3 weeks you had to move, completely change your diet, change to a new job, and take a pay cut at the same time. After a while, this would get extremely annoying. Thats to some extent what it felt like playing the game after a while.

Server crashes caused a great deal of frustration. That just meant I lost time. Imagine waking up one day, working hard for 14 hours straight, then right before you go to sleep at the end of the night, Everything gets wiped out so you are back where you started at the beginning of the day, the entire day wasted. In UO, this was typical.

Add in to that, I had a bad internet connection that would drop frequently, and always at the most inopportune times, so I died many more times than I should have. Travesty of the greatest, I can assure you.

However, while this game might have been an addiction, it was by no means a dependancy. One day in Feb '98, I was at work thinking about UO, like I usually did, and read a newsgroup post about some hot topic, and I wrote a lenghty reply. I'm not sure exactly what the topic was about, but I got off on a few rants and a tangent and by the time I was done writing it, I had decided to quit playing. I went online that night, gave away all my online stuff, shut it down and never played it again.

And the weird thing is, I never WANTED to play it again. I had no desire whatsoever to play it. I quit thinking about it, I actually accomplished other things, slowly gained a grip on a life again. Never looked back.

And the way I see it, it was like an annoying hobby, one you somehow feel you must participate in, but you never really want to. I can't imagine how I began to feel that way about the game, but by the time it was all over, I never wanted to do it again. Since that time I have hardly played any online games, in fact, I've hardly played any games at all. There was a brief stint with starcraft after I quit UO, but at least with that game, after playing it for 2 hours, I was bored with it and quit for a while. Games could actually be completed (won or lost) and that closure allowed me to go on and do other things, whereas with UO, it never ends. And until it ends, you don't want to stop playing.

I can't say from a marketing standpoint that this wasn't effective. People who had never played an Ultima game played UO. People who had never played ANY computer games were playing it. Scary.


Is it pure role playing anymore? (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 12 years ago | (#177384)

If it wasn't this, it would just be something else. If you want to stop violence or whatever other problems any activity creates, you either eliminate the need for people to express themselves that way, or your run a police state. Take your pick. Sometimes both options are pretty similar.

I think your last sentence is pretty much on the mark. People aren't going to stop occaisionally punching each others' lights out, so I guess our options really are: (a) live in a police state, or (b) tolerate violent outbursts now and then. (can you tell I'm an American?)

I think the more interesting question the article raises is not whether online RPGs lead to crime and hooliganism, but whether they are bluring the distinction between the real and virtual world. I used to be an avid RPG player, but I haven't done played for many years. These massive on-line games have piqued my curiosity, because they are at once similar to, but very different from what we used to do.

In the old days, you played in the same room with your friends. It was a cooperative venture, because everyone was there to enhance the game of everyone else -- otherwise you don't get invited back. "Evil" characters were operated by essentially friendly players who were out to enhance the game. The universe of players is very limited, and player game and real behavior is very tightly, if implicitly, controlled.

Online RPGS are broader, more anonymous environments where people (other than clan members) only experience you through your character and anyone can join. Is it really role playing anymore, or perhaps, to some degree, you are what you play? I wonder if it actually posisble to act evilly in an online RPG, as opposed to just playing an evil character? Evil behavior would be playing in a way designed to spoil the experience of other players -- to cause suffering, not of the character but of the player behind him. I think it is even a more interesting question if we leave the question of real world fraud and hooliganism out.

Also, as these games become a larger phenomenon, I definitely see the lines between role playing behavior and "real life" behavior blurring. You can already see that with the cited examples of economic integration of the RPG world with the real world (including various forms of crime). The idea of people gathering in the virtual world to petition the government (the game operator) for justice is a striking thing.

add uncomfortable electric shocks... (1)

Chief Justice (34533) | more than 12 years ago | (#177385)

every time the player takes some damage. See if that makes this any worse?

Hmm, I wonder.

Re:They already do (2)

Skynet (37427) | more than 12 years ago | (#177388)

Actually, one of the first GMUDs was on America Online back in the 80s and early 90s. It was called Neverwinter Nights and was a modified gold box SSI D&D game. It was actually one of the better GMUDs I have played in my days and it's over a decade old.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

eyewitness report (5)

[amorphis] (45762) | more than 12 years ago | (#177391)

I was in Seoul recently (this past week) It was interesting to see how much differently computer games pervade society. There are posters everywhere for Lineage, various Blizzard games, and Tribes 2. There are little PC cafes tucked into seemingly every street corner.

