Games for kids get government's nod

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Games for kids get government's nod

Since 1997 the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has been promoting the video-game industry by choosing the best new games of the month and honoring their developers.

The ministry gives small cash awards for best new PC game and best new arcade game. Taking the blue ribbon in the PC category last month was the game developer Multi Enterprise, for its fighting game "Blockhead Cat." In the arcade category, the winner was the developer Ex Potato, for its winter sports action game "Come on Baby 2."

"Blockhead Cat" is a game for children in which the hero, a cat named "Anenome" whose head is a rectangular solid, battles an evil master. The cat character has a few basic fighting moves, the best of which is an uppercut punch. The moves get better as you reach higher levels. The characters are easy to control, and the violence is mild.

The other winner, "Come on Baby 2," is also catered to young gamers. It is a sequel to a popular arcade game in which baby characters compete in 15 winter sports, such as ski jumping or other events, like snowball pushing contests. The original game became popular because of its user-friendliness and cute characters, which appealed especially to teenage girls. It also comes in a PC version.

The follow-up has the same advantages as the original, namely simple controls and easy game play. But you need to have quick fingers; it seems that people playing the game are merely pushing buttons as quickly as possible.

Multi Enterprise was founded in April 1999 and employs 15 people, while Ex Potato was established in December 1998 and has 23 people working for the company.

A official at the ministry explained that the monthly gaming awards were established to further the quality of the local video-game industry. The awards help small- and medium-sized game developers improve their profit pictures because the companies can apply stickers to their products that tell consumers that the game has been recognized by the ministry. Since the ministry gave its first gaming award in February 1997, 80 games have gotten the government's official seal.

Last month, "Blockhead Cat" and "Come on Baby 2" were in a final group of nine games that were up for the awards. Each of the companies will get 2 million won ($1,700) in cash for the best game honor.

by Brian Lee

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