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A History of Korean Gaming

Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

Back to the Index


SKC

Founded:

October 16, 1976

Status:

game publishing division spun off (1999)

Key People:

허준식 Heo Junsik:
CEO (1989-1993)
안시환 An Sihwan:
CEO (1993-1995)
장용균 Jang Yonggyun:
CEO (1995-1999)
:
Software publishing division chief
하상찬 Ha Sangchan:
Game software team chief (~1996)
:
Game software division chief

Website:

www.skc.co.kr


남일소프트 Namil Soft

Founded:

March 10, 1995

Status:

integrated into Wizard Soft (1999)

Key People:

:
Team Leader Antman
:
Team Leader Campus Love Story
:
Team Leader My Bride
:
Team Leader Tragon

Website:

none


위자드소프트 Wizard Soft

Founded:

April 23, 1999

Status:

fusioned into SNH (March 2005)

Key People:

:
CEO (from April 1999)
이용갑 Yi Yonggap:
CEO (from March 2003)
염동균 Yeom Donggyun:
CEO (from January 2004)
임대희 Im Daehui:
CEO (from March 2004)
Jong Tae Yoon:
President Wizard Soft America

Website:

www.wzsoft.com (offline)


SKC used to be Part of the Sunkyong group, one of South Korea's jaebeol. Chiefly a chemicals firm (hence the "C") that found its way into the computer business by manufacturing floppy disks, the company first appeared as a game publisher when launching the SKC Soft Land brand with the official Korean release of Cloud Master for the MSX21 and a coding contest held in cooperation with Aproman in 1989.2 From then on the company had also tried to secure PC game licensing deals with overseas publishers, but failed at first because of Korea's infamous piracy problem. SKC finally succeeded a while later, though, and published first US games in June 1991.3

SKC would soon become one of the country's major publishers of the 1990s alongside DS Entertainment. Some of the more prestigious licensing partners were Broderbund, Origin, Microsoft and Blizzard (Warcraft II and Diablo). From 1992 onwards, the company also tried its hands at localization with Prince of Persia and Carmen Sandiego. In 1993 SKC expanded its horizon to Taiwanese games by companies such as Panda Software and Kingformation, but also released games by various Korean developers, including Gravity Software, Dragonfly, Family Production and many more. With Namil Soft (registered as a trademark in March 19954), SKC also entertained a domestic first party developer.

In 1999, SKC spun off its game division, which formed the new independent company Wizard Soft5, integrating Namil Soft back into the new company6. An US subsidiary was established in California the same year,7 but never amounted to much of anything. The Korean mother company continued to develop and publish games (last through a partnership with Ubisoft in August 2004) until it was bought out by Letek Communication (whose CEO Im Daehui was also leading Wizard Soft since March) in late 2004.8 Both companies fusioned into SNH ("Software & Hardware") on March 17, 2005.9


Games

개미맨 (Gaemi Man) / Antman - IBM PC (December 1995)

Cover

Based on a manhwa series by Kim Taehyeong Gaemi Man is another entry in the popular genre of licensed platformers. The game offers three playable characters with different abilities modeled after different insects, but unfortunately it is programmes so shoddily that it's barely playable. The scrolling is choppy, its full of glitches and the controls don't work very well.

During its first three months, 5,000 copies of Gaemi Man were sold.10

Quick Info:

Developer:

Namil Soft

Publisher:

SKC

Director:

Son Seoho

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling

Theme:

Licensed


Antman (IBM PC)

Antman (IBM PC)



캠퍼스 러브 스토리 (Campus Lovestory) - Windows (June 1997) / Mobile (June 25, 2001)

Cover

Honoring its title, Campus Love Story is a typical dating simulation with a college student for a protagonist. Half of the game takes place visual novel style. Aside from the occasional choice, all that needs to be done here is reading. The choices can actually have impact on how an event plays out and influence the protagonists' standing with other characters. Early on, for example, a group of students goes on a trip, and if the player choses to drink beer with his senior, the character gets drunk and accidentally touches a girl's breasts, which she of course doesn't like one bit.