I spent a couple afternoons in one of those playing Starcraft with some Korean friends. I beat them down, but they took it good naturedly. The youth there seem to need more of an outlet, an escape from reality, than the people I know here in California.

Reality is scarier than fiction. (1)

Kazir (48851) | more than 12 years ago | (#177392)

Okay, so over the last X years I've seen some pretty strange stuff that mirrors things that which you can find in any cyberpunk book. But this truly takes the cake, blowing all others away. I'd expect something like this in a book or in Shadowrun, not in reality.

Reality is scarier than fiction.

Articles: Taking Slashdot Seriously in America (1)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 12 years ago | (#177393)

Today a local, self-branded "Geek News site" proved itself to be nothing but a hybrid anarchist/communist site with the opinion that no geek, no matter how bad the crime, should be punished.

This conclusion was drawn after numerous articles in favor of, even in some cases actively encouraging, breaking the law because it is "unfair", instead of putting their full force behind due process, and attempting to get the law changed.

One slashdot user, using the free-for-all "Anonymous Coward", which was chosen due to possible retaliation from the slashdot hivemind, was quoted as follows: "Imagine if every user of slashdot who used napster to, erm, "borrow music" were to write, call, fax, or e-mail their congressman and write a good, concise, to the point memo about why they should be allowed to download music without paying for it.. *GASP!* they might have to THINK!"

Rob Malda of Slashdot could not be reached for comment. However, -1 of 0, Primary adjunct of Unimatrix 1337 was quick to mod this article down to (-$bignumber, Anti-Slashdot)

(Its only flamebait if you steal, Its only trolling if you arent thinking.)

Re:Articles: Taking Slashdot Seriously in America (2)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 12 years ago | (#177394)

I wasn't looking, per say.. Normally you dont have to look for something that sticks out like an unexpected redirect to goatsyouknowwhere

Slashdot stories are becoming more of the same. The range of topics seem to usually be under one of the following headings -

"Linux zealot gets arrested"
"Linux hater gets his due"
"Capitalism BAD - Napster.. GOOOOOOOOOOD!"
"John Katz's Overanalytical movie review corner"
"All OS's but Linux Suck"
"Linus Torivalds drinks a beer/takes a piss/gets some"
"[insert microsoft product] Beta Software has bugs"
"The price of tea in china, and what it has to do with the columbine incident"
"Stealing Music & Movies - Why we should be allowed to do it" or, rather "Capitalism - We just don't get it".

In addition, It seems that the moderation system here seems to work like so:

Pro linux/oss post, >4K = +5
Same, >2K = +3
Any post over 5K that uses big words = +5, insightful
Any post that has a writer who is articulate, however makes no sense - +4
any anti-linux post: -1

One more thing:
"Linux kicks ass!" +5, Insightful
"Windows is actually a decent operating system, with strengths and weaknesses all is own" -1, {Flamebait, Troll, Redudant}

It's all about the game (3)

joq (63625) | more than 12 years ago | (#177396)

"authorities were deluged with complaints from Lineage gamers-tells of a 14-year-old runaway"
"A number of the 16-year-old's gang sport the close-cropped haircuts"

Blame the game makers, movie makers, music makers, blame em all. However don't you dare say a fscking thing about the good parents who teach kids right from wrong.

Don't talk about the types of families these kids are coming from because that's just downright insulting of any media outlet. You wouldn't want to read a farily written informative article now would you? Shame on you

Look when game makers, movie makers, etc., do their thing, they aren't in their right minds. We need more Disney to teach kids morals, not some more violent material from these scumbag corporations flooding the market and forcing our kids to be killers, thugs, etc.

For crying out loud we're parents, and we don't need the task of teaching kids right from wrong, morals and ethics. Thats the job of others god damnit.

Re:Behold the blind eye of US journalism (1)

ReconRich (64368) | more than 12 years ago | (#177397)

What, you mean, like calling people "mister/missus" or "sir/ma'am"?

Uh, no. The languages has a special sentential case reserved for speaking to elders/persons of higher status. There is also a case for speaking to someone of Lower status. The content of the sentence is identical each form, however, it is impossible to have a conversation in Korean without carefully delineating each speakers social status relative to the others. This is a considerable stretch from sir/ma'am and is indicative of the extremely high value Koreans put not only on social structure, but on one's awareness of that structure.

