This post comes as a bit of a surprise, even to me. OMGeek community member Jamploy recently got back from the Korean Gaming Conference, and he was kind enough to write about his experience for OMGeek. He even took pictures! This continues our Featured Community Member Post series, where we will put up something written by a member of the community as a blog post on the front page. If you've written something you'd like to share with us, or if you're interested in writing something, shoot me an email at email@example.com! As your friendly editor, I'll help you put together a solid and interesting article for the community to enjoy.
Korean Gaming Conference Review
I’ve never been to Korea before so the Korean Gaming Conference sounded like a must-attend event. Looking on the Korean website I couldn’t glean much about the show but I’m thinking, games, games, games and I’ll get to play a few new games.
Six hours across the sea from Singapore and I’m there. Seoul is kind of like Tokyo but not as shiny. There’s a few lights but its mostly hardcore industrial stuff, concrete, hills and kimchee. People are nice and polite, and even the bus driver bowed to us when he drove me to my hotel. I nodded back in the usual western don’t know why you're bothering doing that as I’m not the tipping bus drivers type quick nod.
Seoul was historical, but sadly forgetful. I didn’t research anything to do and found myself wandering around a market, tasting a bit of food and having an early night. I’ll remember Seoul for one thing: the electronic toilets. They wouldn’t look out of place on the Starship Enterprise with their flashing buttons, little diagrams and Korean language. Rather than have me describe the functions of the toilet and my body, it’s probably best if you check out the photos. Even in Korean, its pretty self-explanatory. I was thinking, "Hmm. I wonder if they have a TV show called When Toilets go Bad," because I noticed that they had a lot of warnings, mostly about electric shocks.
Apparently the worst social gaff you can make is to blow your nose. Even if its streaming down your face you have to suck it up and never blow out. Probably explains all the dirty bastards I see blowing snot into the sink in the public toilets.
Next day, I was up bright and early on the 300KPH Bullet train to a little place nestled in the hills on the way to Busan called Daegu. The trip was uneventful. I sat looking outside at the countryside and then bam! I was in the city. It’s like Seoul but with more concrete. I stayed in the city center which was nice enough, with the usual shopping, Starbucks and Mac D’s. Everyone there looked well-dressed and happy.
I made my way over to the conference, but unfortunately my original thoughts of mega game time on unseen new titles were a little off the mark. I met the guys who did the lighting on BF3, tried to get some OMGk freebies, saw some nice rigs also playing BF3, tried to get some OMGk freebies, the Crysis guys, any freebies? I got about half an hour on Crysis 2 before I realized I was holding up a long line of watchers.
The highlight of the day was when I was challenged by Adam Mcclard (you know, the guy who programmed the buttons on Tekken) to a game of Tekken. It’s been a while since I played that game but knew a few moves and did manage to scrape a second round win. I think he took it easy with me or was really upset because he then proceeded to obliterate me in the following games. I knew I was licked so I reached out to the awed crowd watching and asked if anyone could beat him. A lone guy came up said, “Yeah, me.”
He reprogrammed the controller so that all the kicks were on the buttons and all the punches on the top buttons and the war began--special moves that had the characters jumping into outer space, amazing combos and a lot of stuff I’d never seen before. It ended as these encounters always do with both players on the same guy claiming equal bragging rights.
The show was basically all the main game engines looking for the cream of Korean talent to use their engines when designing games--quite technical and actually quite interesting. I ended up at a gala dinner (beef) and sat with a lot of overweight German guys who trade games. It was during this dinner that I heard an interesting Angry Birds story.
Apparently Rovio were in trouble. The boss had come in and said sorry lads, that’s it, I’m closing the company, when one guy chirped in, hold on boss, there’s an idea I have been working on about birds. This guy was Jaakko Lisalo, who incidentally was at KGC last year. The boss managed to find some extra funds--around 100,000 to 150,000 euros--and they developed the game which has now sold over 12,000,000 copies. The interesting thing was that they didn’t have a way to pay back the investors and all the company cash was gone, so this guy offered to give them his shares in the game and that left him with nothing. The inventor of Angry Birds didn’t make any money on his game at all! I guess that’s why they brought out the spin-offs like Rio pretty quickly afterwards; I’m sure he made a packet on that. After a bit of opera and cultural music, it was out on the night.
I went out with a company whose engine you would all have played on at some point in time. We went to a traditional Korean restaurant famous for its beef. I don’t eat beef, by the way. I’m also not really into sitting on the floor either unless it’s at home with my girls and a few beers, because at home I’m not expected to get up. After picking at a little kimchee whilst waiting for one of the chefs to nip down to the local KFC, I started to get into the local beer. I then heard in a whisper next to me:
“Have you ever been to Korea before?”
“Ah. Then you wouldn’t know the rule about not pouring your own drinks?”
As I looked around the table contemplating if I have really messed up only one Korean guy, I noticed that the guy opposite me was looking somewhat peeved. Also, he actually looked like he was eating a lemon.
“Pouring your own drinks! WTF?”
Yeah, it’s not culturally acceptable here. I picked up the bottle careful not to look at the lemon chewing guy and shrugged my shoulders in a smiling I’m a westerner and I don’t know what I’m doing motion and started pouring a drink for everyone around me--not easy when you’re sitting on the floor. I didn’t make the same mistake twice but the guy opposite me bitched me for the rest of the night. Whenever he was on the last inch of his sake, he would Kambay me in a toast and I would have to fill him up. It was actually good fun.
The night ended with us all going to the biggest disco in town, which could easily seat 500 pax. However, it seemed like Wednesday night was not its best night. We were there on our own for most of the night and made the best of it. I had a few beers and some nice Cuban cigars and made my way back to the hotel. It wasn’t until the next day at the event when I was talking to two Korean fellas that I asked, “What’s this thing about not pouring your own drinks, then?"
Apparently when you pour your own drink, you bring bad luck on the person sitting opposite you for the next three generations. Who would have guessed that?
This Featured Community Member Post was written by Jamploy. If you're interested in writing something game-related for OMGeek, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.