Heart and Seoul

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I have had the good fortune to travel a lot in the past few months. I’ve hit several different countries in Europe, and while the food, drink and language may be different, I’ve often found things in common with people from other countries. We haven’t always had the easiest time finding those things in common, or discussing them once we did find them because of language barriers and social mores and jetlag. At base though, there are people like me, and like you, all over the world.

Interestingly, though, I talk with people from all over the world without these barriers all the time. In fact, with this note, I’m doing so right now. Our magazine is read by people from over 150 countries. It stands to reason the cultures represented by those reading this note alongside you right now are quite varied … yet you’re all having a similar experience.

It’s really pretty amazing, huh?

The internet truly is a Great Leveler; the phrase has been used so aptly to describe many things, (death, time, a min/maxer in tabletop RPGs …) that no one thing can be called The Great Leveler anymore. And so I put forth the internet, that fabulous series of tubes, as the next candidate for the title. It does its job at leveling the playing field so well that we no longer even think about the language barriers or the cultural differences, and we don’t experience jetlag from the internet, unless we’re doing something terribly wrong.

But this does have a downside. We don’t experience the cultures of the people on the Other Side anymore. We don’t stop to think that “BoardzMasterr347” is from Korea, watches StarCraft on TV, has wicked-fast internet, and likely had kimchi with dinner last night. We aren’t thinking about how their tastes might be different as a result of their culture, and this is reflected in their games, movies and other entertainment. Which leads to misunderstandings and narrow ways of thinking.

So, with this issue of The Escapist, we are delving into one of the most influential countries in the world of gaming: Korea. We explore the basic infrastructure of the Korean world, we drop one of our own into a Korean MMOG to see what happens and we look at a big Korean games powerhouse all in the name of broadening the discussion and giving a new point of view. Enjoy!

Julianne Greer

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