-- Rich

Re:games addictive? no... (1)

juzam (68440) | more than 12 years ago | (#177399)

Seems like a valid point, both video games and drugs being little "escapes" from facing reality. I don't play videogames very avidly, but quite a few people I know do; my brother will tell me he simply _has_ to get on the computer, then procede to just play QuakeIII.

It does get addictive, just like D&D, just like coffee, just like obsesivly clicking the gnome-fish looking for bits of wisdom.
And just a little bit like drugs.

I've no objection to games at all; I even play them sometimes. But to spend you're entire summer vacation playing Evercrack, as a certain friend of mine is doing, this is when it becomes a problem, n'est pas?

Re:Same old same old (5)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 12 years ago | (#177401)

"Clans" or gangs were formed, protection, yadda yadda yadda.

Just the types of games have changed.

I can not count the number of fights I've seen over SPORTS.

I'm sure there is no evidence to support this claim, but I'd be willing to bet that Football causes more violence in today's society in a single year than Video Games have ever caused in 20.

The fact is -- Sports IS Violence and people love it. They love it so much, in fact, that a good chunk of the VIDEO GAME MARKET is based on the sports market.

They better not ban Video Games without first taking out the real culprit.

The Titans made Nashville traffic even worse. Video games never got me in a traffic jam.

"Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"

Re:games addictive? no... (1)

Golgofrinchian (74415) | more than 12 years ago | (#177402)

Well I can agree, I did exactly the same thing with UO, gave up and followed suit with EQ. I recently logged back into EQ after not playing for 6 Months ( I was a beta tester for both). And it didnt even interest me in the slightest. Since quitting EQ I have a very serious girlfriend, and I bought a Sailboat to get away from reality for a bit (or maybe get back into reality) All I know is video games expecially MMORPG's can be addictive. Its a real addiction that caused me to quit one job so I could get unemplyment and play my character full time to get some arbitrary level that just didnt matter. Amen

Re:games addictive? no... (2)

Notorious Coward (78377) | more than 12 years ago | (#177404)


Heroin is usually administered with a needle.
Video games aren't
Heroin is an autonomic system depressant.
Video games aren't
Heroin releases massive amounts of dopamine.
Video games don't
An excessive usage pattern of heroin administration will lead to withdrawl symptoms when the supply is severed.
Video games *aren't* physically addictive
Video games *are* safe to use without a physician's presence
Video games *do not* present a high potential for abuse.

The only criteria I can see for scheduling video games is that they have no currently accepted medical applications.

And by the way, if you read ahead of the current government propaganda, you can find plenty on non-scheduled alternatives.


Re:So, um, (1)

x24 (81159) | more than 12 years ago | (#177406)

the population seems to be a pretty thorough mix of Korean, Japanese, European, and American players, judging by the languages being spoken and the way a lot of people speak English...

Like the way people speak English on Slashdot?

blah (2)

emufreak (83564) | more than 12 years ago | (#177408)

The article is written in such a manner that it seems as if a similar type of thing doesn't happen here in America. What about the people who get addicted to EverQuest and destroy their social lives by never leaving their room?

As everyone here knows... (4)

MillMan (85400) | more than 12 years ago | (#177410)

If it wasn't this, it would just be something else. If you want to stop violence or whatever other problems any activity creates, you either eliminate the need for people to express themselves that way, or your run a police state. Take your pick. Sometimes both options are pretty similar.

I didn't get the impression that time.com was against the online game, but still.

Codeine pills? You can buy 'em in Canada... (1)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 12 years ago | (#177411)

...but not in the US.
Efficacy and addiction are inevitably debatable topics. At any rate, you name a drug, it was legal in the US at one time or another. Cocaine in Coca-Cola, lithium in 7-Up, marijuana, GHB (it's in all of us), LSD-25 (the CIA/FBI loves the stuff!), you name it.

Re:Damn! hope they won't close the server ;) (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 12 years ago | (#177412)

You obviously didn't read the article, nor did you read my response below.

A 21 year old was being arrogant about a kill he made in Lineage, and therefore the Korean mob tracked him down and beat the crap out of him! These are ADULTS!!

I also find in all societies age has nothing to do with maturity. Also this phenomenon in korea has nothing to do with maturity. Its cultural.

