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A History of Korean Gaming

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Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

Back to the Index

Other Games:

Page 1: 1987-1993

Page 2: 1994

Page 3: 1995

Page 4: 1996

Page 5: 1997


Lost Games Page 3 (1995)

태극문 (Taegeungmun) - IBM PC (1995)

Soft Action is known for shooters and other action games, but that doesn't mean they never worked on any RPGs. Only none of them got ever released. The first known is Taegeungmun, only ever shown by a single character illustration, which suggests a planned Korean historic/fantasy setting1.

Taegeungmun (IBM PC)

Quick Info:

Developer:

Soft Action

Genre:

RPG

Theme:

Fantasy: Far East



Box Ranger Returns (박스레인저 리턴즈) / Box Ranger 2 Betas - IBM PC (1995-1996)

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Yet one more Soft Action game, Box Ranger Returns takes a special place in their unreleased catalogue. Other than all other cancelled works by the company it was listed on their home page among the published games, only not presented with a packshot but a title screen2. The site also claimed a release through Samsung Software in October 1996, but there was also never even an application for an age rating filed for such a game, and the Korean community is pretty much uniform in the verdict that a release didn't take place. The fact that Soft Action clearly distincts it from their other unreleased games, however, suggests that they actually finished Box Ranger Returns and delivered it to Samsung, but it was simply never published. All this is mere speculation, of course.

The game was a top-down quarterview shooter like Zaxxon with 7 stages, all of which were shown already in late 1995, with a release scheduled for November the same year3.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Soft Action

Genre:

Shoot-'em-Up

Theme:

Parody


Box Ranger Returns (IBM PC)


수로부인 (Suro Buin) - IBM PC (1995)

Myst-style 3D render adventure by NoRI ME Arts, the makers of Harp.

Suro Buin (IBM PC)

Quick Info:

Developer:

NoRI ME Arts

Genre:

Adventure

Theme:

Korean History



Tiny Golem (타이니 골렘) - IBM PC (1995)

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The never-released-anything DSP Team advertised this in cooperation with the hardly-ever-released-anything publisher Dongsung Joycom. The game was supposedly a horizontal scrolling shooter, how anything seen in the ad would fit into that is anyone's quess. The only reason this is even shown here is the hilarious Mega Man X ripoff.

Quick Info:

Developer:

DSP Team

Publisher:

Dongsung Joycom

Genre:

Action



The Galaxy: Part Frontiers - IBM PC (1995)

More vaporware by Dongsung Joycom! The Galaxy was meant to become Korea's first graphical MUD, with exciting mecha combat, an elaborate trading system and up to 300 players per server at a time4. Instead it became... nothing.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Dongsung Joycom

Publisher:

Dongsung Joycom

Genre:

MUG

Theme:

Mechas



디스토션 (Distortion) - IBM PC (1995)

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Although TWiM advertised this game quite extensively, actual screenshots or even information on the gameplay were rare. All that could be found was one image that looks like part of an upgrade screen for a robot, and a single, equally cropped ingame screenshot that kinda looks like a topdown hack&slay.

Quick Info:

Developer:

HiCom

Genre:

Sports

Theme:

Cyberpunk


Distortion (IBM PC)

Distortion (IBM PC)


잊혀진 나라 아이시스 (Ichyeojin Nara Isys) / Forgotten Land Isys - IBM PC (1995)

Ablex' RPG took heavy inspiration from various fairy tales. The background story revolved around an evil wizard, who tried to blackmail the Kings of the four lands of Isys for four keys to a legendary treasure. But the northern king sent his daughter away with the key into a hidden tower. Enraged the wizard cursed the princess with eternal sleep, put everyone in the northern land to stone and magicked away the castle into the land of legends, making it into a forgotten land. Many years later, the four seasons in the lands stop ciculating. Faced with eternal winter, a young boy living in the eastern land next to the forest of spring sets out on a quest to find out what happened to the fairy of the spring. His tale of course would have involved resquing the princess and defeating the evil wizard5.

