Friday, February 24, 2017

A Look Inside a South Korean PC Room

I'm six months into my one year contract for teaching in South Korea now. Many things have changed, but there is still one constant. On any given night, you can find me in a PC room. Today I'll be showcasing a local PC room (피시방), in Gyeonggi-do, Hammer.

The setup at Hammer (해머)

Setup at Hammer is pretty standard. 30~inch monitor, way too big for my taste, but large monitors seems to be a draw in Korean PC rooms. Off brand "gaming" headset, which gets the job done. Most PC rooms sport mechanical keyboards too. Brands will vary, but more than anything it has made me realize those top of the line SteelSeries (or insert other gaming brand) keyboards really aren't worth it. Lastly, a Logitech G1 optical mouse, the most widely used mouse across all PC rooms. Good enough that I'll probably buy one and bring it home to the states. 

The main screen is set up for ease of access to all the most popular games in South Korea. It is important to note that you will need a Korean phone number to create an account for most games outside of Blizzard titles and League of Legends. In addition, if you want to play anything on Steam (SUCH AS COUNTERSTRIKE), you will need to download steam and the game. All downloaded items are wiped after logging off the PC. Currently the most popular games are LoL, Overwatch, Sudden Attack, and Fifa. It is also worth nothing that Brood War is right behind those games in 5th place with 4.44% usage. In conclusion, a great place to play if you enjoy those titles, and a small inconvenience if you play various Steam games. It usually takes me about 30min~ to download CS:GO.

One great thing about PC rooms is that you can order food and drinks while playing, which will then be delivered straight to your computer. Most PC rooms have various snacks, ramen, coffee, and other beverages. However, Hammer has a kitchen and more extensive menu. The food is priced well enough that you don't have much reason to leave if what you want is on the menu. 

My go to meal, Chicken and rice, topped with a bit of mayo and okonomiyaki sauce. You also get the standard Korean side dishes, kimchi and radish. Overall, a good meal for 4,000원 ($3.50~). 

Most PC rooms have rather up to date PCs. Hammer boasts a strong i5 at 3.4ghz alongside an Nvidia GTX 1060, in addition to 8gb of ram. 

Hammer's PCs have great specs, and they are a bit ahead of the curve in comparison to other PC rooms in my area. Especially considering that none of the popular games in PC rooms are too graphic intensive.

Can't forget the smoking room. Every PC room has one. Be prepared for a lot of spitting, which gets unbearably disgusting very quickly. I've been told by Koreans that this is supposed to combat mouth cancer or something...dude you are smoking... Anyways the rooms are usually well ventilated and outfitted with large windows to make sure you get back in time for your queue. However, the stuffiness and spitting usually pushes me to smoke outside when things get busy. 

Hope you enjoyed my first post about Korean PC rooms. I'll be writing more articles about PC gaming in South Korea in the future.

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