See this is what I was talking about before. In the states games and behavior like this are dismissed as juvenile or geeky. In Korea, its far more serious, and Lineage probably isn't the only thing this is evident in.

Wow good reply!! (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 12 years ago | (#177413)

I'm not a moderator but I might just become one to help you get a score of 5. You just provided the missing link to my article below.

Its all about PASTTIMES. How you spend your free time, your hobbies, pursuits, and how seriously you are involved in them. In Korea its online gaming. In Europe, its Soccer (Sorry I'm american ;)). In Canada, its usually Hockey. In America, its american sports.

Online gaming is a SPORT in Korea. Now take it into that context and try to expand it. You'll understand whats going on. It probably hasn't caught on in places like Japan because Japan's obsession is baseball. In the US its usually football, basketball (GO SIXERS!!!!!!!!!!), hockey, or baseball (in that order, with hockey and basketball probably getting about the same attention nationally).

Now these are broad strokes, as the posting points out, but in any culture we have those of us who are just obsessed with our sports. Korea didn't have the same kind of national sports or national pasttime that unites people for no reason other than the hope that their home team wins.

Now they have something... online gaming.

Things like this pervade many asian societies (5)

hellfire (86129) | more than 12 years ago | (#177414)

Okay, I'm a 26 white american male, of irish descent and I probably am pulling this out of my ass. However, I'd like to think I pay attention, know a bit about sociology, and watch too much Asian Cinema! :)

Things like games, animation, comics, games, etc in the United States are considered only for a "minority" of people. Even though there are millions and millions of copies of Diablo 2 sold (a game I frequent) I know no one in real life who plays Diablo 2 online other than myself. I know a few who played it on their personal machines, and then put it away and went on with life. I myself feel "different" with this respect.

In general, going online in any form, especially gaming, is usually considered for Geeks in the US, at least from the vibes I get. If there are people playing this game with me, they aren't talking except on web boards and email.

However, this isn't the case in Asia. The common example is Animation and Japan. For some reason, they see Animation as a very important part of their culture. People hold parades to look like their favorite anime characters in Japan! Anime is for all ages, as you can see by the wide selection of everything from the super sappy to the hard core violent and sexual scenes one can only see in "adult" anime.

I don't think I can really explain it, but its something to do with games, gadgets, technology, etc. Its just that stuff that is considered "geeky kiddie stuff" in the states, is revered in Asian cultures for all Ages.

It just so happens that in this case, its not very healthy. (as opposed to Anime Tentacle Porn which is very healthy! :))

I wonder if something like Slashdot would be considered mainstream in Korea? :)

imagine if 5% of all Americans all played the same (1)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 12 years ago | (#177415)

It's called counter-strike, thanks for asking.. its more like 10-20 percent right! ;)

Re:Broad? This is ridiculously wide... (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 12 years ago | (#177418)

Wow! A free trial account for 5 days. No wonder this game is a hit.

- Steeltoe

Re:blah (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 12 years ago | (#177419)

If you read the article, you would have seen it was about kids "leaving their room" to beat up other players they didn't like. Especially scammers and cheaters.

- Steeltoe

Re:Good. (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 12 years ago | (#177420)

So you condone physical beatings of cheating kids who have become way too immersed in online gaming. Kids that may get hold of a gun to get revenge in lack of physical strength and numbers? Don't think you quite thought that one out .-)

- Steeltoe

Richard Garriot / Destination Games (3)

Viking Coder (102287) | more than 12 years ago | (#177423)

As was mentioned in one of the articles about Richard Garriot (aka Lord British) a while back, Destination Games, his new company, is partnering with NCSoft to bring Lineage : The Blood Pledge to the US. Again. Another company tried once, but they didn't do a good job of supporting it, I gather.

Check out the review [avault.com] of Lineage : The Blood Pledge at The Adrenaline Vault.

From that article about the Garriot brothers:

The brothers also announced a partnership with NCsoft, the South Korean company that runs the world's largest subscriber-based online game, Lineage: The Blood Pledge.

The company has 2 million subscribers in South Korea alone; under the partnership, Lineage will be repackaged and relaunched in the United States this fall. Meanwhile, Lineage creator Jake Song will move to Austin to help develop games, which NCsoft will help launch in Asia.

Re:Same old same old (1)

Sidlon (103096) | more than 12 years ago | (#177424)

Just the types of games have changed.

