Pyongyang Racer,
a North Korean
online game

Race around the streets of Pyongyang in this DPRK-made game.

Pyongyang Racer | North Korean Video Game

Pyongyang Racer is a basic driving simulator published by Koryo Tours in 2012 in association with Nosotek, a joint Western-North Korea IT company. It is the first North Korean video game placed online.

The game was developed by North Korean students at Pyongyang’s Kimchaek University of Science and Technology in the style of an early arcade game. (You definitely get that vibe when playing…)

The aim of the game is to drive a Hwiparam II around the city of Pyongyang.

A Hwiparam II?

Don’t worry, we’re getting there…

A ‘Hwiparam II’ is a domestically produced North Korean car from Pyonghwa motors. The word ‘Hwiparam’ means ‘whistle’. There’s a great catchy North Korean tune called ‘Hwiparam’ that’s worth checking out.

Starting in Kim Il Sung Square, the player drives past numerous notable sights in the city, including; the Ryugyong Hotel, the Arch of Triumph, the Chollima Statue, and Potong Gate, whilst picking up fuel barrels.

Occasionally, the famous ‘Pyongyang Traffic Girls’ will pop up giving driving tips. Often, little nuggets of information will be displayed as you pass different locations.

We at Koryo Tours are taking a moment to look back at the game we helped to produce to look at the upsides and downsides of our first foray into the socialist gaming industry.

In that spirit, I sat down for half an hour this week and played as much Pyongyang Racer as I possibly could.

Here are my observations:

The game begins as you leave Kim Il Sung Square and an upbeat electronic version of 'My Country is Best' begins to play.

The first major site you pass is the Ice Rink followed by the Pyongyang Gymnasium. As I passed these sites, I collected little stamps which caused a little pop up to appear showing the name of the place.

After a pretty successful run, I ended up back in Kim Il Sung Square with only a few minor accidents along the way.

The game provides an in-game clock (so feel free to play against the clock with your friends) and the small course map boasts a surprisingly accurate view of Pyongyang (for a game of this quality at least).

Despite all the high praise I’ve lavished on the game so far, it’s pretty low quality.

Whilst it may be fun for a couple of rounds as a token ‘North Korean video game’ the enjoyment value is limited for those who don’t know, or care, that much about Pyongyang.

The project was, however, a fantastic project to work on with the students at Kim Chaek University and who knows, perhaps in the future we’ll bring out a VR Pyongyang racer with 4K graphics and a full storyline.

Until then, please do visit and try it out for yourself*!

*Please note that top times list has been discontinued.

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