This recording was made at ‘Action PC Bang’ in the Huam-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea. Korean PC bangs are similar to what we might call an Internet cafe in the United States. While a few customers might frequent PC bangs simply to surf the Web, print out documents, watch online media, or even do some day trading of stocks, the vast majority of customers come to play any of the hundreds of computer games (both on and offline) to which every PC bang in Korea provides access. PC bangs are independently-operated businesses usually taking up one floor of a commercial building and containing between 50 and 200 computer stations. Action PC Bang is located on the third floor of this particular building and has about 140 stations. Each station is equipped with a custom-built CPU tower, a widescreen, high resolution monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse, as well as a high-backed, leather padded desk chair on wheels. The stations are aligned in rows, some facing each other and others facing the walls. Each row has a single long desk with short dividers set along it which separate each individual station. The PC bang itself is divided into smoking and non-smoking areas by a wall of glass, although the walkway between the two sections is open and cigarette smoke inevitably seeps out into the non-smoking area. The room is well-ventilated with fans in the ceiling that more or less filter most of the smoke. The desk at the entrance to the room is manned by an attendant (usually either the owner of the PC bang or a part-time employee, typically a university student) who handles customer transactions, provides customers with ashtrays and occasionally complimentary drinks like green tea or coffee, and prepares ramen noodles for customers who purchase them. The noodles are kept on shelves in front of the desk along with other snack foods like chips, cookies, and microwaveable hamburgers. There is also an instant coffee machine, a water cooler, and a refrigerator with chilled drinks such as iced coffee, energy drinks, and soft drinks. Like most PC bangs, Action PC Bang is open 24 hours per day and although a few customers may spend dozens of hours on end bust at their station (in extreme cases some customers might spend multiple days in a PC bang), most patrons spend a couple of hours. Many customers arrive together in large groups while others arrive individually and then socialize with the other ‘regulars’ there at that time while still others keep to themselves entirely. The clientele range in age from elementary school-aged children to retired pensioners, although the median age is around 30. Although the majority of customers are male, there are many female customers who frequent these places as well.

In this recording, one can experience the typical sounds of a Korean PC bang: the cacophony of discordant sounds of different games being played simultaneously; ongoing conversations between patrons, or between a customer in the PC bang and his or her interlocutor in another location, connected via a voice chat function in the game that they are playing; the near constant clicking and clacking of keystrokes mouse clicks; and the sound of the PC bang attendants cleaning the equipment after a customer leaves a station, especially the sound of keyboards being wiped down with a towel.
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