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A History of Korean Gaming

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트윔 TWIM / 트윔넷 TWIMnet

Founded:

January 1989

Status:

defunct

Key People:


President

Website:

www.twim.co.kr (offline)
www.twimnet.com (offline)


TWIM (short for the modest name The World Is Mine) was kinda famous for the Taito game-inspired Tonko series, but failed to produce anything wildly successful. Before they started making games, TWIM developed a database engine and a POS System in their early years1. Even after TWIM became a game developer, they continued to produce various kinds of software, like educational programs or a tonko1-themed sticker printing studio2.

On April 15th, 1999 the company changed names to TWIMNet and started to concentrate their activity to a gaming portal site. Among their contract partners were EA, so TWIMNet became the official online match service for the FIFA and Command & Conquer series. TWIMNet went offline in 2004.


Games

파더월드 (Father World) - IBM PC (January 1994)

Advertisement

Sounds like Another World, looks like Another World, plays like Another World. Only not quite as good and polished, despite several delays in development (many sources on the web still list it as a 1993 release because of early announcements).

Not everything in Father World is copied, though, and the game puts much more emphasis on dialogues and sidequests than the streamlined and quiet Another World. Because of its non-linearity, the level structure feels cluttered at times and it's easy to get lost in the multi-layered 2D world.

TWIM reported that they sold about 5,000 copies of the game3.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIM

Publisher:

TWIM

Genre:

Action
Adventure

Theme:

Parallel Worlds


Father World (IBM PC)

Father World (IBM PC)



의적 임꺽정 (Euijeok: Im Kkeokjeong) / Qi Xia Wu Yi 3D / Rock 'n Shaolin: Legend of the Seven Paladins 3D - IBM PC (1994)

Korean Cover

Now Euijeok: Im Kkeokjeong actually is a Taiwanese game, by a company named Accend. 3D Realms was negotiating a deal with the Asian company for their Build Engine, but according to 3D realms staff, the contract didn't came to be, and they thought Accend never developed more than a demo based on their engine4.

Turns out, though, that they not only finished the project (which makes Legend of the Seven Paladins the first commercially released build engine game world wide), but even licensed it out further to the Koreans, which adjusted some graphics and the story to squeeze the game into a Korean historical setting. TWIM was responsible for the adjustments, while SKC published the product.

Screenshots are taken from Accend's English demo version.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Accend

Localization:

TWIM

Publisher:

SKC

Genre:

Action: 1st Person


Legend of the Seven Paladins 3D (IBM PC)

Legend of the Seven Paladins 3D (IBM PC)


통코 (Tonko) - IBM PC (December 1994)

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The least peculiar of TWIM's early games also became their most successful one, and the Tonko franchise is practically what kept TWIM above water for most of their time. The first entry in the series works like a classical single screen action platformer, only the view is zoomed in so much that the stages actually don't fit on a single screen, anymore.

Typical for the genre, though, is the game's simplicity in every aspect: The yellow goblin(?) Tonko has to whack ghosts of various prominent villains on the head with his hammer, such as Dracula or Hitler. And while he's at it, all of their minions, too, all the while listening to remixed public domain music. A stage usually ends when all enemies are defeated, but certain pickup items have also the same effect. The terrible controls and hit detection suck most of the fun that could be had out of the game, though.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIM

Publisher:

Nesco

Genre:

Action


Tonko (IBM PC)

Tonko (IBM PC)



마거스 (Magus): White Magic in Castalia - IBM PC (October 1995)

Cover Art

With Magus, TWIM proved one more time that they could produce some of the most atypical games for the Korean marktet, this time because they actually anticipated a development that would become en vogue in the West only years later.

At a first glance the game might look like a simple Warcraft clone. Rather than base building and resource management, however, Magus focused on quest-like problem solving with limited forces on a somewhat linear map, similar to the few dungeon stages in the first Warcraft. To that formula, TWIM added experience and spell systems, combat with individual hero characters at their center and occasional dialogues to create what might be the world's first RTSRPG.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIM

Publisher:

Samsung

Genre:

Strategy

Theme:

Fantasy


Magus (IBM PC)



통코 2 (Tonko 2) - Windows (1996)

On to his second adventure, it appears that Tonko has lost his maul, thus he has to make his way through the sequel avoiding his enemies, Tonko 2 is a pure blood puzzle platformer. The poor goblin isn't even able to jump anymore, leaving climbing ladders, hiding in garbage bins and flushing himself down the toilets as the only means to defend himself. That's one filthy little goblin.

The resolution has been raised to 640x480 for TWIM's first Windows game, and each stage now fits on a single screen, with the goal always being to reach the exit, sometimes after unlocking several doors with colored keys to get there. Almost all the challenges are based on timing, and especially the first ten or so stages require patience more than anything else. Fortunately, the game can be saved at any stage, so there's no need to ever replay that boring beginning. Afterwards, the game becomes fairly challenging, but never unfair.

