Oh, the Memories – Photos from VICE on HBO’s Trip to North Korea
If you were alive back in March, chances are you heard about our little adventure to North Korea with Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters. The news spread around the world like an exceptionally newsworthy wildfire, and in the months that have passed people have been itching to see our footage and find out exactly what happened on the first-ever basketball diplomacy mission. Well, all will be revealed tonight when the season finale of VICE airs on HBO at 11:00 PM. Until then, here is one last nugget from the trip to hold you over. These photos were taken by VICE producer Jason Mojica during the crew’s time in North Korea, and cover everything from the exhibition game with the North Korean national team to VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy’s cooldown at the Kim Il Sung University pool. Captions by Iris Xu.
Good afternoon, ladies and germs. We’d just like to borrow your attentions for a moment to let you know our TV show, VICE, has been renewed for a second season on HBO. It took a lot of work, some of us almost died a bunch of times, there were many sleepless nights, high points and low, and now we’re gearing up to do it all over again and can’t wait. According to our co-founder, Shane Smith, “We learned a lot over the course of shooting season one, and are insanely excited over our story selection for season two. Now that our various parasites, hernias, and virulent rashes have been treated, we are ready in mind and in body to go out there and get the gold.” Here, here.
This is the part where we’re supposed to thank you guys for watching, we think (we’re kind of winging it here—never had to write one of these before). And although it’s a cliched sentiment that people in sparkly clothes at fancy awards shows like to wax on about, it’s true that we wouldn’t be getting a second season if you people weren’t watching our show and enjoying all the weird crap we get ourselves in to. So thank you.
Don’t forget to watch tomorrow night’s season finale, which is entirely devoted to our recent trip to North Korea, and we’ll see you next year.
VICE on HBO – Escape from North Korea Bonus Footage
Thousands of North Koreans cross the border illegally into China every year. Living in constant fear of being discovered, defectors do everything to leave with all odds against them. If they are arrested in communist Laos, there’s the possibility of being sent back to North Korea, where they face prison camps or worse. The risks of escaping the North and heading to the South are so treacherous that fewer than 25,000 North Koreans have ever successfully made the journey.
For the third epiosde of VICE on HBO, we met up with a South Korean pastor who has developed a modern-day underground railroad that moves defectors from China to freedom and eventual citizenship in South Korea. In this clip, VICE’s Thomas Morton goes shopping for some snacks for the kids. With severe food shortages and restrictions in North Korea, these treats will be some of the children’s first.
Watch more at the VICE show page and check out VICE on HBO tonight (and every Friday) at 11 PM.
North Korea Has a Friend in Dennis Rodman and VICE
Earlier today former Chicago Bulls superstar Dennis Rodman presided over a mixed-match basketball game in Pyongyang alongside Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. The teams consisted of VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy; Moose Weekes, Buckets Blakes, and Bull Bullard of the Harlem Globetrotters; and North Korea’s “Dream Team,” all of whom played their hearts out in what we have termed a “basketball diplomacy” mission. Following the game, Rodman gave a stirring speech after the game that extended an olive branch to the Hermit Kingdom. The VICE crew is currently having a reception at the Supreme Leader’s house, and Duffy has invited Kim Jung-un to America and to tour the VICE offices. There isn’t much more to say than that because our jaws are still on the floor. So while we pick them up and get more info from our team, enjoy these photos of the game. You can watch the highlights on VICE, our new HBO series that premieres April 5th.
North Korea has been in the news lately for a very scary reason, but it isn’t every day that Asia’s hermit kingdom releases a car-racing video game. And when they do, you can definitely expect it to be a boring simulation about driving down a pin-straight, barely decorated highway.
Just as Tetris came as a surprise from the Soviet Union in 1984, Koryo Tours, a tour company run by a bunch of Brits, commissioned the DPRK IT venture Nosotek to develop North Korea’s first government-supported PC game: Pyongyang Racer. This profoundly uninteresting game gives its player the thrill of driving around the capital city of North Korea without a government-sanctioned tour guide ushering you away from shit you’re not supposed to see. It even lets you do all the concrete sightseeing your fast-lane, road-runner, gas-guzzling heart desires. Completely and utterly alone.
Before beginning, the label reads: “This game was developed in 2012 and is not intended to be a high-end technological wonder hit game of the 21st century, but more a fun race game (arcade style) where you drive around in Pyongyang and learn more about the sites and get a glimpse of Pyongyang.”
In other words, it’s retro. There’s a traffic girl who gets in your face sometimes, a gas collection minigame, and maybe even some mildly reckless driving if you’re really feeling crazy. The goal of the game: drive in a straight line for a long time. That’s about it.