Forgotten Land Isys made use of the same sketchy and cutesy charme as the previous games by Ablex, with a hero wearing a silly rabbit hat. Combat with a 5-headed party was supposed to play out SRPG style, comparable to Astonishia Story. Although the game was never finished, Isys hasn't been forgotten by its creators: One of the regions in their later MMO Magic Land was named Isys.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Ablex

Genre:

RPG

Theme:

Comical Fantasy


Concept Art


Take Back II: Escape from Storm (테이크백 II) - IBM PC (1995)

Concept Art

As can be seen in the ship models to the sides, the sequel to Ecstasy's Wing Commander clone was meant to use polygonal 3D graphics. Also, other than its predecessor which took place in outer space exclusively, ground missions were planned as well6.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Ecstasy Entertainment

Genre:

Action: First Person

Theme:

Space Combat


Ship Models


지혜의 책 (Jihye-ui Chaek) / The Book of Wisdom: Dragon's Scale - IBM PC (1995-1996)

Book of Wisdom (IBM PC)

The premise to The Book of Wisdom deals with a 7-year drought. At the brink of extinction, the ruler learns about a legend of the titular Book of Wisdom, which is supposedly able to save his land, so he calls out a search for the tome.

According to Sailon's first presentation of the game concept, players would have created two protagonists at the start, but further characters met during the game would have completed the party. Since the game dealt with a long draught and the consequential shortage of ressources, it would also have been necessary to take care of the party's food.

The heroes also were supposedly in constant competition with other groups of adventurers that were searching for the book. Each action in the game added to a time counter, so it was important to get information out of NPCs as quick as possible by asking the right questions and to avoid unnecessary combat when possible7. The game would have been displayed in an isometric quarter-view perspective, but there haven't been any ingame screenshots found, only various character portraits.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Sailon Soft

Genre:

RPG

Theme:

Fantasy


Character Portraits


메다의 전설 (Meda-ui Jeonseol) - IBM PC (1995)

Meda-ui Jeonseol obviously was a prototype for what later became Tipi-ui Moheom. Remaining sprites (the birds seen in the left screenshot) and background tiles, the mention of the name "Meda" in early previews of the latter game, and most of all an ending screen that is still based on the old character sprite (though with recolored hair, as seen on the right) betray its origin.

Quick Info:

Developer:

SiEn Art

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling

Theme:

Fantasy



엘리베이터 (Elevator) - IBM PC (1995)

Elevator by I2 seemed like a step up above every other Korean FMV game. They even bothered to get rather prolific actors like Moon Sung-keun (Jealousy is My Middle Name, Hanbando), Park Joong-hoon (Two Cops, Haeundae) and Kim Jiho (Sarang-ui Insa [TV drama], Mianhae, Gomawo). The single known FMV screenshot also suggest comparatively high production standards. The reason for that is simple: The game was meant to be a tie-in to a science fiction movie with the same title that was apparently also never completed8.

Quick Info:

Developer:

I2

Genre:

Interactive Movie

Theme:

Cyberpunk



파라곤의 전설 (Paragon-ui Jeonseol) - Arcade (1995)

Action platformer by Dongsung Joycom (now who would have thought this wouldn't see a release?) featuring three switchable characters with individual abilities. Of 7 planned stages, two were shown, together with a whole bunch of sprites, so it seems the development of this game got at least somewhat of the ground9.

Quick Info:

Publisher:

Goldstar

Genre:

Fighting



Korea Big Baseball - IBM PC (1995-1996)

After several games rooted in Korean history and folk tales, A+ decided to turn towards Korea's national sport—baseball. The game was intended to be an arcade-style alternative to the very simulation heavy games that were available for PCs at the time, like Hardball or Tony La Russa Baseball10.

