By Tom Bannister.
In a very late entry to ‘game of the year’ lists, North Korean computer game developers Nosotek have created an online racing game for Beijing-based North Korean tour operator Koryo Tours. The free game is called ‘Koryo Tours Pyongyang Racer’ and according to the tour company:
You will drive a long journey through Pyongyang. On the journey there will be special sites that you can see, but you should also collect the items that appear close to the sites! Don’t forget to collect enough gasoline during your journey! If you drive recklessly there will be a Traffic Girl to direct you and if you get too many warnings…
Whilst the graphics are more 1992 than 2012, the music is fantastic and the handy advice and constructive abuse that you receive along the course more than makes up for pixel deficiencies. The people that produced it, Nosotek, are an interesting company because they are the first western IT venture in North Korea. They work in co-operation with European partners and some of their locational ‘advantages’ (as listed on their website) are ‘low-cost HR’ and ‘accurate project cost control’. No arguing with that. According to their site:
In DPRK, software engineers are selected from the mathematics elite and learn programming from the ground-up, such as assembler to C#, but also Linux kernel and Visual Basic macros. Among them, Nosotek has attracted the cream of local talent as the only company in Pyongyang offering western working conditions and Internet access.