Well, that and the sheer numbers of people playing them. 2 million gamers in a country of 46?!?

Re:Articles: Taking Slashdot Seriously in America (1)

festers (106163) | more than 12 years ago | (#177425)

Uh, when I re-read the article, the only thing Timothy said was:

The article paints Korean society with a fairly broad brush, but the numbers are still astonishing -- imagine if 5% of all Americans all played the same online game, for instance.

That's not even close to claiming "no geek should be punished." In fact, the person who submitted the story only said that the RPG shouldn't be blamed: they never said anything about punishing the people involved in the "urinal" altercation.

Did you even bother to "read" the writeup, or were you just looking for something to flame Slashdot about?


Re:Articles: Taking Slashdot Seriously in America (1)

festers (106163) | more than 12 years ago | (#177426)

heh, while you do a great job generalizing, I think it's a bit too reductionistic. And it's awfully cynical: Maybe you should take a break from /. for a while and gain new perspective ;)

(and I've seen quite a lot of "pro-windows" posts being modded up in the past 6months-1 year, so things may be changing as /. gets more and more popular.)


offline PK (4)

Argylengineotis (118734) | more than 12 years ago | (#177429)

So the S.Korean cops are calling real world violence stemming from in-game behavior "offline PK"... The only question after that is who'll scoop this phrase first- Rudy Rucker or Bruce Sterling? I can totally see a new cyber-pulp series wrapped around this one phrase. ;-)

Re:Broad? This is ridiculously wide... (3)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 12 years ago | (#177431)

The article characterizes all South Koreans as game-obsessed nutjobs, drawn into this fantasy as the product of some cultural flaw.

Actually, the article characterizes the South Koreans who are game-obsessed nutjobs as game obsessed nutjobs. It stays pretty solidly on-topic, and has very little to say about the 95% of South Koreans who are not game-obsessed nutjobs.

"Hey, somebody is saying that our national culture has some flaws! Oh no! How offensive! Everybody knows that only Americans have bad culture!"

about korea, lineage, gaming (2)

moojin (124799) | more than 12 years ago | (#177433)

it's difficult to find a place to start, so i'll just be as random as my thoughts come.

there are more than 10 million people living in seoul. if 5% of them play lineage that is at least 500,000 players, in a single urban area. it would be very easy to reach out and touch ("off line pk") somebody in such a densely populated area (in terms of lineage players). it only takes a few hours by train or car to get to the most southern part of korea (pusan, which happens to be the second largest city).

although my knowledge of korean society is just that of an observer, i know that each korean has a set of "seniors" and "juniors". relationships between juniors and seniors begin in school, clubs, churches, etc, in almost any type of activity. a person can call on his "juniors" to help him in a time of need. and a person can be called on by his "senior" to be helped, or can call on his "senior" to ask for his assistance. these relationships can be used for initimidation of others or defense from others outside the group. DO NOT THINK THIS IS THE ONLY REASON FOR THESE RELATIONSHIPS. they are more often used for financial assistance, help moving to a different apartment / house, drinking, doing the activity in which the relationship was formed, etc. i hypothesize that relatioinships formed in on online game in korea would work in the same manner. the stronger protect the weak within clans. the weak members in the clan band together to protect one another. the level of loyalty in these types of junior / senior relationships can get somewhat high.

korea is a very stressful place. workers work 5 and half days a week with tons of overtime. you could get "IMF'ed" (laid off) at any moment. school children (middle and high school) are the same. to get into a good college, you have to be in a good class (each grade consists of severl classes depending on your test scores). students are ranked from middle school, upto their final year in high school. this final year entails waking at 6am in the morning and studying from about 7am to past midnight. the students study for the college entrance exam. there is a high suicide rate amongst high school students in korea. this stressful society paves the way for people trying to escape, trying to be more than what they are, trying to live a life outside of their means in reality.

somebody else made a point that online gaming in korea is very popular. i would like to reinforce his statement. i went to korea very recently and was surprised when i found myself watching a game of starcraft on tv that was being commentated. i saw a show where people were flocking to get the autograph of a person who had just won a starcraft / other online game comptetition. (this was about two months ago when i visited korea.) i've read articles (submitted to slashdot and got rejected) where american and international net gaming "professionals" were moving to korea because there was more opponents to practice and more competitions for money (last year).

okay, i'll stop now. i just wanted to add a disclaimer that i'm an american born korean that lived in korea for one year. if there are any pure koreans that would like to comment on anything that i've said here, go ahead. i know i don't have a full understanding on how korean society functions. i'm just trying to fill in some background that the article may have left out.