Every sunday the simulation part kicks in, as the hero can explore the city, try to get jobs, buy stuff or spend his time otherwise. Afterwards there's not much to actually do for the player but to select his main activity for the week and maybe try and call a girl for a date. Even the dating involves little action, as most locations just influence more stats without triggering any events. Only occasionally one gets the chance to pick from a huge list of topics, resulting in a little dialogue and a choice at the end. Given that most of the time the potential love interests will take down his invitations, progress in any relationship is painfully slow.

Mobile Version Artwork

It's quite puzzling, really, as the individually named guy is one of the more likable dating game characters. Sure, he's still a hopeless philanderer who smells a possible date at any corner, but at least he's depicted as compassionate about his fellow human beings, genuinely triing to help out is friends and showing respect towards the ladies, contrary to the sociopathic jerks of FEW's Booking Man, for example. Reading the novel parts of the game therefore is actually quite entertaining, it's only that there's not much more to it in the "simulation" part.

To promote the title, SKC held a competition were the main prize winners got a real life date with models casted to fill in as four of the female characters from the game11. As one of Korea's first dating sims, Campus Love Story was apparently quite popular, as it spawned a sequel the following year and also a WAP-based remake by Wizard Soft, released June 25, 2001.12 Wizard Soft reported a million accesses by 10,000 individual users within the first ten days of service.13

The models from the competition.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Namil Soft

Publisher:

SKC

Director:

Park Giseong

Genre:

Interactive Novel
Simulation

Theme:

Contemporary: Urban


Campus Love Story (Windows)

Campus Love Story (Windows)

Campus Love Story (Windows)

Campus Love Story (Windows)




나의 신부 (Na-ui Sinbu): Campus Love Story the Next Generation / My Bride - Windows (December (1998)

Advertisement

At the end of Campus Love Story the protagonist had the chance to marry his girlfriend, and My Bride picks of where the former game left. Therefore the game is more of a "marriage simulation" than a dating sim, similar to Ecstasy's Newly Weds.

In the beginning one gets to chose the bride from the four main female characters of Campus Love Story, some of which got dramatically changed for a more manga-esque style. Then the couple proceeds to buy a house and move in. Outside of events the game runs actually in real time, with a seperate window always displaying the house with the visible daytime and weather. One also gets to move around the house in old first person point&click adventure style. The interface, however, is overly cryptic and hard to get into.

My Bride (Windows)

Quick Info:

Developer:

Namil Soft

Publisher:

SKC

Director:

Ha Gyeonghyeon

Genre:

Interactive Novel
Simulation


My Bride (Windows)

My Bride (Windows)



개미맨 (Gaemi Man 2) / Antman 2 - Windows (1999)

Antman 2 was developed by Gravity in cooperation with Namil Soft, and is introduced at the Gravity profile.

Antman 2 (Windows)


내친구 박세리 (Nae Chingu Pak Seri) / My Friend, Seri-Pak - Windows (December 1999)


Cover

One would think, if someone gets a world-famous golf champion like Pak Seri to sign for a title, they'd make it a golf simulation. But this game by Wizard Soft and XYZ Entertainment is almost "everything but..." The main game is a side-scrolling action game were Pak's SD likeness demolishes all kinds of animals and robots with her golf club to free the way to the goal. The stages start out straightforward, but branch out into mazes soon. The clunky controls don't lend themselves to platforming very well, which becomes an issue in the 3rd stage, where pixel-perfect jumps are a necessity.

The spaces in between stages are filled by various mini games, in which Seri has to ride a ball-shooting golf cart or play whack-a-mole. There is also one tiny mini golf sequence, and boring golf trivia is displayed in the loading screens.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Wizard Soft

Publisher:

Wizard Soft

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling


Nae Chin'gu Pak Seri (Windows)

Nae Chin'gu Pak Seri (Windows)



Shayam (샤이암) - Windows (March 15, 2000)

Wallpaper

Not much is passed down on Wizard Soft's first MMORPG. Apparently it was set in a postapocalyptic fantasy/cyberpunk world.

