The pulsating energy at BEXCO in the Haeundae district of Busan was palpable as the G-STAR 2023 unfolded its grandeur from Thursday to Sunday. Beyond the dazzling lights and immersive experiences lay a diverse tapestry of attendees, illustrating that gaming is not just a pastime but a bridge connecting generations and diverse communities.
Gaming: A Family Affair
This year, families took center stage, breaking the stereotype of gaming being solely for the young. Kang, a 42-year-old father from Gwangju, brought his two game-loving sons, creating cherished memories and deepening their understanding of each other's gaming preferences. "Through G-STAR, we got to know each other's tastes better," Kang shared, highlighting the event's role in fostering familial bonds.
Moon Jeong-hwan, a 41-year-old father attending with his 7-year-old daughter, reflected the evolving narrative of parenthood in the gaming world. "My daughter, who always knew that her dad likes playing games, came with me to visit G-STAR," he shared, showcasing the shifting dynamics as gaming becomes a shared experience between parents and children.
Couples and Colleagues Unite
The event wasn't just about families; it was a melting pot of enthusiasts, including couples and colleagues. Choi Ju-hyeon (23) and Kim Ha-neul (20), a couple who met playing 'Lost Ark,' turned G-STAR into a date, seamlessly blending love and gaming. Their sentiment echoed throughout the venue, with couples and friends enjoying the shared experience, waiting eagerly for game demonstrations.
Oh (29), an IT professional who traveled from Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, with colleagues, emphasized the event's broad appeal, reaching beyond age and familial ties. "I'm in the IT industry, but I'm also interested in gaming," he said, highlighting the event's cross-industry pull.
Innovation on Display: NCSoft's Ambitious Leap
G-STAR 2023 was not just about the attendees but also about the innovative strides taken by industry giants. NCSoft's return after an eight-year hiatus brought forth a game-changer - "LLL," an open-world massively multiplayer online shooting game set in a post-apocalyptic Seoul. Attendees marveled at the high production values and top-notch graphics, offering constructive feedback for this ambitious project.
Lost Ark's Global Domination Continues
Smilegate RPG's 'Lost Ark' took center stage once again, this time with a mobile adaptation. The massive multiplayer online role-playing game, known for its stunning graphics and diverse gameplay, drew crowds with waiting times extending to three hours. Its partnership with Amazon Games has already propelled 'Lost Ark' to global success, with over 20 million users worldwide, setting new standards for mobile adaptations.
Netmarble's Subculture Triumph: "The Seven Deadly Sins: Origin"
Netmarble, not to be outdone, unveiled "The Seven Deadly Sins: Origin," an open-world collectible role-playing game branching from the globally successful "The Seven Deadly Sins: Grandcross." With anime-style graphics and character development, subculture games are gaining traction globally, and Netmarble aims to captivate players with an exclusive narrative experience.
G-STAR 2023, with its diverse attendees and groundbreaking showcases, stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of gaming. Beyond pixels and polygons, it's a celebration of shared experiences, bonding families, couples, and colleagues in the ever-expanding realm of digital adventures. As the curtains close on this year's extravaganza, the echoes of laughter, excitement, and shared discoveries linger, pointing towards a future where gaming is truly a universal language.