What is Saturdays in Korea?

Tired of doing the same old thing every weekend? Saturdays in Korea is activity club for those who want to break their normal weekend routine and do something different. For Koreans, it's a good chance to practice English. For ex-pats, it's a good chance to practice Korean. For everybody, it's a great chance to meet new people and have fun.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wii Olympics (위 올림픽)

Last week, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London started. Seeing that virtually all of us in the Saturdays in Korea group don't have the time nor the money to travel to England for this event, we needed an alternative to experiencing the Olympics in person. Though it lacked the true excitement of the Games, we did have fun in our Wii Olympics.

From Wii Olympics (위 올림픽)

View Wii Olympics (위 올림픽) in a larger map

The beginning of the 2012 Olympics wasn't the only reason why we chose to have a Wii Olympics. Since this time of the year in Korea is the hot season, the average high recently seems to be about 33°C (91°F). Additionally, high humidity is not unheard of this time of year. So to escape the heat, we looked for an indoor activity.

On this trip, we went back to the Konkuk University (건국대학교) area again. (Don't worry, we are not coming back here next week.) Located on the east side of Seoul, this district isn't affluent as Gangnam (강남) nor Jongno (종료). Because of this, we have found that prices here are more affordable compared to other parts of the capital.

While not so much in American, there is a market in Korea for those people who are not hardcore gamers and want to play video game consoles with their friends once in awhile. Places called "Multi Rooms" (멀티방) offer a private room with the console of your choice along with powerful speakers and a big screen TV. For a modest price, you can rent this room by the hour. For five of us, we ended up paying 6,000 Won a person for two hours total.

The first few moments of our time at the Multi Room was spent navigating the start up menu of their entertainment system. After button pushing and a couple of questions to the staff, we were finally in business. The selections of games here was quite extensive, and we ended up choosing Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Beijing 2008 Edition. This game contained lots of Olympic events that were adapted to the Wii Console. Additionally, many of us grew up with Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, so the characters in the game were a plus for us.

Overall, the larger variety of games that we played didn't really require any skills needed in the real event. For the most part, we were waving the controls and pushing buttons in a certain pattern at the right time. Part the time we didn't really understand what we were suppose to do for the event and ended up just laughing while the video game characters thoroughly defeated us. Despite the limited input needed, it was more active than sitting down on a couch and only pushing buttons with your thumbs. We ended up enjoying the tennis and table tennis events the most since the body movements required were closet to the body movements needed in real life.

One bit of culture shock to the American participants was the fact the head villain in the Super Mario Bros. World, Bowser, is actually named Koo-puh (쿠퍼) in Korea.

In the end, the small group of us had a great time. Even though none of us had any real experience with the Wii Console, we enjoyed the goofy and lighthearted digital Olympic Events. If we can't get tickets to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon (인천), Wii Asian Games is definitely an option.

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