'Clueless Gamer' Conan O'Brien gets fragged at a Korean PC bang
The late-night host learns firsthand about Korea's obsession with PC gaming during a special travel edition of his talk show.
CNET freelancer Danny Gallagher has contributed to Cracked.com, Mental Floss, Maxim, Break.com, Mandatory, Jackbox Games, Geeks Who Drink and many, many other publications in his never-ending quest to bring the world's productivity to a screeching halt. He lives and works in Dallas. Email Danny.
If you've ever watched Conan O'Brien's "Clueless Gamer" segments, you know the late-night host is not a gamer. (You really wouldn't have to watch the segments to know that since it's spelled out right there in the title, but I digress.)
So just imagine how the host felt when he walked into a 24-hour gaming cafe in Korea, a nation fervently obsessed with video games and online gaming. The segment was part of a special Saturday episode of O'Brien's TBS talk show, during which he also took a tour of the country with "Walking Dead" star Steven Yeun. The episode posted online Wednesday.
Conan joined what's known in Korea as a "PC bang," the local term for a center that offers LAN (local area network) gaming at an hourly rate. The TV personality chats with a gamer who once spent 14 hours at a PC bang and even tries a favorite snack of gamers -- squid chips.
South Korea has what could easily be described as an obsessive relationship with online gaming. A story that ran in The New York Times in 2014 described competitive video gaming as the country's "national pastime." League of Legends and Blizzard's StarCraft are among players' more popular choices.
For some players, gaming can also become an unhealthy habit that in rare cases has been linked to death. South Korea passed a law in 2011 called the "shutdown law" that prevents children under the age of 16 from playing games between midnight at 6 a.m.
Insert coin to tour the new National Videogame Museum (pictures)