North Korea :: Pyongyang Racer

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North Korea and its worst game of the world

While there a tons of games developed all over the world, which are set in North Korea or satirically feature Kim (e.g. Glorious Leader, featuring Kim on a unicorn), I panicked from the very beginning of my “journey” to find a game, which is actually developed in North Korea (and also available to us).

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Today I suddenly stumbled upon headlines like “The North Korean Video Game for People Who Hate Fun“, “North Korea’s First Racing Video Game Is Terrible“. This is not really how I would usually choose games for this project, however, in this case it was also the only game I found at all, and the number of headlines talking about this game so high – so this game really caught my attention.

The game – which is known to the world as the worst game of the world – is called Pyongyang Racer. Apparently, it was the first (and to my knowledge the only) game developed in North Korea, which was designed for the Western world. The browser game was developed by a travel company to boost tourism to Pyongyang. Thus, comparing this commercial game to other games would not be fair. But it is really not a masterpiece. The game is designed similar to 90s SEGA racing games. But without racing elements, such as other driving cars, other racers, or competitive features. The goal is to finish the roundtrip through the city-center of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang and to collect all pictures (+information pieces) of monuments. Your car is a local one from Pyeonghwa Motors. Fuel is running out, so you have to collect fuel barrels on the way. And you should not hit other cars (.. which are by the way not moving and all parking in the middle of the streets.. ). Compared to other racing games, the only “enemy” is time. If you would like to compare your time with others, you have the option to take a screenshot of the final screen and send an email to the travel tours company to be ranked in a “Championship” ranking (my time: 8 mins 31)! At this moment – just take 10 minutes of your time and play it now! 

Pyongyang Racer won’t win too many prizes. BUT maybe this game -which reminds on the first steps developers made mid 90s – is a first sign of a new inspiration for North Koreans to develop games and also share it with the Western world. One step closer to using media to connect these very different worlds and to communicate with the outside.

I would be still interested in finding a game from North Korea designed to create interesting experiences, and not a game designed for commercial purposes. If anyone has other hints for games from North Korea please drop me a line.

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Release 2012
Genre Racing?
Developer Nosotek
Publisher Koryo Tours