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Arcades in North Korea are like a blast from the past

north korean arcade

Arcades in the United States and Europe might be struggling to remain relevant, but in the magical, mysterious land of North Korea they’re apparently still a totally relevant and cool way to spend an evening with your family. We know this because a lengthy and somewhat obnoxious video ad for a North Korean arcade found its way to the filthy western internet, and now we can all enjoy it.

The ad, which apparently was made sometime in 2013, shows what looks shockingly like an arcade venue you might find in the US, and by that I mean a dumpy strip mall in the middle of nowhere.

The video, which has a very odd vignette and constantly shifting flower graphics, shows some very excited North Koreans enjoying a night at the arcade. You can tell by how much fun they’re having that they definitely do this on a regular basis and weren’t specifically brought to the arcade for the sole purpose of making it appear active and lively.

The games being played are a pretty even mix of semi-modern racing and action games as well as some really, really old cabinets lining the walls. As Arcade Heroes points out, one of the games shown in the ad is Terminator: Salvation, an arcade shooter which debuted in 2010. It’s not a new game by any means, but in 2013 it was still fairly fresh, and it’s actually pretty surprising that it is (or at least was) being played in North Korea during that timeframe.

In any case, it’s a very interesting glimpse into the gaming culture of a nation that doesn’t exactly get the latest consoles and game releases.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today,, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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