Tonko 2 doesn't look nearly as hideous as some stages in the first game, but it is still a mixed bag, visually. The sprites and objects all look adorable, but some of the backgrounds show all to much that they've been downsampled from a higher color depth. The soundtrack is midi-based, but it sports colorful enough tunes to overcome the trashy Windows 95 flair.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIM

Publisher:

Nesco

Genre:

Puzzle
Action: Side-Scrolling




통코 3 (Tonko 3) - Windows (December 1997)

Cover Art

Tonko 3 seeks to strike a middle ground between the first two games. Trash cans and toilets are back, but so is the hammer, and with it several other powerful weapons. More often than not it's still more effective to play hide-and-seek with the bugs and other enemies, as Tonko still dies with but a single hit, and he always loses his valuable weapon in the process.

The game is still divided between screens, but now it is possible and sometimes necessary to go back, as puzzle solutions lie stretched out over multiple screens.

In concept, Tonko 3 seems like the most wholesome of the series, but it takes a step back from its direct predecessor in more than one aspect. The music sounds much less inspired, now really reminiscent of cheap Win95 demo midis, and the physics don't seem well thought out at all. It is not possible to pick up floating coins by jumping from the ground, even if Tonko's sprite is clearly touching them. Worse are the moving platforms, though, as Tonko doesn't move along when standing on them. That doesn't only feel awkward, it also makes many platforming passages a big nuisance.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIM

Genre:

Puzzle
Action


Tonko 3 (Windows)

Tonko 3 (Windows)


캣캅 (Cat Cop) - Windows (1998)

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Point&Click adventures have always been a rare genre in Korea, so Cat Cop was a welcome addition to the tiny pool. Or was it? Admittedly, it is not quite certain if the game has ever been released to the public. The game has been at least far enough to be approved for a 12-and-up rating at the Korean rating board in March 1998, but it is missing prominently in the magazine PC Champ's yearly release retrospect5. However, TWIM developed Cat Cop in cooperation with Dacom's Cheollian division, provider of one of Korean's big web portals, who awarded 10 copies of the game disc to winners of a raffle to commemorate Cheollian's second anniversary6.

Either way the game seems lost now. Which is a shame, as the premise alone promises comedic adventure gold: The protagonist is a cat (duh!), who strived to become a private detective ever since he watched the great Sherlock Holmes work. (He was born in 1927, which makes him really old for a cat. The VW Beetle seen in the screenshots wasn't built before 1938) Judging by the shown screenshots and previews in magazines, the writers took the idea of an antropomorphic, Sherlok Holmes imitating cat surprisingly serious, which could have provided for numerous WTF moments. The interface apparently was inspired by the later Lucas Arts games, as can be seen on the third screenshot to the left.

Kim Hyeoncheol, 3D character designer at Naru Entertainment (Chingizkhan Online) once stated Cat Cop as his entry into the industry7.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIM
Cheollian

Publisher:

Dacom

Genre:

Adventure

Theme:

Protagonist: Anthropomorph
Protagonist: Cop


Cat Cop (Windows)

Cat Cop (Windows)



통코 4 (Tonko 4) - Windows (July 1999)

Budget Release Cover

Tonko's back for one last adventure, and this time he's in 3D. Yet the stages don't really take much advantage of the added dimension, while the controls take all the disadvantage they could find (think Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon in terms of depht-perceptive awkwardness).

For a game released in late 1998, Tonko 4 is also a tad too primitive. The stages are little less than just straight roads and there's no reason to not just run past most enemies. Metallic balls open the way to bonus stages that look like they want to be in 2.5D, but it is still possible to walk back and forward on the depth axis, although it doesn't make any sense to do so.

Not to forget the various graphical glitches, heavy clipping errors are of the least concern here. Flickering in the back and disappearing textures make the game hard to play for all the wrong reasons. Players who come far without the game crashing can consider themselves lucky, too.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIM

Publisher:

Anicom

Genre:

Action: 3rd Person


Tonko 4 (Windows)

Tonko 4 (Windows)



이지사커 (EZ Soccer) - Windows (2004)

The online Soccer game was TWIMnet's only "big" in-house development for their own online gaming portal.

Quick Info:

Developer:

TWIMNet

Publisher:

Sunny YNK

Genre:

Sports




Other Online Games - Windows (1996-1999)

TWIM also took part in development of several early online games, which are lost in history now: Ocean (1996, cooperation with I-Net), Server Combat (1998, cooperation with Dacom) and Battle Tetris (1999).


Unreleased Titles:

디스토션 (Distortion) (1995)

Virtual Basketball (1995)

비스트마스터 (Beast Master) (1996-1997)


References
1. Kyunghyang Shinmun 8/8/1995, page 29
2. Gamepia 4/1998, advertisement
3. Kyunghyang Shinmun 8/8/1995, page 29
4. JonoF's Games and Stuff - Legend of the Seven Paladins
5. PC Champ 3/1999, page 182
6. Cheollian Boards 5/18/1998
7. Kyunghyang Games - Interview with Kim Hyeoncheol 2/5/2007


Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

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