From Card Games to eSports Tournaments – A Guide to Korea for Gamers


Korea is a great place for gamers to visit, with Seoul being one of the best-known gaming hubs in the world.

The Asian nation is home to 25.6 million gamers, making it the 6th-biggest gaming market on the planet. Amazingly, the country’s population is only 51.26 million, so that means over half the country play games.

Needless to say that eSports have really taken off there in recent years, and there are numerous tournaments and spots to play games. In addition to that, there are opportunities to play traditional games, as well as gaming museums.

ESports Tournaments and PC-Bangs

ESports is taking over the world and beginning to gain the same kind of recognition as well-established sports like tennis and football. In fact, with the rapidly increasing numbers of players and viewers, it could one day be more important than psychical sports. The figures from Statista highlight this rise. In 2012 there were only 58 million frequent viewers or eSports enthusiasts, but by 2020 it is projected that this number will reach 286 million. As gaming becomes more advanced and better technology is available, eSports is likely to get even more exciting than it is now.

Korea is at the centre of the eSports boom, and is actually considered to be the eSports capital of the world. The country has hosted major championships in eSports for years, including games like Starcraft: Brood War, League of Legends, and Counter-strike: Global Offensive. Koreans always dominate the games, as well, and in 2017, Korean teams won five major tournaments in 24 hours.

The eSports scene in Korea has brought about a rise in what the locals call PC-Bangs. These are special gaming locations that are literally everywhere and have replaced the internet cafes of old. They are normally located near universities and in busy areas, and are always jam-packed full of gamers playing competitively or for fun.

Traditional Table and Card Games

While eSports may reign supreme in Korea, there are still a number of traditional games which remain popular among the locals. These games are well-known in the country but may be unheard of to others from different places. The best-loved game is Go-Stop, which is played with flower cards, as detailed by BoardGameGeek. The game is played with two or three players and the objective is to score a predetermined number of points. This is slightly more complicated but similar to games like blackjack, which is simple to pick up but hard to master according to Betway. In the most popular casino card game in the world, players only need to get as close to 21 as possible with two cards and beat the dealer. But in Go-Stop, players have to pit their wits against other opponents and decide whether to call “go” or “stop” in certain situations.

Aside from card games, board games are still prevalent in the Asian country, and there are plenty of board game cafes for players who prefer a more old school type of gaming. Places like Super Board café attract high numbers of players who like the nostalgic feel of board games.

Gaming Conventions

In addition to playing games, there are plenty of other things for gamers to do, such as visit conventions. Comic Con comes to Korea every year, and gives players a prime opportunity to see the latest tech developments and new game releases. It is also a great way to meet stars from the screen, and Ezra Miller who plays the Flash in Justice League was at the event this year. The original “Con” is so popular that it has sprouted a number of other events which take place throughout the year, including Boardgame Con and the Pokémon World Festival. Before making a trip to Korea it’s wise to check the calendar and see what events are on. There is likely to be something that piques your interest.

For gamers, a visit to Korea is almost essential. At the heart of the eSports revolution, it’s a good place to play competitively. But there is also a wide variety of gaming options on offer in the country, meaning there’s something for everyone.