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A History of Korean Gaming

Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

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대형웍스 Daehyeong Works / 게임파크 Gamepark

Founded:

May 16, 1996

Status:

defunct (December 31, 2006)

Key People:

:
CEO
:
vice-president, CEO

Website:

www.gamepark.com (offline)


게임파크홀딩스 Gamepark Holdings / GPH

Founded:

April 28, 2004

Status:

defunct (March 23, 2013)

Key People:


CEO

Website:

www.globalgph.com (offline)
www.gp2x.co.kr (offline)
www.fungp.co.kr (offline)


겜브라스 Gambros

Founded:

March 17, 2007

Status:

abandoned handheld business

Key People:

:
CEO
:
vice-president

Website:

www.gambros.co.kr


Gamepark Inc. started as Daehyeong Works, the developer of what could have been Korea's first (online) FPS, the unreleased Survival Online1. Afterwards Gamepark was involved with the development of military simulation software in cooperation with Taff System2, before reforming as Gamepark and starting R&D for a wireless network game handheld June 19983. After a few failed concepts (at a time the handheld was supposed to be called Bing-Go and come with a Starcraft-clone called "Mini-Craft")2, first prototypes of the GP32 were shown at E3 and KAMEX (Korea Amuse World Game Expo) in 20004. On November 23, 2001 the device was finally released and became the first somewhat wide-spread open source gaming handheld. The selection of official titles was sparse, compared to more mainstream handhelds. GamePark managed to publish more than two dozen commercial games—first boxed on memory cards, from early 2003 onwards predominantly sold as downloads through the portal MegaGP5—but the strength of the system was the homebrew sector. Ports like Doom and Beats of Rage were offered for free by Gamepark, but many more games and emulators are freely available on the web. There were at least 7 more announced commercial games in development that got canceled6.

Originally released without any light source for the screen, a front-lit variant (dubbed FLU) was introduced in 2002, and a back-lit unit (BLU) in 2004. The latter actually was first released in Europe, mainly through the Spanish company Virginplay (after plans for a European release had been getting delayed since summer 2003), and became available in Korea afterwards.7. All seemed to be going well, until Gamepark started getting into trouble when Samsung halted the production of the screen used for the GP32. The company shifted to a taiwanese-produced backlit screen for the BLU, which ended up causing compatibility problems. Those were eventually resolved, but the stream of commercial software had already begun to dry up8. Soon a split occured at the company, from which Gamepark Holdings emerged under the leadership of the former marketing division chief Yi Beomhong, engaging in direct competition with their former coworkers with the GP2X9.

The old Gamepark in the meantime made plans for a successor to their handheld, but spread their budget thin by introducing three models with different hardware specifications, without ever releasing any of them. The web shop for the GP32 closed on September 16, 200610, and Gamepark finally filed for bancruptcy on December 3111. Key staff of the defunct company went on to found Gambros, which showed a new handheld (although at least the shell made it look like it was based on the scrapped Gamepark XGP kids model) called Dinkii in July 200712, and the nXGP in 200913, but neither saw the light of day. Gambros' homepage is still online, but the company now seems to deal with networking technology.

Gamepark Holdings (renamed to GPH on April 8, 2010) was more successful to put out their devices, although there initially wasn't much of an effort in terms of software—or at least games, as the three iterations of the GP2X that were released between 2005 and early 2009 were soon bundled with the English language trainer software Voca Master14. Exclusive games shouldn't appear until the fourth model, dubbed Wiz. Besides remakes of old Korean PC titles by Bitmage, GPH also acquired a 1st party studio for original games, Dogma-G, in March 200915 to push the hardware. However, both combined made it to no more than three released titles (two of which were bundled together in one package, including five licensed emulated arcade oldies), while the homebrew scene thrived once again.

That was supposed to change with the Caanoo, GPH's fifth and final piece of hardware. GPH was aiming high: In the "Dream of 1%" campaign, the company declared its commitment to conquer exactly that share of the world-wide game handheld market16. Advertising the hardware together with the new online shop FunGP, GPH now bet on digital distribution, which led to a significantly more steady flow of official software. But the lack of software compatibility with the Wiz at almost identical hardware specs (save for a tilt sensor and a proper USB connector for wireless LAN support) only helped to split and confuse the target group between the devices, and a few questionable design decisions (the display frame covered some of the pixels) hurt the popularity even more. Without any official announcements, both FunGP and the company homepage disappeared in spring 2011. According to an European distributor, GPH had already given up hardware development by February that year17. On March 23, 2013, GPH officially closed18.