Killride is generally regarded as the game's spiritual sequel, even though it was produced by E-Norisoft with no mentioning of Wizard Soft.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Wizard Soft

Publisher:

Wizard Soft

Planning:

Min Kyoungyong

Designer:

Kim Kyoungwook
Kwon Gyongman

Genre:

MMORPG


Shayam (Windows)

Shayam (Windows)


Forgotten Saga 2 Online (포가튼 사가2 온라인) / AD Quest - Windows (April 1, 2001 [open beta]; December 11, 2002)

Poster

The sequel to Forgotten Saga didn't have much in common with the first game. It wasn't even developed by Sonnori, anymore, but in license by staff at Wizard Soft. Nonetheless Forgotten Saga 2 Online enjoyed some popularity. The game ran until February 28, 2007. Afterwards, many fans seeked out the Japanese version, which survived its Korean counterpart by several years with the title AD Quest.

Poster

Quick Info:

Developer:

Wizard Soft

Publisher:

Wizard Soft

Genre:

MMORPG

Theme:

Fantasy


Forgotten Saga 2 Online (Windows)

Forgotten Saga 2 Online (Windows)



Character Artwork



쥬라기원시전2 (Jyuragi Weonsijeon II) / Jurassic Era Primitive War II / Primitive Wars - Windows (May 24, 2001)

쥬라기 원시전2 : 더랭커 (Jyuragi Weonsijeon II: The Ranker) / Jurassic War II: The Ranker - Windows (November 21, 2001)

The sequel to the prehistoric RTS by TRiC shows undeniable influence by Starcraft. The result is a much more typical RTS, ressources don't have to be hunted manually, anymore, but are harvested automatically. Soldiers can still pick up meat from killed animals, but is is used simply for healing. Weapons and armor aren't equipped individually, instead once researched give a bonus to all corresponding troops.

The eight merging clans, the most peculiar feature of the first game, also have been replaced by four RTS races in the standard sense. Back are the primitive humans and the Tyrano, which now don't just ride on dinosaurs, but are retconned into antropomorphic lizards themselves. A sorceress unit from the original is expanded into its own race of elves, while the demons are entirely new.

The game has been released in Europe as Primitive Wars by Arxel Tribes. More than a year after the game's release, Wizard Soft has put out the expansion The Ranker.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Wizard Soft

Publisher:

Wizard Soft

Genre:

RTS

Theme:

Fantasy
Prehistoric




방귀대장 뿡뿡이 (Banggwi Daejang Ppungppungi) - Windows (September 27, 2001)

"Fart Master Ppungppungi", first aired March 2000 EBS, has to be the weirdest kiddie TV Show ever. The main character is a deformed orange monster doll, who suffers from constant flatulence and likes it. Wizard Soft produced the obligatory kiddie platformer based on the license.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Wizard Soft

Publisher:

Wizard Soft

Genre:

Platforming

Theme:

Licensed


Banggwi Daejang Ppungppungi (Windows)

Banggwi Daejang Ppungppungi (Windows)



꾸러기 더키 (Kkureogi Ducky) / Ducky the Perky - Windows (May 2, 2002)

Ducky the Perky was a CGI animated TV program for kiddies in 2001. Queue Wizard Soft for the uninspired kiddie platformer one year later.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Wizard Soft

Publisher:

Wizard Soft

Genre:

Platforming

Theme:

Licensed




공룡짱 쥬키 (Gongryong Jjang Jyuki) / Dino King Juki - Windows (September 9, 2002)

Cover

A mini compilation full to the brim with cutesy dinosaurs. Contrary to what one would expect not a tie-in with any consumerist franchise.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Wizard Soft

Publisher:

Wizard Soft

Genre:

Mini Games

Theme:

Prehistoric


Dino King Juki (Windows)



Unreleased Titles:

Mental Drain (1995)

Eunha Daejeon (1997)

Tragon (1998-1999)

Religio of Jurassic (2002)


References
1. Computer Hakseup 3/1989, page 69
2. Computer Hakseup 3/1989, page 84-85
3. PC World 8/1992, page 63
4. Namil Soft trademark info
5. Amuseworld 6/1999, page 113
6. Job News: Wizard Soft company info (archived)
7. Wizard Soft America business profile
8. Mini Today News 12/1/2004
9. Edaily News 3/17/2005
10. Gyeonghyang Sinmun 3/13/1996, page 29
11. GameCom 9/1997, page 37
12. Gameshot 6/25/2001
13. Gameshot 7/27/2001

Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

Back to the Index