The ongoing Sundance Film Festival recently saw the debut of Love Child, a film that explores South Korea's prominent, widespread online culture and the aftereffects of what can happen when gaming addiction causes irreparable harm.
In 2010 South Korean gamers Kim Yoo-chul and Choi Mi-sun were partially absolved of blame in the starving death of their infant daughter due to a court's ruling that both were intractably addicted to an online roleplaying game called "Prius." Documentarian Valerie Veatch traveled to South Korea to examine the couple's story following the incident, and discovered that while the two parents have seemingly recovered - they no longer play games and are now raising two additional children - South Korea maintains a deep, cultural fascination with online gaming.
"Korean culture is all about collective organization in groups, and online gaming is the best example of such group activities," the film's producer, Dong Hyun Kim, told IndieWire. "Most people prefer playing online games with their existing real-world friends in PC bangs."
"The gaming industry has such a complex economy and is based on this immersion," stated Veatch. "We're not trying to induce fear, but we're trying to open up a conversation. The Korean government itself isn't hoping to be a killjoy. They, amongst others, realize that we do need to think about these issues."