Re:It's all about the game (1)

vanza (125693) | more than 12 years ago | (#177434)

Blame the game makers, movie makers, music makers, blame em all. However don't you dare say a fscking thing about the good parents who teach kids right from wrong.

Well, in a last and desperate attempt, we can always blame Canada.

(/me ducks)

Marcelo Vanzin

games addictive? no... (1)

frknfrk (127417) | more than 12 years ago | (#177435)

my favorite quote from the article: "Reality is only a space in which he makes a small amount of necessary money for continuing the game." this sounds exactly like heroin abuse to me. and (i add gratuitiously) this is not a flame, just trying to spark a little discussion. how addictive are games, and if games are legal, why aren't drugs?

interesting requirements. (1)

frknfrk (127417) | more than 12 years ago | (#177436)

taken from their website... The following are minimum system requirements for Lineage. - Window 95, 98, 2000 or Windows NT 4.0 SP3 - Pentium 75MHz or higher - Main memory 16M or higher - Video card supporting 640x480x16bpp - Internet connection (modem or LAN) Very cool to see a game which only requires Pentium 75 and 16MB memory!

Re:games addictive? no... (1)

frknfrk (127417) | more than 12 years ago | (#177437)

excellent. this is the type of conversation i was trying to get at. you are right i think, that this is very addictive without being a true dependency. however for some people they are not as strong willed as you seem to be! i had many friends fail out of college because of their dependencies on the games!

Re: Addictive Games (4)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 12 years ago | (#177438)

"how addictive are games?"

Games are extremely addictive, as my poor wife can attest.

This got me thinking, considering how pervasive games are, and how the "mainstream" is trying so hard to demonize video games, how long is it before we hear this exchange?

"Now, Mr. President, did you or did you not play Quake when you were in college?"

"I did play it, once, but I didn't like it, and I never fragged."

Re:Same old same old (1)

anotherone (132088) | more than 12 years ago | (#177440)

I've gotten into more than one fight over super smash brothers games...



Re:Uh oh... (3)

anotherone (132088) | more than 12 years ago | (#177441)

In my experience, how well you do in a fight is inversely proportional to how much you play online RPGs.


Counter-Strike is probably the closest US game. (5)

veddermatic (143964) | more than 12 years ago | (#177449)

Counter-Strike, a mod for Half-life currently has 53,849 people playing it right now... and all the Half-Life mods have a combined 65,560 people playing.

These numbers are from Gamespy's Stats page [gamespy.com] as of a few minutes ago...

Not exactly 5%, as with 270million folks there'd have to be 1,3500,000 people playing, but then again, are we talking 5% playing, or playing at the SAME TIME?

Broad? This is ridiculously wide... (5)

mmaddox (155681) | more than 12 years ago | (#177451)

The article characterizes all South Koreans as game-obsessed nutjobs, drawn into this fantasy as the product of some cultural flaw. Of course, the press isn't generally so kind to Western (American, Canadian, even Western European) gamers, either, but at least it generally has the courtesy to consider us some bizarre subset, rather than the entire culture.

Personally, I'd find this pretty damned offensive if I were of Asian decent of any sort. Sorry, folks, this is embarassing.

Still, I would LOVE to see this game.

Re:games addictive? no... (2)

Tetsujin28 (156148) | more than 12 years ago | (#177453)

this sounds exactly like heroin abuse to me. and (i add gratuitiously) this is not a flame, just trying to spark a little discussion. how addictive are games, and if games are legal, why aren't drugs?

Because most of Western society loves machines, but fears chemistry and biology?

WWW.TETSUJIN.ORG [tetsujin.org]

Re:games addictive? no... (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 12 years ago | (#177454)

well, drugs use to be legal, then were made illegal. For example in the old west (USA) you could buy heroin pills for things like toothaches.

Re:It's all about the game (1)

fishbonez (177041) | more than 12 years ago | (#177458)

Sarcasm aside. I won't let my kids watch Disney films because invariably someone or some creature gets killed. Disney produces some extremely violent entertainment for young children. Maybe the problem isn't teenagers playing Quake or some other RPG; maybe it's Disney's marketing violence to the youngest possible viewers.

