Anyways, I had my first PC Bang/Starcraft experience recently. I have always heard that these PC Bangs were notorious for being smoky--those stories are true indeed. After finishing our time in the PC Bang, my clothes smelled like I had just come out of a pub. I went to this PC Bang the same day that I visited the 2007 Seoul Wine Market with Tae, Jay-hook, and Sam-jahng (did I get your guys' names right? I need a keyboard with Hangul, hehe). All three of them are Starcraft veterans and when I mentioned about wanting to experience a PC Bang in Korea, finding one was not difficult at all! They are literally on every street corner in the city.
We went to two PC Bangs initially and ended up staying at the second one. I was told this one was a bit older and more expensive compared to newer PC Bangs elsewhere. Here are a couple pictures from the first PC Bang we checked out:
Playing video games and Starcraft builds your appetite (or not) so there are always snacks on hand: chips, candy, ramen, and pop:
After crossing the street we found another PC Bang and just decided to give this one a try. Here is the outside window plastered in video game posters:
Here's my video tour of the room...it was smoky and it felt like a trip back in time. Listen for my cheeky comment towards the end:
We each received one of the following ID cards. All I had to do was punch "27" into the terminal and it would start keeping track of my time. The cost was 2000w/hour ($2USD) which is considered expensive! Typical PC Bangs only 1000w/hour and this was not even that nice I was told:
Alright...so I punched in "27" and what was I greeted with? Ahh, a sight that most people are familiar with (or hate to see), our best friend, Windows XP (I was lucky this time--no BSODs for me--Google BSOD if you don't know what it stands for; be warned though as the results might drive you up the wall):
So the four of us are seated next to each other in this PC Bang, and finally we get our networked game up and running. I only played Starcraft literally once or twice when it came out (I was more into Command and Conquer: Red Alert) so trying to figure out the best way to build up my base took some time (Note to self: talking to a South Korean while he/she is playing Starcraft and asking silly questions, such as "what are the buttons again?" will not result in any answers--you will get shunned, haha!) Here is my pathetic start to my base..."oohhh...so these things collect and mine the ore/gold!":
Here's a video of Tae playing. Unfortunately there is no play by play commentary, but the setup was Tae and I versus Jay-hook and Sam-jahng--the losers would have to foot the PC Bang bill. Too bad for Tae, because my mediocre base was mercilessly annihilated by Sam-jahng (she is female; Starcraft is not just for the guys in South Korea; everyone plays the game!) within five minutes! I was like "WTF...dude, I just learned the controls!" and by the end of that sentence I was out of the game. It wasn't long after until Tae was defeated as well (he can beat the computer in a one on four match up):
So there you have it, my first PC Bang/Starcraft experience in South Korea. It was probably one of the most unique "cultural" experiences I've had here in Seoul. After footing the bill (a meager 8000w) it was off for samgyeopsal to eat away my sorrows! Any Starcraft veterans/pioneers out there? Do you still play?