After my long walk in the rain it was time for some indoor activities, so I rode the metro from the area by the National Assembly Building all the way up to the downtown region of northern Seoul. I exited the metro at Jonggak Station and from there I got a quick meal before going to LoL Park. Located inside the Gran Seoul shopping complex, LoL Park is a venue dedicated to League of Legends, a very popular online game. Surprisingly, there’s no advertising for LoL Park on the exterior of Gran Seoul other than a fairly modest sign. If you weren’t looking for it you could easily walk right past Gran Seoul and not realize that LoL Park was inside.
LoL Park is on the third floor of Gran Seoul and has free entry for the public. Although I had been out of the League of Legends scene for a couple years I wanted to pay this place a visit since I was feeling nostalgic for those old days when I’d watch the League of Legends World Championships with some friends of mine. When you arrive at the top of the escalator you step into the lobby area where 8-bit artwork is scrolling across the ceiling above you. In this part of LoL Park is a small merchandise store, the Bildgewater Cafe, a museum dedicated to previous championship players and teams, and a whole lot of League of Legends artwork.
The main thing that LoL Park is home to, however, is its stadium that hosts the League Champions Korea (LCK) matches. There were unfortunately no matches being held during the week that I was in Seoul so I unfortunately didn’t get to sit in on any. That’s definitely a goal for whenever I’m next in Seoul. Obviously I may not be able to time a future trip to line up with any LCK matches but if at all possible I’d love to be in attendance here at one of the centers of Korea esports.
Though I didn’t get to experience the stadium, I did have a chance to try out LoL Park’s PC Bang. For those that don’t know, a PC Bang is sort of like an internet cafe but full of nice PCs and dedicated primarily to online gaming. As a foreigner, I had to fill out a form and create a profile for the LoL Park PC Bang and then I paid to use a PC for an hour and twenty minutes. There are about a hundred PCs inside the PC Bang and the one I used was close to the center of the room. Most of the other people were playing games but a few were using their PCs for other things. My first hurdle was logging in and getting used to almost everything on the PC being in Korean. A lot of the icons and buttons on the PC’s desktop are the same as ones you’d see on PCs in America or Europe, so using it wasn’t too big of a hurdle, but I did have to utilize my phone’s Google Translate app a few times. I had unfortunately forgotten to write down my login info for League of Legends and Steam prior to leaving America, so there would be no gaming for me that day, but I made full use of my PC to do more research for other places I would be visiting in Korea. Before leaving the PC Bang I also tested its internet to see just how good it was. I had read that South Korea has the fastest internet on the planet but holy @#$% I was blown away by how much better it was than the internet I have in America. At one point I went to Twitch and opened six separate HD live streams and there wasn’t even the slightest hiccup in the internet performance (for context, the internet where I live in America starts to chug when running three non-HD live streams at the same time). I guess if you’re a gamer playing in a PC Bang in Korea you can never blame your performance on internet lag.