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A History of Korean Gaming

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제일컴퓨터 Cheil Computer System / First Amusement

Founded:

1993

Status:

defunct

Key People:


President

Website:

none


세미콤 Semicom

Founded:

1994

Status:

left video game business (ca. 2005)

Key People:

전재연 Jeon Jaeyun:
CEO

Website:

www.semicom.com


Cheil Computer appeared on the scene during the second half of 1993 as an arcade game manufacturer. Their later games went under the label First Amusement1.

Afterwards, the arcade development team apparently split from the company to reform as Semicom. Jeil became an online game developer2 and worked on several network games, but apparently didn't last for very long. Semicom, however, continued to produce dozens of arcade games until 2001, when they switched to gambling machines altogether.

Around the same time Semicom took over the distribution and support for Jarinkobi's CNM series (an office management suite)3, which apparently has since become the company's sole source of income.

Until 1995, Cheil Computer's and Semicom's arcade games were published by a company called Mijin Computer.


Games

Final Tetris (파이날테트리스) - Arcade (1993)

The first game by Jeon Jaeyun and his team was a simple Tetris clone. Or maybe not so simple, as it is designed as a competetive 2-player game with some advanced rules and special blocks.

Both players chose from a cast of eight characters (apparently, Michael Jackson was the epitome of popular in 1990's Korea, too), who then occupy the lower part of the screen to harrass each other with special moves each time a player does something special, like deleting multiple rows at a time. While it is possible to make the opponent lose by clogging the whole play field, there is a strict time limit and most rounds will be decided by the status of the characters' life bars. How those are reduced isn't always transparent, though, which can lead to much frustration.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Cheil Computer

Publisher:

Mijin Computer

Genre:

Puzzle



BriXian (브릭션) - Arcade (1993)

BriXian is a Puzznic clone, but a bit more dynamic than the original. Most of the levels have elevators that are crucial to the solution, and every stage comes with a severe time limit.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Cheil Computer

Publisher:

Mijin Computer

Genre:

Puzzle



Metal Saver (메탈세이버) - Arcade, IBM PC (1994)

Cheil Computer's contribution to the ever popular single screen arcade action platformer genre. Just like Bub & Bob from Bubble Bobble and all their other colleagues in similar games, the martial artist Hanbit and the heavily armed Narae clear out level after level by destroying all enemies on screen, of course not without the aid of countless powerups left over by the defeated.

Every few stages awaits a boss, where the different abilities of the two characters come in handy. The whole game is conceived as a co-op experience, but not always are the mechanics thought out well. The female character isn't even able to beat the first stage on her own for lack of a low attack, unless she has the luck of an enemy dropping the flame thrower for her.

There was also a demo version for PCs, which was never released as a finished product. It plays out quite differently and almost feels like an early beta version of the arcade game. It's also brutally hard, as it basically forces players to 1cc the game with the lack of credits.

Quick Info:

Developer:

First Amusement

Publisher:

Mijin Computer

Genre:

Action: Single Screen


Metal Saver (Arcade)


Cheil Computer Network Games - IBM PC (1994)

Already before its Arcade team left the company, Cheil Computer started to restructure and focus on online games. They announced a lot of games all at once, but none can be confirmed to have been finished.

The only games ever shown in magazines were Tank Survival (title screen only) and Super Funny Ball, which looks suspicously like Semicom's first baseball game in the arcades. Only mentioned in name were Final Tetris II, Action Pee & Gity (apparently an online multiplayer version of the Family Production game), Lost World, Je-1 Gonghwaguk ("First Republic"), the Janggi-based board game Mureung Doweon and 3D Survival.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Cheil Computer

Publisher:

Cheil Computer



쵸키쵸키 (Choky! Choky!) - Arcade (1994)

A Pang clone for two players. The goal is to deplete the opponent's energy by shooting the balls over to their side, while avoiding getting hit oneself. There are four characters to chose from, all bringing with them a unique spriteset for the balls.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Mijin Computer

Genre:

Action: Single Screen



매직볼파이팅 (Magic Ball Fighting) - Arcade (1994)

원더리그스타 (Wonder League Star: Sok-Magicball Fighting) - Arcade (1995)

원더리그96 (Wonder League '96) - Arcade (1996)

무한승부 (Muhan Seungbu) - Arcade (1997)

One of Semicom's main staples during the company's early years was a series of baseball games. Fonts and screen composition in the first entry appear very similar to Super Funny Ball, announced originally by Cheil Computer, so it seems likely the development team took the project with them when they left their former company and produced this as the final version of that game.

Wonder League Star in the next year took a more realistic visual style, yet it clinged to crazy stuff like super deformed penguins running around the playfield. More games were released with a yearly schedule until 1997, each time with a slightly changed style to make it worth the update

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Mijin Computer
Semicom

Genre:

Sports



해치캐치 (Hatch Catch) - Arcade (1995)

A puzzle game similar to Magical Drop.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Mijin Computer

Genre:

Puzzle



쿠키앤비비 (Cookie & Bibi) Series - Arcade (1995-1997)

알앤비 (R&B): Rety & Bluemi - Arcade (1998)

Taking famous franchises and copying them almost exactly with just a different graphical layout has always been a very common practice in the Korean arcade business. The three Cookie & Bibi games of course are derivates of Puzzle Bobble / Bust a Move, replacing Bub and Bob with a duo of squirrels.

Though not an official part of the series, the laterR&B seems to follow the exact same template.

R&B (Arcade)

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Semicom

Genre:

Puzzle

Theme:

Protagonist: Animal



하이퍼팩맨 (Hyper Pacman) - Arcade (1995)

트윙클 (Twinkle) - Arcade (1997)

트윙클II (Twinkle II) - Arcade (1998)

Hyper Pacman is - of course - a Pac-Man remake with breakable walls, a laser helmet, x-ray goggles and more crazy stuff.

The game received an update with Twinkle , but apparently, Semicom has gotten a bit more careful concerning copyright issues, thus dropping the Pacman name.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Semicom

Genre:

Action: Single Screen



카켓볼 (Carket Ball) - Arcade (1996)

Billiards and card games.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Semicom

Genre:

Billiards



토피앤래피 (Toppy & Rappy) - Arcade (1996)

Toppy & Rappy (Arcade)

Toppy & Rappy can be seen as a sucessor in spirit to Metal Saver, although it seems inferior to the two years older game in many ways. Not only does it run in a lower resolution, but the art style is very inconsistent between sprites and backgrounds as well.

Once again one male and one female character are used as protagonists, but this time they have equal abilities and only differ in their looks. Instead of grabbing powerups directly, the two gather money by defeating enemies, which is used to buy weapons and ammunition in a shop between stages.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Semicom

Genre:

Action: Single Screen


Toppy & Rappy (Arcade)


에스디파이터즈 (SD Fighters) - Arcade (1996)

큐트파이터 (Cute Fighter) - Arcade (1998)

SD Fighters is a fighting game with eight super deformed characters. The 3-button control scheme is more typical for 3D fighters like Virtua Fighter. Cute, but not very deep and rather stiff to play.

In 1998 Semicom released an update called Cute Fighter, with new stages and characters for a total of 12.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Semicom

Publisher:

Semicom

Genre:

Fighting

Theme:

Wacky



References
1. Game World 12/1993, page 133
2. PC Advance 8/1994, page 219
3. Semicom Homepage (archived 3/31/2001)


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