Jimmy Broadbent Plays North Korean Driving Game So You Don't Have To
The most stunning part? "Pyongyang Racer" is nine years old.
Um...uh...where do I start? In North Korea? No, that'd be a death sentence. Let's probably start with Flash games.
Or rather, start right smack-dab at the end, because Adobe Flash died on 31 December, 2020. People mourned, people cheered, but the games mostly perished until backed up. This includes driving and racing games, which were the only sort of things I could play back in the early 2000's and 2010's when state-of-the-art computer hardware was still far out of reach in Manila. As long as I had an internet connection, I can just head up to Kongregate, Newgrounds, Nitrome, ArmorGames, Miniclip, Teagames, Friv, Y8, Funflow and many other Flash game repositories to get my fix of racing games. Sometimes they're in 3D and needed a more special version of Flash and better hardware. I never quite got to play those as often.
Which I guess brings us here, to a game called "Pyongyang Racer". Straight away, it sounds like bad news. I mean, outside of trolls, no one will ever name their game after the capital of the Hermit State without some hint of irony or malice. So it makes sense that a travel agency did this with approval of the North Korean government. Koryo Tours, a British travel agency based in Beijing, caters only to those who want to visit North Korea, and developed this game through a student-led joint venture called NOSOTEK for the world to see.
If you do have a Flash emulator or run an old computer, you are welcomed here.
Easy enough, arrow keys move the car and you can honk. It's the control scheme typical of damn near every racing game in the early 2010's, so at least it's familiar enough.
But you wanted to see someone else play it in your stead. Take it away, Jimmer:
Boggles the mind, doesn't it? And it's not just the fact that it's made by North Korea and the travel company that can take you there. It's also just plain horrific. For one, it's less a game and more like a 3D slideshow running at as many frames as you have fingers, the controls are nothing like the Shockwave 3D games I know (which compare well to SEGA AM4 titles like Daytona USA), the graphics seem like it used the same techniques as the original Mortal Kombat trilogy but worse, and the entire experience just makes no sense.
But I rag on this game too much. After all, it was a bit of a humdrum release, and outside of the novelty of being a North Korean game, it wasn't as big a hit. Jason Torchinsky was right in his assessment -- it's an interactive parody of itself. And I like parodies this accidental.