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A History of Korean Gaming

Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

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타프시스템 Taff System / 엔틱스 소프트 Ntix Soft

Founded:

February 1990

Status:

dissolved (2005)

Key People:

:
CEO (1992-2003)
박승환 Park Seunghwan
CEO (August 2003-March 2005)
박징환 Park Jinghwan:
CEO (March 2005-?)
오승택 O Seungtaek:
CEO (2005)

Website:

www.taff.co.kr (offline)
www.ntixsoft.com (offline)


레드덕 Red Duck

Founded:

February 1, 2006

Status:

active

Key People:

오승택 O Seungtaek:
CEO (2006-today)

Website:

www.redduck.com


Prior to the establishment of Taff System, founder president Jeong Jaeyeong spent a number of years in Japan, from 1988 to 1992, keeping himself alive with various jobs, from factory work to an employment at Studio Pierrot. Finally, he found his destiny in game development, joined SNK as an intern and helped develop Sengoku Denshou. (In the credits, Moonmin sounds like an alias for a Korean, which would make him the co-director of the game, although that identification is not backed by hard facts.) Because he didn't have any capital to speak of, Jeong mortgaged his TV and VCR to rent a cheap office room a friend had used as an atelier. The first computer where Taff games were programmed on was borrowed from another friend's mother, and had to be given back whenever she decided she would need it.1

In the game sector, they were most famous for their series of fishing simulations, but Taff System weren't content with creating only games, but in result of Cycle Force programmer Lee Gijeong's interest in 3D simulations also programmed a professional military simulation software that was actually used by the Korean army for a long time2. They also created CGI animations for advertisement purposes.

The company was bought by the online gaming portal provider Neowiz in 2003, and renamed to Ntix Soft in March 20043. In November 2005 Ntix was sold to the bio venture company EnviTech4 (later to be bought once again by Hepahope Korea), but its game development division split from the company and reformed once again as the Neowiz-owned studio Red Duck5.

In 2009, another company claiming the legacy of Taff was founded, Ntaff. The CEO had worked on the Virtual Deep Sea Fishing games, but Ntaff's first and so far only game - the smart phone app Zombie Panic - doesn't betray its origin much. The company also announced a fishing game for smart phones in 2011, but there were no more news afterwards.


Games

Edutainment Titles - IBM PC, Windows (1994-1996)

One of the first projects Taff was involved in was an English learning program for kids, called Tamheom! Yeongeo Nara (탐험!영어나라)6, released in late 1994. This was followed up in 1996 by another edutainment product that taught Korean letters, Wah~ Han'geul-i Boinda (와~한글이보인다).

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Woongjin Media

Genre:

Edutainment




K1탱크 (K-1 Tank) - IBM PC (November 1994)

Advertisement

Taff System's "proper" debut was the tank battle simulation that possibly opened the company the doors to get a contract for professional military simulation software.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Nesco

Genre:

Simulation

Theme:

Military


K-1 Tank (IBM PC)



낚시광 (Nakksigwang) Series - IBM PC (1994-1996)

The adaption of Korea's (then) men's hobby no. 1 solely made Taff System one of the most well known names among gamers during the mid-90s. This was before the time of engaging 3D simulations and realtime weather effects, so the actual process is about as laid-back as real fishing. Nakksigwang's strength therefore lies in the preparations leading to the main event, where up to the thickness of the hook used every little detail is up to the discretion of the player.

The game was such a big success that its title almost became synonymous with "angling simulation" for a time. Taff delivered two sequels in 1996, first Nakksigwang 2 and later Nakksigwang Special; the latter was the company's first CD-ROM title with an extended database of fish and angling spots in Korea in high resolution (whereas the game itself uses the same graphics as its predecessor). A more modern series focused on open sea fishing called Daemul Nakksigwang followed later (see below).

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Nesco

Genre:

Fishing Simulation


Nakksigwang (IBM PC)



못말리는탈옥범 (Monmallineun Tarokbeom) - IBM PC (February 1996)

Cover

It's prison break time! Monmallineun Tarokbeom combines two genres one wouldn't think they fit together that well. And they don't, at least not in this package. The road to freedom is taken in "adventure mode", which is largely inspired by Prince of Persia. Here the convict protagonist has to avoid guards and searchlights while taking care not to drop to his death in the architecturally worst prison ever.

At certain points the game switches into "action mode", a fighting game that looks very nice (behold the Street Fighter II parody below) but controls atrociously. The two sections feel very disconnected, so much that the publisher of later, shady re-releases decided to sell the game divided into its parts.

Monmallineun Tarokbeom (IBM PC)

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Multi-City

Genre:

Platforming
Fighting

Theme:

Crime


Monmallineun Tarokbeom (IBM PC)

Monmallineun Tarokbeom (IBM PC)



싸이클포스 (Cycle Force) - IBM PC (April 1996)

Advertisement

For decades, Korea and Japan have disputed each other's sovereignty over a group of islets, the Liancourt Rocks7. In Cycle Force, that dispute has escalated into a full-on naval war between the two countries. Japan sends a whole fleet of aircraft carriers and other war machinery, Korea sends — a flying bycicle.

The game looks similar to After Burner and other such sprite-based pseudo 3D arcade shooters by Sega.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Nesco

Genre:

Shoot-'em-Up: Rail


Cycle Force (IBM PC)

Cycle Force (IBM PC)



大物낚시광 (대물 낚시광, Daemul Nakksigwang) / Angling the Giant / Virtual Deep Sea Fishing Series - Windows, Mobile (1998-2010)

The full 3D reboot of Taff's fishing simulation series takes players to the great sea. Instead of ordinary trouts and basses the main targets here are much bigger fish, up to enormous tuna and even white sharks, so the alternative English title Angling the Giant isn't an exaggeration at all. When Interplay released the game in the US, however, they chose the more eloquent—but also more boring— title Virtual Deep Sea Fishing.

