Don’t get mad, get freeware and get even

It’s been quite a while since the Internet became the unofficial agora of the 21st century, but Web users are now expressing themselves on cyberspace through more than just text ― games have become the new way to rave, rant or simply poke fun at public figures.
Some Koreans adept at flash animation have started creating simple games about hot issues. These games are being uploaded on portals for games, video clips and flash animation, such as Flash 365.
For example, last Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine to pay homage to Japanese war dead. Koreans were furious, since the day marks Japan’s surrender in World War II, which Korea celebrates as Liberation Day. No Japanese prime minister had visited the shrine on Aug. 15 since 1985.
While thousands of protesters took to the streets in downtown Seoul to stage rallies that day, tens of thousands flocked to the Internet to play games that involved a variety of stress-relieving actions one could take out on Mr. Koizumi. One crudely-designed game was a variation of an old brick-breaking game, only the bricks were replaced with Koizumi heads. Another game involves kicking Mr. Koizumi’s head across the ocean, which is dotted with buoys. The point is to try to get the prime minister’s head on the buoys, so that it bounces back up and doesn’t fall into the water. This game wasn’t created in Korea, but its popularity among Chinese hints at its origins.
Another game based on a popular social topic these days is the “doenjang girl” game; doenjang means “bean paste,” and a bean-paste girl is one without a lick of common sense. Created by a 20-year old man using flash animation, one clicks through a story, selecting between two choices, which leads to the next turn in the story. The object of the game is to become a “doenjang girl,” and wheedle men in buying you lavish luxury goods. Those who win know to always pick the miniskirt from the closet instead of the jeans.
Since these games are freeware, they can be copied and pasted or linked to one’s blog, an indicator of what social topics people are interested in at the time. Last month, at the end of the World Cup, games featuring the French player Zinadine Zidane head-butting opponents were extremely popular.
People also post messages beneath the games on the portal sites, saying what they think about them ― a new form of digital public opinion.

by Wohn Dong-hee

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