[GAME MASTER]Dokdo-related events on online gamesStrong sentiments on the Dokdo islets have led domestic online game developers to create Dokdo-related quests, enabling players to fully exhibit their patriotism in cyberspace.
GoonZu Online is a role playing game that takes place in 1598, during the Joseon period, and involves trade, politics and war. Recently, the developers added a special quest in which one can battle Japanese soldiers who invade Dokdo.
"There is a lot of fighting with Japanese troops in the game, but fighting off soldiers on Dokdo somehow made me feel more heroic although I knew it was just a game," said Lee Kang-min, 23. Mr. Lee is unemployed and spends most of his time playing games, “just until the economy gets better and I can find a job,” he says.
These days, I find that more of the people I meet on online games are like Mr. Lee. Perhaps playing games gives them some sort of feeling of accomplishment, especially when they are fighting for their country. But I digress.
On Q Play, an online quiz game, users were given free “items.” When activating these items, a character of General Yi Sun-shin pops out and shouts “Dokdo is our land!” If used too often, this tends to make the game a little annoying, but it sometimes has the effect of cheering up the players in the room, as people take the opportunity to voice their opinions of Japan.
The most hilarious event yet, however, takes place in Gersang, sometime in the early 16th century. You can choose a character from Joseon (Korea), Japan, China or Taiwan and make your way as a doctor, merchant or soldier, among other occupations. The graphics are mediocre, but instead of pure fighting, you can use your head and become a really successful merchant.
But even if you are a merchant, you don’t want to give up a precious load of ginseng to some forest thieves when you’re traveling between cities, so no matter what occupation you choose, some martial arts skills are required.
There are also separate “quests” that specifically require fighting. In a recent updated campaign to conquer the Japanese island of Tsushima, the game developer added two monsters that one has to battle. (The beauty of online games is that they never end, since the developer adds new projects.) These two monsters are monkey-like creatures that jump around and attack in groups when you reach Tsushima. The names of the animals are Monkey Chief and Monkey Slave, the former being slightly stronger than the latter.
Interestingly, although the animals are monkeys, users could obviously see that they bore a resemblance to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. The bodies of the animals were undoubtedly monkeys’, but the faces were definitely Mr. Koizumi. Killing off a number of monkeys will earn you some scrolls, which are required to complete the campaign.
Basically, April was filled with Dokdo-related events, from arcade games to strategic role-playing games. Many games even donated a portion of their profits to civic groups that are “fighting” for Dokdo.
Are game developers going too far? Not so, according to GreenLove, a player that I met on cyber Tsushima. “Koizumi should get what he deserves,” she said, brandishing her sword against the monkeys that started to mill around her.
by Wohn Dong-hee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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