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It's not all a game

Lee Byung-ha

Publication Date : 25-10-2012


Many people stick to the misperception that game fiction writers are some sort of anti-social hermits who spend days and nights playing games, be it at home or in dark, sketchy PC rooms.

However, the testimony of a 22-year-old Korean game fiction writer Lee Byung-ha poses powerful counterevidence to such an illusion.

The young game fiction prodigy is a senior majoring international economics at the University of Heilongjiang in Harbin, China, whose mother never saw him spending hours in front of his computer.

However, Lee was the winner of the grand prize at NHN’s Game Literary Award 2012 last week.

“I still feel like I am dreaming,” he told The Korea Herald. “The happiest thing is that all my work and storytelling skills were actually acknowledged by everyone.”

His scenario dubbed “Kiss” is a short story about socially vulnerable people who are abused by a dehumanising pharmaceutical conglomerate to produce a bio-substance called “Catharsis” ― an essence of life.

Only the consciousnesses of the characters are sent to live in a different century and space, living monitored lives like Truman Burbank in the film “The Truman Show”.

When they fall in true love, their body produces “Catharsis”, which medical firms immediately pump out.

What sparked his creativity, or his literary worldview, was the opportunity to live in a new culture and experience everything new, said Lee.

“My family moved to China to do business on May 4, 2007. It was so tough in the first couple of years when I had to start everything from scratch, including learning Chinese and getting used to a new culture and food,” he said. “Back then I always wondered what to do with my life … I finally decided that I was a little better than others in writing, and decided to bet all I had in writing.”

As a result, he began writing fantasy sagas, science fiction, Asian kung fu novels when he was 15 years old ― not for show, but for himself.

He says his passion for writing won him first place in the third annual NHN contest.

“Older people tend to look down on computer games and game literature, but I believe game literature has endless potential in creative content, such as games, books, soundtracks and character businesses,” he said.


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