December 07, 2023

Super Mario in Pyongyang: North Korea’s burgeoning video game culture

Smartphone use drives gaming's increasing popularity, but regime may see it as a new tool to promote Kim family ideology

In recent years, smartphones have become as ubiquitous in Pyongyang as they are in most cities around the world. Locals take calls, send texts and swipe through home screens populated with regime-approved apps, all on imported devices running outdated Android software.

They also do something that few associate with one of the poorest and most repressive countries in the world — play video games.