Games

Dungeon & Guarder (던전앤가더): Dragon Gore - GP32 (March 11, 2002), GXG (March 10, 2006)

Advertisement

There is no description for this game yet. If you happen to own/have played it and want to contribute, please get in touch on the forums.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Gamepark

Publisher:

Gamepark

Genre:

Beat-'em-Up

Theme:

Fantasy


Rally Pop! (GP32)


리틀위자드 (Little Wizard) - GP32 (March 12, 2002)

Cover

There is no description for this game yet. If you happen to own/have played it and want to contribute, please get in touch on the forums.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Gamepark

Publisher:

Gamepark

Genre:

Fighting

Theme:

Comical Fantasy


Little Wizard (GP32)


랠리팝 (Rally Pop!) - GP32 (March 13, 2002)

Cover

There is no description for this game yet. If you happen to own/have played it and want to contribute, please get in touch on the forums.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Gamepark

Publisher:

Gamepark

Genre:

Strategy


Rally Pop! (GP32)


보물섬 (Bomulseom) / Woody & Kunta: Treasure Island - GP32 (March 14, 2002)

Cover

There is no description for this game yet. If you happen to own/have played it and want to contribute, please get in touch on the forums.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Gamepark

Publisher:

Gamepark

Genre:

Puzzle


Treasure Island (GP32)


프로피스 Propis - GP2X Wiz (January 15, 2010), GP2X Caanoo (August 17, 2010)

There is no description for this game yet. If you happen to own/have played it and want to contribute, please get in touch on the forums.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Dogma-G

Publisher:

GPH

Genre:

Puzzle


Propis (GP2X Wiz)


리드모스 Rhythmos - GP2X Caanoo (August 17, 2010), GP2X Wiz (October 28, 2010)

Artwork

There is no description for this game yet. If you happen to own/have played it and want to contribute, please get in touch on the forums.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Dogma-G

Publisher:

GPH

Genre:

Rhythm


Rhythmos (Caanoo)


혈십자 FC (Hyeolsipja FC) / Asura Cross - Caanoo (December 30, 2010), iOS (November 20, 2012), Android (January 22, 2013)

This game was developed by Byulbram in cooperation with Dogma-G, and is introduced in the Byulbram profile.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Byulbram
Dogma-G

Publisher:

GPH (Caanoo)
Gamevil (Smartphones)

Genre:

Fighting



위즈파티 (Wiz Party) - GP2X Caanoo (April 20, 2011)

There is no description for this game yet. If you happen to own/have played it and want to contribute, please get in touch on the forums.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Dogma-G

Publisher:

GPH

Genre:

Mini Games



References
1. Gamepark - Company Info (archived 4/26/2006)
2.a b Gamespot Korea - Self Story: Gamepark's Jeon Hyounggun (1)
3. http://stockall.co.kr/company/view/view1.php?num=3489
4. Gameshot 12/23/2000 (KAMEX 2000 coverage)
5. Gameshot 2/21/2009
6. Known are the vertical shooter Snow White (of which there was a demo available), the RPG Gangcheol-ui Mabeopsa (by the developers of Gransta Chronicle for Wonderswan Color), the 2D platformer Tales of Windyland, Darkside Story R, a remake of the classic Sonnori game, a port of Joymax' Tangoo & Ullashong, TTGO Race by Topnysoft and Cutey Fatty, a port of the arcade shoot-'em-up by Wecom.
7. Game Dong-A 6/28/2004
8. Byulbram Blog 11/10/2009
9. Digital Times 9/9/2010
10. Gamepark - Notice (archived 10/26/2006)
11. Pockett 3/6/2006 (French)
12. Gambros - Company History
13. Inven 7/18/2009
14. Vocamaster - Company History
15. This Is Game 3/4/2009
16. iNews24 8/9/2010
17. EvilDragon on Open Handhelds Forum 9/15/2011 (German)
18. Korean Wikipedia - Gamepark Holdings


Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

Back to the Index