I heard about these so-called PC bangs, or PC rooms/internet cafes, long before I set foot in Korea. I used to love playing PC games, see. Perhaps this was to make up for the fact that my parents never let me play video games so when I got my first laptop, I played the heck out of it. ^^ Not the point. Anyway, I also took a Korean popular culture class my last semester in college just for fun. ^^; Anyway, I guess I still love playing them but I have no time… but mainly because I get really obsessive over it. (I suppose I would have time if I could play for merely an hour or two.) Same with dramas – I have to finish it as fast as I can. I don’t know why because it’s not like there’s a life-or-death situation looming over my head if I don’t finish the 16+ episode drama before a certain day (usually the third), but if I don’t finish it, I literally can’t do anything else. Well, I can, but I’ll be rather distracted. Hence, once I got that full time job at the restaurant and now that I’m over here teaching, I haven’t truly played any games, whether they be MMORPG’s or strategy games.
Once upon a time, I was an avid WoW player (Yes. WoW.) and I even dabbled in Starcraft for a while. This was back in 2007, the second semester of my first year in college. Or was it the end of my first semester in college? Either way, it was back then. I only played for a month and a half, after which I stopped because I didn’t want to pay the $15 per month, but it still nagged at me. Also: it consumed my life. My laptop’s video card couldn’t take the graphics of WoW, but that didn’t stop me. My roommate would let me borrow her laptop to play (she had gotten me into it) into the early hours of the morning and then even a mutual friend would let me borrow his on campus to play. If I wasn’t in class, I would head straight back to my dorm to continue. At the end of my 6-week stint, I had 3 characters under my account with the maximum level of around 23 for all three of them. It could have been worse, but it was bad enough.
Yesterday, after a market run and a stop at the optometrist, my friend and I decided to try out one of these PC bangs we’ve heard so much about. The first one we went to was on the basement floor of this commercial building. We had no clue what to expect. We walked in through the open door and WOW (no-not the game). It was packed and it was in the afternoon. The air was warm and vaguely stifling and you can smell cigarette smoke. They were mostly kids everywhere but one thing was certain: they were all male. They were seated at a computer playing a game with the utmost concentration and a couple of their friends might be crowded behind him, watching with almost equal anticipation. Perhaps for their own turn? In the “lobby”, there was a counter and against the wall was a vending machine and other snacks and drinks one can purchase if they end up staying at the bang for too long. I asked my friend if he wanted to try it out. He said he wasn’t ready for it and there were too many kids. haha, we left.
This time, we tried our hand at another PC bang in another building diagonal from the first one — this one’s called Timpl. I only remember because we were trying to figure out what it was supposed to mean (I got “pimple” and he got “temple”). Instead of underground, this establishment was on the 4th floor and on the outside, there were tons of posters advertising Aion, another MMORPG game that I remember hearing about in the States (something about awesome graphics?). We walked in. This place was also full but there were less kids (slightly) but the layout was generally the same. There was an common “lobby” where there were snacks and drinks as well as a counter. This establishment employed one female but from what I could see, the patrons were all male. The place also boasted a separate room for smoking but I don’t think it did much – you could smell it in the non-smoking area as well, since it was an automatic sliding door separating the areas. My friend, the chain smoker that he is, liked this one more and so we stayed. I told the guy at the counter two people and he gave us these two cards in a plastic stand-up holder. Then he led us to two computers in the smoking room. I sat next to this kid who looked tiny in this huge, cushioned chair that was so comfortable.
I want it. Around me were older guys or at least around my age and those in their teens. And the scattering of “kid” like the one at my right, though he shortly left and was replaced by a smoking guy around my age. My friend had previously told them he was going to smoke so he was given an ashtray.
Each computer ‘station’ boasted a huge monitor and it was fast. I clicked something and a window popped up within a second later. The colors were amazing as well and there’s no such thing as lag time.
I want the monitor and cpu even more than I want the chair. Anyway, there’s a number on the card you’re given and you enter it in one of the fields at the bottom right of the screen once the computer starts. Then another window pops up with a timer telling you when your session began. At the bottom, there are a series of “buttons” for the various kinds of games they offered. I was most interested in MMORPG’s and PC Games. I would like to note now that everything’s in Korean. The first thing I did was find WoW and double clicked on it. I did this several times. Nothing happened. Okay, that was a fiblet as the hourglass icon replaced the typical arrow of the mouse appeared for a split second — then nothing. I tried Aion, even though I’d never played before. This time, an opening pop up appeared with a ton of Korean. I finally figured out what to press and it led me to the game’s homepage where you’re supposed to sign in, I’m guessing. I passed, though it was tempting. We were low on time, anyway, and I was using my first time at a PC bang to explore what they offered.
Next, I moved onto PC games. There were the Starcraft games, which, for some odd reason, told me to insert a CD so I passed as well. I ended up trying something called Darksiders or Dark Outsiders… Something like that. It was a pretty neat fantasy game of fighting with cool actions and I went through it all right but I could never kill the Boss guy. For one, you get get to him and from what I gathered, you could kill him by throwing cars at him. Well, I get tired of things fast so after three rounds of that last fight, after which I died in succession (though not without a fight!), I moved on. I played what my friend was so engrossed in: Dead Rising 2, I think it was called. It’s a zombie game. That’s all I need to say. I dislike zombies; they’re too unsanitary. I played for around 10 minutes and went back to give The Boss another go. Then we had to leave. Throughout all this and between games, I would double-click on the WoW icon from time to time in an attempt to play it once more.
Oh yes. For around an hour and a half of play, it was around 1,600 won per person. 🙂 Yes. It really is that cheap.
Now that I think about it, I feel the familiar burning feeling of “I NEED WOW NOW” that I haven’t felt in so long. T__T I even tried to log in but after 4 years, I guess I forgot the name I had included along with my email address. That was sarcasm, but it’s the truth. I tried to recover my password but apparently, my name wasn’t linked to my email address. Swell. Now, I just feel bereft… a sense of great loss. But this is perhaps a good thing. It’s Monday tomorrow: another day at school teaching kids and trying to be a good role model who doesn’t jaywalk and isn’t a gaming addict. On top of that, I’m still a little sick. Perhaps the first day of Halloween festivities will keep my mind off of it.
Tempting, though. Really tempting.
I’m going back again.