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News: Bong Koo Shin Interview

by on May 3, 2008

nom33.jpg
My interview with Gamevil’s Bong Koo Shin just ran on Gamasutra…it’s one of the many interviews I completed in Korea, but this was one of the more interesting. Shin has really interesting ideas about game design and life in general, and is pretty far out there. The guy translating said he had worked with the guy for a long time, and had never heard so much of his unique philosophy as he heard that day. Shin is the brain behind the Nom mobile games, which I’ve mentioned many times. You can see postmortems of the 2nd game here, and the third here. Every once in a while you get it into your head to make something known to people, and I tried to do that with Grasshopper starting in 2002, and I think Shin is another of those cases. Here’s an excerpt from the creation of Nom 3, which I’ve used before:

The subtitle of Nom 3 is “A Beautiful but Cruel Square.” I remember last Valentine’s Day when female co-workers gave out meaningless Valentine chocolates to their male colleagues for the day’s sake. Since I was not dating anyone at that time, I was delighted to have the chocolates and finished them right away. As I enjoyed the chocolates in my mouth I thought to myself, “Ahh, they are melting in my heart, beautifully but cruelly.” That was an honest monologue slipping out, as I felt both the sweetness of chocolates and the bitterness of solitude. Right at that moment, something came across my mind: “A Beautiful but Cruel Square!” (Most low priced Korean chocolates are in a rectangular shape). All the objects in gameplay except the main character were to be designed in a square form and those squares were to be enlivened and move and dissolve in coordination. On that day, Nom 3 was born.

When I met him in Seoul, I brought him some chocolate squares – seemed like the right thing to do. Here’s an excerpt from the interview. Keep watching for this guy!

Have you heard of this mind controlling device — it’s a device with some sort of amplifier, and you have to wear special glasses. It gives you repetitive colors — constantly changing, it kind of controls and soothes your brainwaves.

Then, when you hear sounds, you see something visual, amongst the color changes and stuff. It controls your brainwaves. It’s all very preliminary stuff, but it’s like the infant level of this digital drug.

After all, eventually I would say we don’t need game characters — no saving the princess or saving the world or fighting against evil and stuff. That’s not related to the core. That’s boundary stuff. Just like I said about those addictive points of a game — I could pull out those very little points, so that if you could hit all those points in at once, it would make someone addicted right away. That’s the digital drug that I would expect to see in the future.

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