“The only thing that I desire in infinite quantity is the power of a noble culture.”This famousquote by Baekbeom Kim Gu especially resonates in us these days, as South Korea that used to be a shrimpamong superpowers, is becoming very popular all over the world based on the power of culture such as BTS, K-pop, and Hanbok.
As Chinais expanding its influence over the global economy anddisplaying its irrational ambition of the “Northeast Project of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences” to make Korean culture its own, we can more vividly feel the impact of Korean culture spreading all over the world. However, what is regrettable is that traveling has been blocked by COVID-19 at such a critical time to spread Korea all around the world based on the power of Hallyu (Korean Wave), which is now fully blossoming.
Although South Korea has shown weakness in the tourism industry, as revealed in the popular TV show “Welcome, First Time in Korea!”, it has the potential to attract foreign tourists with its natural, original look without overwhelmingly exaggerating itself.
Unfortunately, as COVID-19 spreads around the world, there is no promise for how long this situation will continue, but attempts to alleviate this limit a little and spread the charm of Korea to the world through the game have been drawing attention. One of such attempts is ‘Soulful City Seoul’ by Honey Pig, a startup servicing various games, developed in partnership with the Seoul Tourism Foundation.
Featuring major tourist sites that foreigners can visit when they travel to Korea in the background, ‘Soulful City Seoul’ is characterized by various mini-games according to each tourist destination for the travelers to enjoy. While games introducing tourist attractions can only list famous tourist sites, this game is designed based on the actual tourist routes of foreign travelers visiting Korea through collaboration with the Seoul Tourism Foundation, through storytelling they can empathize with.
Users cantour downtown Seoul in Hanbok, take pictures of tourists from other countries that they meet at tourist sites, and help other tourists who are lost. Although tourist sites have been simplified to images, looking at the cute graphics that highlight of the characteristics of the area well will make users automatically search each site online to see how actual tourist site looks like. It is an ideal form of gamification that combines reality and games. Since CEO Hyeong-Joon Shim and other developers of Honey Plug have cultivate various experiences in entertainment production firms and Cyworld in addition to games, Honey Plug was able to realize ideas more freely.
Honey Plug aspires to launch ‘Soulful City Seoul’worldwide in the first half of next year to show the charm of K-tourism to users around the world. Although there were games that advertised Hallyu content in the past, most of them were simple forms in word quizzes and pattern-type match games, so ‘Soulful City Seoul’ is expected to be a different experience for overseas users. In addition, Honey Pig is considering ways for players to enjoy games through joint marketing with related organizations and companies, and to give special events or rewards to tourists who visit actual places.
CEO Hyung-Joon Shim of Honey Plug said, “We developed this game because there seems to be lack of contents that can well introduce the natural charm of Korea, although Korean Wave has become very popular all around the world.We hope ‘Soulful City Seoul’ satisfies users from all over the world with interest in and favorable view toward Korea for the time being. Above all, we hope COVID-19 pandemic ends soon so more people can visit Korea and feel its charm.”