The game was followed with two sequels in May 2000 (Ready to Fish: Angling the Giant 2) and February 2002, the latter of which unfortunately didn't make it stateside, anymore.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Anicom
Hanbit Soft

Genre:

Fishing Simulation


Daemul Nakksigwang (Windows)

Daemul Nakksigwang 2 (Windows)



붕가붕가 (Boong-Ga Boong-Ga) / Spank 'em! - Arcade (June 2000)

Flyer

In the early 2000s, Boong-Ga Boong-Ga made rounds through the news as "that crazy Japanese butt slapping game". Actually, it was a crazy Korean game, but also popular in Japan thanks to the shared cultural heritage of the ddongchim ("shit strike"), how it is called in Korea, where children stretch out both hands' index fingers as if to fake holding a gun, and then proceed to assault someone's anus.

In the game, the victim for the attack is to be chosen from eight targets, who are meant to symbolize people "that make your life miserable". The list goes: Ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, gangster, mother-in-law, gold digger, prostitute, child molester and con-artist (quite curious that "your boss" is not on the list) and whose suffering faces are then shown omn screen. It is technically a prize game, and it spits out cards that "explain your sexual behaviour." In English the game was advertised as Spank 'em!, but the fake index finger "controller" that belongs to the cabinet betrays the game's true intentions.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Taff System

Genre:

Mini Game


Boong-Ga Boong-Ga (Arcade)



검정 고무신 (Geomjeong Gomusin) - Windows (April 26, 2002)

Advertisement

Based on a popular manhwa and animated TV show, in Geomjeong Gomusin two brothers Giyeong and Gicheol have been [treiben] to an uninhabited island while playing with their boat. Now they have to dodge the local apes' attacks and find a way back home.

The promotional description for the game promised a game for small kids and parents alike, with stages in different genres like puzzle, action or rhythm game.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

Hanbit Soft

Genre:

Action

Theme:

Licensed


Geomjeong Gomusin (Windows)



미니비 (MiniB) - Windows (December 12, 2002)

MiniB is a licensed title as well, this time the original was a series of funny flash animations. The PC game is all but forgotten now, a single known screenshots suggest that it was a sidescrolling brawler. A mobile game based on the license was also made, but that was unrelated to Taff's game.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

X-Infra

Genre:

Beat-'em-Up

Theme:

Licensed




딩아~곤충나라대모험~ (Dinga: Gonchung Nara Daemoheom) - Windows (2002)

Cover

An edutainment title published by X-Infra, in based off a series of CGI web shorts called Geeureun Goyangi Dinga (게으른 고양이 딩가; "Lazy Cat Dinga"). There are no known in-game screenshots, but the instructions screen suggests the game is a platformer.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Taff System

Publisher:

X-Infra

Genre:

Edutainment

Theme:

Licensed


Dinga (Windows)



요구르팅 (Yogurting) - Windows (May 10, 2005)

Poster

Originally announced as Lussiard by Taff in 2003, the long development cycle caused the casual MMORPG much trouble, but it was finally opened for a public beta in November 2005 through NeoWiz, now bearing the silly title Yogurting. The game featured many RPG-atypical events and an episodic "school year" structure.

In September 2006, there was also a mobile adaption released, developed by a company called Gretech8. The original online game was shut down on February 27th, 2007 despite being quite popular.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Ntix Soft
Red Duck

Publisher:

Neowiz

Genre:

MMORPG

Theme:

Fantasy


Yogurting (Windows)

Yogurting (Windows)



A.V.A. (아바): Alliance of Valiant Arms - Windows (October 23, 2007)

Wallpaper

Red Duck's most popular game and the only one still running, the team FPS A.V.A. was first made public in an open beta in summer 2007.

The game that is also available in Japan and the US features a plethora of differnt play modes that go well beyond the standard Counterstrike model, from escort and convoy missions through escape and rescue up to mindless free-for-all games.

A.V.A. was awarded at the Korean Game of the Year Awards (Daehanminguk Game Daesang) 2007 in the categories best game, best graphics and best character design9.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Red Duck

Publisher:

Neowiz

Genre:

Action: 1st Person

Theme:

Military


A.V.A. (Windows)

A.V.A. (Windows)



공박 (Gong Bak) - Windows (November 30, 2007)

An over-the-top online volleyball game. Shut down on April 10, 2009.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Red Duck

Publisher:

Ntreev

Genre:

Sports

Theme:

Wacky


Gong Bak (Windows)



찹스 (Chaps) - Windows (February 20, 2008)

Artwork

A cutesy online 3rd-person shooter. Shut down on April 29, 2009.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Red Duck

Publisher:

Wemade

Genre:

Action: 3rd Person


Chaps (Windows)



Unreleased Titles:

꿈도리 안내 (Kkumdori Annae) (1993)

스피드 업 (Speed Up) (1996)

블랙 위도우 (Black Widow) (1996-1997)

듀레스 (Duress) (1997)

루시아드 (Lussiard) (2003)


References
1. PC Power Zine 8/1999, page 318
2. Kyunghyang Games 3/31/2003. As of 2001, about 60% of their income was made with simulation software for the military. PC Power Zine 12/2001, page 213
3. Kyunghyang Games 8/22/2005
4. Kyunghyang Games 10/28/2005
5. Inven 2/15/2007
6. Jungle 2/1/1999
7. Wikipedia on Liancourt Rocks
8. GG Game 9/1/2006
9. This Is Game 12/12/2007


Table of Contents

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