Zzang Arcade of Hongdae

It was just another random stroll through the street of Hongdae. There, I encountered an ex-foe – the arch-adversary that once hindered my progress in life. Of course, it was none other than the Korean Dave and Buster’s or Zzang Arcade of Hongdae.

Zzang Arcade of 1990’s Seoul

Having assumed that such an old-school arcade must have perished from the arrival of its rival, the PC bang, this chance encounter presented a brief nostalgic gladness to this writer. I once dedicated quite a large portion of my youth, with my brother, cousins, and a few friends, somewhere in the basements of 90’s Seoul city to Zzang Arcade.

Indeed, it was enchanted in digital magic of aviation sort, for 10 cents per round. Although the scent, lighting, price, and graphics of games and arcades have undergone quite a drastic reformation over the years, the passion, heat, obsession, and especially – the spirit of eccentricity possessed among few players, were as extraordinary as those days of premillennial.

Zzang Arcade of Hongdae

The Zzang arcade consists of four floors. However, with the fourth floor being closed, the first floor is of real-life pick-ups and shootings, the second floor was a mix of digital games and real-life shootings, and the third floor was of all digital games. It is the third floor where I witnessed the true master of 21st-century digital magic.

The master, at the onset of my observation, was fiddling in tandem with another player. The player was likely his pupil. Together they engaged in a game of both physical and musical engagement where a player was to execute an accurate and punctual contact. He used his upper limbs, to signs and icons shot, randomly, across the screen at a speed that nearly fainted this observer merely by looking at them.

However, the master, once his pupil was discharged, elevated the difficulty of the game where now signs literally became invisible to this observer. But he, who must be a descendent of another realm, caught every single one of them with the grace of a maestro and the ease of an eagle after tiny mice. Not a single bead of sweat was observed, leaving this creep in a complete state of awe during the whole performances of at least three to four continuous rounds against the daunting challenges of 21st digital magic.


Humbled that I was, I started to wonder if there is such a world as the matrix. Or, perhaps there is another dimension of the world dwelled by individuals of extraordinary talents such as this master. If so, they must hurry and retrieve their missing one in the Zzang Arcade fiddling with one of the most challenging games in this world as though it is nothing but a mere warm-up.

If not from the matrix, I saw an image of myself from the master. This phenomenal individual’s eccentric obsession and will to achieve excellence reminded me, if I may be of my own eccentric exertion on English language cultivation. I meagerly persist to expose these benighted visions of mine to words and verses once viewed as nothing but an endless labyrinth never to be construed. How, through the assistance of books of old, do I wish to achieve that liberation and elevation of spiritual faculty? These books are, nowadays, likely to be considered as nothing but objects of contempt and scorn, or, if not, a source of conceit.

But as that master must have persevered and plowed his unique path no matter the judgments of the mass, I wish to acquire and execute the equal attitude to achieve my goal. Only then shall I be able to levitate in that sphere of ecstatic trance only bestowed to sincere ones as this master of Zzang Arcade of Hongdae. Cheers.

Zzang Cafe Hongdae (짱오락실 홍대점)

Address:  69 Eoulmadang-Ro, Mapo-Gu, Seoul
Korean address: 서울 마포구 어울마당로 69
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM - 02:00 AM

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🇰🇷 Junn

A lover of classic English books, music and comedy.