When I first heard about this, I wanted to believe it was about teeth.
Mine were still chattering from a piece of research performed by the University of Iowa that suggested that young gamers enjoyed more cavities. I experienced a severe attack of lockjaw, however, at the news that Korea--that's the nice Korea without the strange leader with dead Elvis' hair-- has imposed a nighttime ban on certain online games.
It seems, though, that the Korean government is less concerned about young gamers' molars and more concerned about their deep-seated obsession with being deep seated in their bedrooms into the late hours of the night.
According to the Korea Herald, those whose facial hair has insufficiently emerged onto their faces and armpits will have their access to 19 online games switched off by the government at midnight.
This attempt to combat increasing evidence of gaming addiction seems quite splendidly dramatic. The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism declared that underage gamers will have no recourse to this paternal turning out of the lights. (Although gamers can reportedly choose whether the shutout period will be midnight to 6 a.m., 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., or 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.)
In addition, misguided gaming Korean youth will have to deal with their internet connection being slowed down by outside forces if they're logged on to games for more than six uninterrupted hours during the day. This is currently being tested on a few role-playing games, including "Dungeon and Fighter."
In total, the 19 games being targeted by these new policies represent 79 percent of the Korean online gaming universe. Which means that midnight in Seoul might see a mass ululation by vast numbers of unhappy Korean kids.
Naturally, in a world of piracy and subterfuge, one can only imagine what ruses the shut-out gamers might employ in order to continue getting their fix. The ministry reportedly is preparing measures (enforced viewing of "Mary Poppins"? enforced entry into national spelling bees?) to combat those wily kids who try to use their parents' online registration numbers.
But how many enterprising young Koreans will still be able to get around the rules so that they can commune with their fellow Koreans in the distant nether worlds of dungeon combat? If they're so clever at playing these highly sophisticated games of supernatural war and pestilence, won't they be able to outwit their mere terrestrial government?