Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Old Korean Gaming Mags (part 1)

I figured I might as well introduce some of the Korean gaming mags I'm using for my research on the history of the gaming industry from here. My main source so far is Computer Hakseup (Computer Study), which wasn't a dedicated game mag but rather a general computer magazine focussing on education and technology news. Published from 1983 to 1997 (with a title change in between, see below), it is the mag Korean oldschool gamers have fond memories of. The quality of anything written on Korean retro games nowadays can easily be measured by whether or not Computer Hakseup is quoted.

Early on, they began to print simple homebrew game sourcecodes, along with other kinds of software. They also introduced new games for various home computers, which were later turned into a full blown reviews section. The "reviews" were actually more akin to game guides, though, explaining strategies and did the important task to translate key sections of the practically always untranslated foreign games. Sometimes the reviews were decorated with (rather simplistic) original art, or art taken from sources unrelated to the game in discussion.

Contra Guide

source code for an amateur game

Other features included comic strips and (later) "Computer Novels", pieces of fiction on computer-related themes.

In 1990, it was renamed to MyCom, and the former mostly black&white mag gradually won more colored pages. Initially the mag reported equally about the home computers with any importance on the market, but some time in late 1990 or early 1991, it turned into a straight IBM-PC magazine, dropping all the 8-bit home computers (Other 16-bit computers like X68000 or Amiga never became relevant). Consoles were only mentioned in short news blurbs to begin with.

And of course the advertisements, which at least in the early years are almost more informative (for my purposes) than the mag itself.

Ads for the Zemmix and Mirinae's "The Day", the latter one never got released (and nonetheless spawned a series with 4 sequels)

New Year's ad with the Zemina-Crew, 1988

From 1992 on, the game section was turned into a mag-inside-the-mag called GameCom, which could be taken out of the actual zine, which actually makes for a big gap in my research so far, as the national library didn't start to store those until late 1993.

Later I'll show some stuff with which I try to fill that gap...


  1. Very cool stuff, i really like that they put codes and homebrew stuff in the magazine, encouraging readers to code and make their own games!.

    Speaking of magazines, i've got a bunch of old "Club Nintendo" magazines from Chile. I don't know if anyone would be interested in that, if so i can take pictures or scan them and maybe write a post.

  2. Curious thing, never knew they had a Club Nintendo in Chile as well. I'm from Mexico and we still have that magazine hanging around. Wonder what kind of content it had...

  3. I think it was the same. Look, here i have some pictures of the covers: http://bit.ly/b39qYE