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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Video Games in Korea: Harmless Play?

PC room nearby my Apartment

The children I teach have one thing in common. They love computer games.

"What did you do last night?" "Played computer games."
"Did you do anything fun on the weekend?" "Video games."
"Did you go anywhere?" "A PC room with my friends."
"What are your hobbies?" "Gaming."

Ok, guys, I get it...

But how can it be the main leisure activity? Humans, especially children, need touch and social interaction. Enter multi-player gaming. Thousands of players compete in battles like Starcraft. Top Korean players are paid wages of professional sports players!

A minority are even addicted, sacrificing jobs and interpersonal relationships.

Do the games encourage violence? My guess is no. Doom, the ultimate Generation X game, was blamed for the Columbine tragedy. The boys played incessantly in the days leading up to the massacre. But it's obvious to me that they were desensitized. Period.

Mothers may look over their son's shoulder and see horrific bloodshed, but there are mental games at play. A program I saw on the Discovery Channel questioned why the players need the outpouring of emotion. I agree that that is the question.

I'd say the popularity of video games in Korea can be linked to the crazes of portable TV players, cell phones, engrossing dramas and norebang. Even drinking. Kids are stressed out from the pressures of school. They don't want to think. They'd much rather nest in front of the computer screen and forget the stresses of daily life.

9 comments:

MUD said...

Yesterday the NCAA playoffs, the "Final Four" games were on TV. During the pre-game coverage, a college student from each school played the games on a video screen for an audience. I wonder if it is better that their thumbs got a work out for two hours than our butts as we sat and watched the actual games.
I do agree that moderation is the correct thing for all activities. I see a lot of overweight kids that do not have any activity other than recess at school and video games at home. Again I want to say I love your posts. Keep up the good work. MUD

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Hi Mud,

Before I moved to Korea, I imagined all Asians were thin, with small frames, but quite a few of my students are overweight.

I'm sure the games have something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

i love reading your blogs...

Christopher Board said...

Videogames are not all bad Eva. You can be skinny and love some games every once in a while; just look at me! :)

Great post as always

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Thanks anonymous! I love that you love reading my posts.

Chris- Cool, you came out of the shadows! So what's the lowdown on YOUR new blog?

Would you add me to that site you were talking about? I forget the name of it. Dig?

Ed said...

Video games increase your hand/eye coordination, mental quickness and problem solving skills. True story.

As for being responsible for real life violence...it's the job of the parents, not the video game industry, to socialize children properly. If some kids are shooting up a school, it's because their parents didn't teach them proper social behavior. They shouldn't be learning that from Doom.

Gdog said...

I have the same with my students. Computer games, computer games, computer games! It's sad that these kids have to play computer games to relieve stress. They don't have the time to go out and play when they have so much homework from both school and academies.

What I find interesting is that these kids still play games like Starcraft (1998) and Warcraft (1994)...these games are ancient!

Jay said...

The only reason StarCraft is still thriving in Korea is because it is made into a progaming-league. Top players are being paid top dollars, more than any salary jobs in US..

Warcraft isn't ancient.. I think you are referring to the very first one that was released.. but Warcraft 3 is out and new service packs are released every year. No one players Warcraft 1.. that is ancient..

Flavia Watch said...

you're half right, but you missed the other important part (i've posted here: http://flavcorn.blogspot.com/2008/06/south-koreas-obsession-with-games.html)

& it's that

there's no backyard to play in b/c ppl live in 20 story apartment buildings & it's streets after streets after streets. it's such a hassle to walk 10 minute to a nearby city park to play around in.

you can play around in the streets, but you'd graduate from the streets by the time you're a 4th grader.