KAMEX 2003

November 23, 2003, Seoul, South Korea

I'd come to Seoul for KGDC (the Korean Game Developers Conference), but it turned out that Kamex, a games trade show organized by the Korea Amusement Machine Manufacturers Association (KAMMA), was being held concurrently.

The conference was to begin on a Monday, and I'd arrived on a Saturday evening so I could have a day to adjust and see some sights. Taesun Yeom, a game designer who works on wireless games for Daum Communications (a Korean internet portal along the lines of Yahoo, at http://www.daum.net/), had been instrumental in getting me invited to the conference - and had been the one to translate my Game Design Perspectives chapters into Korean.

Taesun came to my hotel the morning of Sunday, Nov. 23, to take me sightseeing. The first sight he took me to was Kamex (pronounced "Commex").

We both had to fill out registration forms. Here's Taesun filling out his.
The show featured arcade games (which includes all sorts of coin-operated amusements), video games, cell phone games, and computer games - especially online games.

RAGNAROK is a highly successful MMORPG by Gravity Software. They had a really big booth, a big screen, and a big crowd. Later that same day Taesun would introduce me to a designer from Gravity as we continued our sightseeing adventure.

We came upon a stage with several computer stations and a big screen, with a sizeable audience seating area. Taesun told me this was a contest that was being staged specifically for Kamex, featuring some of Korea's best gamers competing head to head. The highest-scoring players in Korea have achieved superstar status - they earn a nice living by going around playing games (and you thought Q.A. testing was a sweet job!). (^_^)

My apologies for the picture quality. I stupidly forgot to take my "dica" (the Korean term for "digital camera") on the trip, and had to make do with those cheap disposable cameras, which don't handle available-light situations as well as my dica does.

When we came upon the PS2 "Eye Toy" display, I enthused to Taesun about what a great toy it is. So he had to try it out for himself. It's got a TV camera that puts you right into the game, detecting your hand movements to achieve game actions. So you play the game by punching or swatting in the air with your hands. Here's Taesun going at it.

One game involved waving the hand to erase a background graphic. A little girl decided to give Taesun a hand... well, if you ask me, she cheated a little, putting her hand directly over the camera (which erased the whole graphic at one swell foop... I mean fell swoop).

"Cosplay" (costume play) is as popular in Korea as it is in Japan. Whole groups of folks came to Kamex in all kinds of interesting costumes. Here's a gallery of cosplay shots to close out the page...

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Special thanks to Taesun Yeom and John Song, without whom the Korea trip never would have happened!

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.