Pocahontis: killing by gunfire
Little Mermaid: killing by impalement
Bambi: killing by gunfire

I find it interesting... (1)

MelloDawg (180509) | more than 12 years ago | (#177459)

that this Asian-based game has a story based upon European history. I would have thuoght some more asian would have been developed.

Re:Articles: Taking Slashdot Seriously in America (1)

Yanna (188771) | more than 12 years ago | (#177463)

This is a website where people can discuss their opinions. Nobody actually forces you to read it, download it or discuss topics on /. It's a choice you make. If you feel the articles or the posts don't fit your political views, you can go somewhere else.

I don't mean this in a rude way or as a flame. I am purely speaking about freedom of choice here. I certainly do not read certain sites that are totally oposed to my ideas. I choose those where I can somehow relate to the opinions expressed.

And if I ever read a website which doesn't fit my political views, I do not flame the editors for thinking differently, I just go to a differrent site.

It's finally here (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 12 years ago | (#177465)

The society we've all been waiting for. Where online and real-life converge. It's called a life people. Get one.

Behold the blind eye of US journalism (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 12 years ago | (#177466)

Quote from the article:

In South Korea, a deeply conformist society where children must speak to elders with a special deferential grammar...

What, you mean, like calling people "mister/missus" or "sir/ma'am"?

OK, maybe we don't go quite so far as to engrain it into our grammar but there is a "polite language" with which children (at least until recently) were expected to address adults, which could easily be labeled "deferential".

I can still remember being a kid and being taken to task for addressing adults as though they were equals. We got called brats, smart-asses and worse, sometimes physically disciplined.

So when did the US become an enlightened egalitarian anarchist society?

Re:Behold the blind eye of US journalism (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 12 years ago | (#177467)

Whereas, in English, such things are only conveyed through diction and tone of voice. Thank god we're so much better!

Wow good article (5)

Natak (199859) | more than 12 years ago | (#177468)

Korea will be further than any other country as far as multipler games go in the next couple of years. Why? Its becoming part of thier society. Many people make freak when they read some of those tails. But are they any differnt than how football is treated in the US? I've been fans beat the crap out of each other for just saying some team sucks. Organized crime has a history of buying players and point shaving. Fans have a history of spending a lot of money for simple signatures. If you step back and look at it, sports has more problems than gaming ever has. But the only differnce is we accept those problems with sports. Sports have been around for thousands of years, no one can image problems ever existing without them. But when you slightly change this with video gaming, where everyone is a player most people start having concerns.

anways watch what happens, Korea will be further along in gameing the rest of us. Everytime something goes wrong and its even partly attached to gaming and its in the US its big news, everyone gets involved, politicans start talking about it, and so on. Society will be much slower to change than technolgy.

Oh, can the whining (2)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#177469)

The article wasn't blaming the game makers for the violence that was taking place. If it was blaming anyone, it would be the unique Korean culture that leads to this sort of blurring between online and offline gang behavior.

Besides, who said the parents are the only ones responsible for teaching their kids right and wrong? Whatever happened to the individual's own responsibility to learn it?

Re:Yes, it's become quite common. (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 12 years ago | (#177474)

While I'm sure there's better things one can do than spend all day every day playing Lineage, the Korean custom of playing games in heavily populated gaming rooms is certainly much better in a social sense than the American "basement loner" experience. I must say I'm a little jealous that the Koreans get LAN parties every day. Not only that, the thought of waiting in line to play games makes me feel a bit of nostalgia for arcades of the 80s.

Good. (1)

MWoody (222806) | more than 12 years ago | (#177476)

Y'know what? I think that's healthy. Now, bear with me a second, that sounds weird, but think about it: what better way to be disabused of a fuzzy grip on reality than a good real-world beating?

IMHO, the danger in excessive online gaming is abandonment of the real world, and a decrease in the clarity of boundaries between that and the online environment. That's what results in stuff like that infamous (fabled?) group of D&D'ers performing satanic rights and killing cats and such. As is, what we have here are juveniles responding to a breach of protocol in their peer group with non-fatal violence, something you'll find in every single high school across the world.

