North Korea’s First Racing Videogame Is Terrible
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.