Quick Info:

Developer:

A+

Genre:

Sports



도지산 검지림 (Dojisan Geomjirim) - IBM PC (1995-1996)

After Sin'geom-ui Jeonseol II: Liar, Ecstasy's next RPG would have been based on a wuxia-manhwa by Ya Seollok. Other than the previous game, combat would have taken place on a seperate battle screen in "true" realtime. Other promises included optional sidequests with choices and alternative paths and a CD audio soundtrack with 40 tunes11.

Dojisan Geomjirim is one of the very few cancelled Korean DOS games where digitally preserved graphics are known, thanks to the blog of graphic designer Kim Mugwang, who was a member of team Garam&Baram, which later rose to fame through their own company Grigon Entertainment12.

Character Artwork

Quick Info:

Developer:

Ecstasy Entertainment

Genre:

RPG

Theme:

Fantasy: Far East



천부인 (Cheonbuin) - IBM PC (1995-1996)

An unfinished run-'n-gun by Acro Studio, of Baryon fame. The game story mixed Korea's founding myth with a crazy time travel plot, so the two playable characters where a Korean shaman-type woman and a soldier with a machine gun, with weird enemies like guys in flying cheetah costumes. The adventure was supposed to stretch over 6 stages with 3 missions each13.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Acro Studio

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling



Bring the Noise 2 / BTN 2 (Vanslug Beta) - IBM PC (1995)

Atto Software's Bring the Noise 2 (nothing is known about the first part) looked surprisingly close to Mirinae's Full Metal Jacket, but as Kim Seongwan, the director of the latter game, pointed out in our interview, the games were developed independently, without the teams originally knowing about each other's work. While Mirinae released their game, however, BTN2 wasn't so fortunate. Rumor has it that there was a break in at Atto Entertainment's office and their computers were stolen before the game could be completed (as is also mentioned in the interview).

BTN2 (IBM PC)

Quick Info:

Developer:

Atto Software

Genre:

Action: Top-Down

Theme:

Mechas



이터너스 스톤 (Eternos Stone) - IBM PC (1995)

Very little is known about Eternos Stone by Trigger Soft, except for a lot of character concepts and that it wasn't—as the only screenshot might lead one to believe—an action RPG, but united action, puzzle and shooter elements14.

Eternos Stone (IBM PC)

Quick Info:

Developer:

Trigger Soft

Genre:

Action
Puzzle

Theme:

Fantasy



Dongsung Joycom puzzle games Beta - IBM PC (1994)

IQ 200 (IBM PC)

More unreleased Dongsung Joycom goodness: Drops was a falling blocks puzzler with story mode and 4-player network play15, IQ200 is only known by its story about a Dr. Blue and Dr. Green who put their super intelligent robots in a duel of wits is only known by its story line16, and Triangle was... just weird and incomprehensible by textual descriptions17.

Drops Concept Art

Quick Info:

Developer:

Dongsung Joycom

Publisher:

Dongsung Joycom

Genre:

Puzzle


Triangle (IBM PC)


가이거 2012 (The Gaiger 2012) - IBM PC (1995)

A 3D space shooter by Makkoya that was only seen in advertisements and apparently never properly reported on.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Makkoya

Genre:

Action: 1st Person

Theme:

Space Combat



모래시계 (Morae Sigye) - IBM PC (1995)

HIC Infocomm had already released a multimedia CD by license of the TV drama series Morae Sigye ("Hourglass"), but when they started to enter the gaming industry proper, they also announced a game based on the franchise. This wasn't developed in-house, but at a team in the US that consisted entirely of Korean-Americans, Joy Cinemedia. Their staff included a Ken Shim, who supposedly already worked on Creature Shock and Fury³ (although his allegiance to either title cannot be confirmed when comparing their credits listings on any of the big video game databases). The first screenshot made the game look like a traditional 2D fighter, whereas later it was described as a mix of 2D adventure elements similar to Full Throttle and 3D action scenes inspired by Bio Forge18.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Joy Cinemedia

Publisher:

HIC Infocomm

Genre:

Fighting
Adventure

Theme:

