5 Times Gamers Fought North Korea

The memorable times gamers fought North Korea.

Despite threats of "terrorism" by North Korea and major movie theaters pulling the film like cowards, Sony stood its ground and released The Interview on Christmas Day. 

Audiences across the country enjoyed their freedom by laughing at Seth Rogan and James Franco bring down the tyranny of Kim Jong-un. Film buffs also had an excuse to watch Team America: World Police on Netflix once again. 

North Korea has been one of those villains that has appeared in pop-culture from time to time. Gamers had their fair share of memorable moments in wrecking havoc north of the Demilitarized Zone.

Here is a look back at the five most memorable times gamers fought the Korean Peoples Army (KPA). Don't worry the choice was not slim, so the Mickey Rourke game is not on the list. 

5. Homefront (2011 for PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Probably one of the most memorable games that pitted gamers against the KPA. John Milus recreates his iconic film with-in the context of a post-Cold War world in which North Korea rises to become a global power.

An EMP is used to cripple the western United States followed by an invasion by the KPA. Players take on the role of Robert Jacobs, a former Marine pilot, as he joins the resistance in trying to organize an attack to liberated San Fransisco from the Korean occupation. 

4. True Crimes: Streets of LA (2002 for PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC)

This tribute to John Woo films has players take on the role of Nick Kang of the LAPD as he attempts to bring down a crime syndicate. Its uncovered at the end of each story-arc that the Russian Mafia and Triads were working with North Korea in a counterfeiting operation.

In two of those story-arc's, Kang will have to battle an army of North Korean commandos before having to fight General Han Yu Kim. Players will either toss him off a skyscraper (a homage to Die Hard) or give him a beat down at LAX. 

3. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 (2004 for PS2, Xbox, GameCube) 

Finally a game that allows players to take the fight to Kim Jong-Il's door steps, courtesy of Tom Clancy. The second title in the tactical military shooter has players lead the Ghosts in a North Korea that is politically collapsing. 

General Jung Chong-sun takes power in a coup while a US Navy ship is attacked by a missile launched in North Korea (as depicted in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory). In response the Ghosts are deployed to cripple the KPA and try to bring stablity to the region.

2. Crysis (2007 for PC)

The first time gamers put on the nanosuit was during a futuristic conflict against KPA and the Ceph. After an archeologist team discovers unknown artifact, the Lingshan islands are invaded by North Korea. In response a Delta Force squad is deployed to rescue the civilians and uncover the mysteries of the invasion. 

Creating an open world environment using one of the most advanced game engine, Crysis legacy has been the pinnacle of the true power of PC gaming. Even to this day the graphic card is incapable of portraying the game on its full visual setting.

However fighting a futuristic North Korea that had somehow acquired nanotechnology was not its selling point.

1. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (2005 for PlayStaion 2, Xbox) 

The Sixth-Generation was an era dominated by sandbox gameplay after the success of Grand Theft Auto III. This game took players north of the 38th Parallel and have them offer their services to any faction wanting to protect their interest in a war-torn North Korea.

After its discovered that North Korea was trying to sell WMD's to terrorist, the country is invaded by the Allied Nation along with South Korea and the Peoples Republic of China. Also the Russian Mafia has set-up an operation to profit from the chaos. Players take on the role of a mercenary deployed to offer their services in helping any faction while hunting down key leaders of the regime.

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction stood out from being a GTA knockoff's by having players explore a hypothetical inspired by the situation with the Iraq War during the time. However it also had its fair share of controversy with the game being banned in South Korea due to its sensitive subject.

Featured Contributor

Stan Rezaee is a gamer from the Bay Area who has been writing about the medium for over five years. He is an old school gamer who still plays with his N64, PlayStation 2 and GameCube. When on his PC, he could still be found playing classic Counter-Strike with friends.

Published Jan. 1st 2015
  • ReadFat
    "However it (Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction) also had its fair share of controversy with the game being banned in South Korea due to its sensitive subject." - I actually bought this game in South Korea. (Edit for clarity: downtown local purchase) So if banned it was still being sold in stores.
  • Stan Rezaee
    Featured Contributor
    The ban only lasted 2 years so you got it after the ban was lifted.
  • ReadFat
    I purchased it X-Mas 2005. (original version... not the pirated version either, which was also available at the time)

    And note: I bought Ghost Recon 2 the day it came out but that was purchased on base which obviously did not have said ban. Though it too was being sold down town displayed on shelves. Bans in Korea really mean little to shop owners.
  • Stan Rezaee
    Featured Contributor
    That explains it, the ban could not apply on a US Military base. Also being a Western society, the S. Korean govt were probably not enforcing the ban.
  • ReadFat
    No "Ghost Recon 2" was purchased on base.(yet still available in stores downtown) "Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction" was purchased at a store downtown.

    Both games though in the media as banned in S. Korea were in fact available in stores down town in S. Korea and displayed.

    S. Korea bans are simply hogwash. They are not enforced in the least. As well as Piracy being rampant and available/sold openly on the streets and in stores.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    Good read, high five.

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