Seoul to Shanghai and stuff

I am finally back in Shanghai today. It has been a very full past two weeks.

I like the Seoul airport. It has good food, and a nice internet cafe (or “Internet Plaza,” as they call it) for US$3 per hour. I used that one on the way to the USA, but this time on the way back my girlfriend and I found the transit lounge (it’s up one floor), which offers free internet access. Nice computers, too.

I also experienced Korea’s most beloved of televised competitions: the Starcraft competition. Pretty crazy. I remember when I first arrived in China in 2000 Starcraft was still pretty popular, but I don’t see it on many screens in the wangba these days (although, admittedly, I don’t find myself in Chinese wangba much anymore). China has moved onto other games, like WoW (speaking of which, check this ad out). Korea is not nearly as fickle as China; it has remained steadfast in its obsession despite the fact that Starcraft is already 7 years old.

I have always liked Starcraft, and I still play a round from time to time. I think it’s my favorite computer game ever. But I still don’t think I would cry on national television if I lost a Starcraft competition. I guess I just don’t understand Korea.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Glad you’re both back safely. Watching for more . . .

  2. Starcraft is more popular than a lot of televised sports here. Kids can name more professional “gamers” than they can professional athletes. Additionally a lot of the Starcraft competitions have serious cash prizes, so in some way I could see crying upon defeat.

  3. Did you get back in time to feel any of the effects from typhoon Haitang?

  4. Korea – South Korea is the most addicted, computer connected, gaming-freak, country in the world. They were the first to embrace high-speed internet as a whole, even ahead of the United States. Good stuff coming out of S.Korea right now – honeys and Samsung products like MP3 players & LCD screens etc.

  5. Wyatt,

    Did you ever watch a match? I found them a little hard to follow. You can’t really see the important factors, like the resource count of each player and each player’s entire troop placement. Following the match took some gettin used to.

  6. Tim P,

    I don’t know anything about the typhoon. Just got back.

    No rain yet!

  7. John, I have seen some matches on TV, but watching someone else play a video game was never really my idea of a good time. I don’t watch them for the game themselves, but more for the surreal, over the top reactions the announcers have to a couple of guys playing computer games.

  8. Hmmm, but if they announced Starcraft games like they did Golf, would anyone watch?

  9. Wyatt,

    I watched a match because I’m no expert, but I’m pretty familiar with the game and I was curious how good a pro player would be. I was disappointed, though, that I couldn’t really tell how good the players were by watching the televised match. Oh well.

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