Licensed



프름이의 지구살리기 (Pureumi-ui Jigusalligi) - IBM PC (1995)

A vertically scrolling shooter with an environmental message by Ablex.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Ablex

Genre:

Shoot-'em-Up: Vertical

Theme:

Cute-'em-Up



엑소더스 2602 (Exodus 2602) - IBM PC (1995)

Developed by Changin System (Funky Ball) with support by Hyundai Electronics19, the 3D shooter was praised for its extensive FMV footage in between missions20.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Changin System

Publisher:

Hyundai

Genre:

Shoot-'em-Up: Rail

Theme:

Space Combat



EXP - Mega Drive (1995-1996)

Although it was finally released for PCs, Open's EXP actually started out as a Mega Drive game. Only halfway through the development it was ported, and the original version finally dropped when Samsung abandoned the 16-bit system in favor of the Saturn.

Early Mega Drive screenshots still showed opaque blue text boxes and menus, while those have been made transparent later. The main graphics and overall story appear to have been the same, although some scenes were arranged differently in detail (see examples below). In combat the player characters used to be centered at the lower portion of the screen with the menus unfolding around them, while the final version puts them in the far lower left corner21.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Open Production

Genre:

RPG

Theme:

Cyberpunk


Comparison Screenshots


IF (이프) - IBM PC, Mega Drive (1994)

IF was the second planned Mega Drive title by HiCom after Power Ball AD2001, but as its development started comparatively late, it was soon remodeled into a PC game. The visuals lead to comparisons with HiCom's own Corum series, but IF had a different story about the search for five elemental seals that ban an immortal ancient emperor, and the game was even more action-oriented with slight platforming elements, special moves and a linear level structure22.

IF (Mega Drive)

Quick Info:

Developer:

HiCom

Genre:

Action RPG

Theme:

Fantasy



일지매전 2 (Iljimae-jeon 2) - IBM PC (1995-1996)

When this follow-up to Danbi's sprite based 3D rail shooter was first shown, it almost looked identical to its predecessor, only with a new background and effects23. Later, however, the game resurfaced with a completely new render look24.

Concept Art

Quick Info:

Developer:

Danbi System

Genre:

Action: 3rd Person

Theme:

Cyberpunk



왕도의 비밀 (Wangdo-ui Bimil) 2D Version - IBM PC (1995-1996)

Before Wangdo-ui Bimil turned into a 3D action adventure with fixed camera perspectives, it was conceived as a side-scrolling action game. One or two players would have been able to select between three heroes, opposed to the single protagonist of the final game25.

Character Artwork

Quick Info:

Developer:

HIC Infocomm

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling


Wangdo-ui Bimil 2D Preview (IBM PC)


References
1. Game World 1/1995, page 56
2. Soft Action - Product Information (archived 4/28/2003)
3. PC Champ 11/1995, page 89
4. IBM-PC World in Game World 2/1995, page 42
5. IBM-PC World in Game World 1/1995, page 10-13
6. PC Champ 10/1995, page 85
7. PC Champ 8/1995, page 83
8. PC Champ 9/1995, page 92-93
9. PC Champ 9/1995, page 122-123
10. PC Champ 3/1996, page 121
11. PC Champ 3/1996, page 122
12. Amro's Newtype Land 12/12/2007
13. PC Champ 2/1996, page 114
14. PC Champ 11/1995, page 75
15. PC Champ 10/1995, page 70
16. PC Champ 11/1995, page 73
17. Image from PC Champ 12/1995 page 80
18. Gamepia 12/1995, page 90
19. PC Champ 10/1995, page 137
20. PC Champ 5/1996, page 173
21. Gamepia 1/1996, page 127
22. Gamepia 8/1996, page 96
23. PC Champ 11/1995, page 73
24. Gamepia 4/1996, page 98
25. Gamepia 12/1995, page 102


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

Back to the Index

Other Games:

Page 1: 1987-1993

Page 2: 1994

Page 3: 1995

Page 4: 1996

Page 5: 1997