In short,
Good - kicking a PK'ers ass in the bathroom.
Bad - Screaming "I am l33t h4x0r!" and trying to cast spells at aforementioned PK'er

And hey, at least it gets 'em away from the computer a while. The fresh air will do 'em good. ^_^

Reminded of a book (1)

hyacinthus (225989) | more than 12 years ago | (#177477)

Dorothy Heydt's A POINT OF HONOR, in which shady dealings in an virtual role-playing gaming world escalate into real-life crimes and eventually attempted murder.


Re:Same old same old (1)

room101 (236520) | more than 12 years ago | (#177480)

Hell, I used to hear of this sort of thing when we used to play D&D in highschool. My mom got real scared, thinking that I would turn into some killing machine because of it. I guess it made the game more exciting.

Re:Same old same old (1)

oconnorcjo (242077) | more than 12 years ago | (#177484)

Wow- the Vax at UB... brings back memories but it is odd that my experience is so much different. I attended UB and I did not remember any of these fights.

Re:Broad? This is ridiculously wide... (2)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 12 years ago | (#177493)

Personally, I'd find this pretty damned offensive if I were of Asian decent of any sort.

Then perhaps you're oversensitive. Why would, say, an Iranian care how Koreans were characterized in a little story about video games?

Re: These days at UB (1)

Husaria (262766) | more than 12 years ago | (#177495)

And ya can't play those games anymore there, damn unix lol.
These days its in SU with all those damn n64s.
Either that, or its off to Ellicott and having a LAN party.
I can see it next year:
in the spectrum police blotter:
An Offline PK occured in Ellicot. Students were playing Lineage.

5% of all Americans (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 12 years ago | (#177498)

imagine if 5% of all Americans all played the same online game, for instance.

I don't know the actual percentage, but we already do.

It's called "find the defunct ISP and make them stop charging my credit card for the monthly fee".


Re:Yes, it's become quite common. (1)

Astrorunner (316100) | more than 12 years ago | (#177499)

"When I'm not offline pking, I like to spend my time offline playerbeerdrinking and offline playerautoeroticasphyxiating."

I think it is time for the youth of korea to make that long hard journey out of their parent's basement. Oh, and I've never spent an extraodinary amount of time playing TFC. *cough* Never.

"The day star! It burns us! It burns!"

Re:Things like this pervade many asian societies (1)

AvatarADV (411445) | more than 12 years ago | (#177502)

You're overstating the case a bit. Anime isn't inseparable from the Japanese culture. (Manga? Perhaps.) The guy out in the costume in Tokyo isn't taking part of a revered cultural heritage program, he's a geek in a costume. They aren't much kinder to their shut-ins than we are.

Somebody's already made the sports analogy, which is very fitting. What's the difference between two guys, one of which is a sports trivia buff and the other an anime otaku? (Well, in my experience, the first guy showers more often! ^_^) Seriously, obsessed devotion happens.

just spent a weekend at A-kon, so it's not like I don't side with the anime fans...

Dungeons & Dragons (1)

6EQUJ5 (446008) | more than 12 years ago | (#177506)

We all knew some kids who took D & D (*cough*, AD & D) a little too seriously. Some of them didn't know when to shut up with the role playing, and made many emergency care doctors very rich in the eighties from the resulting punches they endured.

But hey, takes one to know one...

Uh oh... (5)

Hungry Hungry Hippo! (453616) | more than 12 years ago | (#177508)

It's not the kids killing each other over an RPG that worries me.

What scares me is that the experience points they gain will make them super-powerful. If there's anything worse than street gangs, it's street gangs full of 15th level fighters!


geez... (1)

phubar (456077) | more than 12 years ago | (#177511)

Maybe there's a joke there.
If there is, you probabry missed it.
What do you think?

Who ARE you?!

Gangsters Online (1)

NickFusion (456530) | more than 12 years ago | (#177512)

I thought the most interesting development in the development of this on-line world was not the off-line retributuion (unfortunate), but the even more interesting migration of real-world gangsters into the game, where they play (suprise) gangsters.

Anything that keeps thugs in front on a monitor instead of on the streets is a Good Thing(tm), yes?

So why haven't we see Tony Soprano playing his half-elf warrior on HBO?

Damn! hope they won't close the server ;) (1)

CaptIronfist (457257) | more than 12 years ago | (#177513)

Some people are just plain stupid and others are just not mature enough. Making that game (UO in fact) 18 years old or older would be one of the best OSI's move ( If they ever made good moves ).
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