Korea Bound: Our Visit To The Esports Capital Of The World, Day 2

In the previous article, [redacted at request of the South Korean government] traveled to South Korea, intent on discovering the secret behind their esports dominance. In this article, he continues to fuck around aimlessly.

As I was making my way to the PC Bang (Korean terminology for what we in the West refer to as a “gaming place”) I was not surprised to be the subject of stares, glances, and whispered remarks. The common people are clearly unaccustomed to seeing a white man: I am reminded of that first beautiful meeting between native and savior in James Cameron’s Avatar, where both parties regarded each other with cautious optimism, underlaid with a smoldering sexual tension that would eventually culminate in furious passion underneath the gentle eye of Jupiter… ah, to be a paraplegic! What wonders my own fitness denies from me.

Of course, my very own fuckable blue cat person has yet to appear, both literally and metaphorically. While I did not expect to receive much female attention on this trip (the magnitude of my intellect usually intimidates women) I remain optimistic that my professional-level gaming skills would impress the fabled “Korean honies” that I am told frequent the PC Bangs, eager to scout out and suck off the latest talents. When I mentioned this to my guide, Sung Won, he seemed nervous—I assured him that he could never be replaced by a woman, blue or otherwise. After all, every Crusoe needs his Friday.

On a side note, Sung Won seems very fond of placing his head in his hands. A gesture of respect, perhaps?

The “Bang” itself was a well-lit and pleasant building, filled wall-to-wall with monitor after monitor, each housing the hunched-over form of a would-be gamer. A reverent, almost religious atmosphere filled the air: this was a temple to Starcraft II, to League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2 and Paladins. After telling Sung Won to negotiate with the cashier (I have never gotten the hang of paying foreign money) I took a moment to survey my competition: black-haired head after black-haired head, young male after young male. I was struck by a curious sense of deja vu, or as the French call it, “déjà vu.” Some sort of curious resemblance…

Pushing this feeling aside, I took my seat, plugging in my gaming mouse, gaming headset, gaming microphone, gaming coolant system, and making sure to put down my gaming mousepad to optimize performance. This process drew quite a crowd of admirers—by the time I donned my gaming sunglasses, to dull the rainbow-LED glare, I could feel the jealous glares of those behind me. Smiling, I cracked my neck. I told Sung Won to inform my rivals that I would show them the true skill of a Western player—without hesitation, he confirmed that I most certainly would.

Alas, poor Sung Won’s confidence in me was misplaced. At first, I believed that my poor performance was because the servers had still not pinpointed my location, but this was not the case: my connection was perfect, at a comfortable 3 ping. With growing panic, I looked around, seeking some explanation—surely, some outside factor was to blame for this, surely I could not be beaten without lag!

A sudden noise caused me to look up: the opponent across from me was cursing in that foreign tongue, face contorted with frustration. As I studied his face, I noticed something odd: the boy, he could not have been more than sixteen, bore a strong resemblance to the god of esports himself, Faker! Perhaps the man himself but younger, rawer, less refined.

Looking around, I realized with dawning horror that every boy, every hunched, bespeckled foreigner in the gaming place bore this very same resemblance. Surely, some sort of Korean conspiracy is afoot!

I’m currently typing this out on my Blackberry in a bathroom stall, but I must return soon—Sung Won gets nervous if I’m unsupervised for too long. This was just too important of an update not to share.

Adventure awaits!

Click here for Day 3.