OWL Magazine Korea

“Kim Jung-nam & Kim Jung-hyun “Bill Roper: Santa Claus of the Korean Gaming Industry”

Although its popularity has waned somewhat, blockbuster games developed by Blizzard in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s always garnered great popularity in South Korea.

Games developed by Blizzard, including the “Diablo 1, 2” series and strategy simulation games like “StarCraft,” were perfectly suited to the tastes of Koreans. Coupled with the rapid spread of the internet in the 1990s, Blizzard’s games rapidly gained popularity.

At the time, about 90% of the content responsible for the rise of PC bangs (internet cafes) could be attributed to “StarCraft.” Blizzard’s games can be seen as deeply intertwined with South Korea.

“Bill Roper: Creator of Blizzard’s Blockbuster Games”

It’s not well known that one person created the blockbuster games “Diablo” series, “StarCraft” series, and “Warcraft” series at Blizzard. That person was Bill Roper.

This book delves into the figure of Bill Roper, who played a central role in creating games that had a significant impact on the South Korean gaming market.

“The Three Gifts Bill Roper Brought to the South Korean Gaming Market”

The early chapters of the book introduce the three gifts that Bill Roper brought to the South Korean gaming market: “Diablo 1,” “StarCraft,” and “Diablo 2.”

Through the game Diablo, structural problems inherent in domestically produced games were addressed, and the popularity of StarCraft led to the rapid proliferation of PC bangs and the establishment of network infrastructure in South Korea. Additionally, Diablo 2 sparked interest in hack-and-slash games and helped shape the MMORPG market.

After the release of Diablo 2 in 1999, which had just 10,000 simultaneous users, it grew to 100,000 simultaneous users in 2000. This growth can be attributed to the effects of Diablo 2. Bill Roper’s involvement in these games had a significant impact on the formation of the South Korean gaming market.

“The Origins of Computer Games”

Before delving into Bill Roper’s story, the book also introduces the origins of computer games. While there is debate about which game was the first computer game, Tennis for Two by William Higinbotham in 1958 and Spacewar! by Steve Russell in 1962 are notable examples.

Ralph Baer, who received the first patent for a video game, created the game “Pac-Man.” Nolan K. Bushnell, through the game “Pong,” which was a table tennis game, also influenced Bill Roper.

“The Oldest Board Game: Backgammon”

The book also mentions Bill Roper’s fondness for the oldest board game, Backgammon. In the United States, the Dungeons & Dragons series, which has become a cultural phenomenon, has influenced most game developers.

“Joining Blizzard at the Age of 30”

It’s said that when successful people encounter something that influences their entire lives, they become completely absorbed as if falling in love at first sight. Bill Roper ironically fell in love with music at first. Due to financial difficulties, he worked as a truck driver and performed at jazz bars in the evenings to pay for his tuition. It wasn’t until he turned 30 that he joined Chaos Studios, a precursor to Blizzard, as a contract worker.

“Blizzard’s Unique Development Culture and Philosophy”

Blizzard adheres to the following development philosophy, but given recent events such as its acquisition by Activision and then Microsoft, it’s unclear if they still maintain this culture.

  1. Welcome only game enthusiasts.
  2. Pursue multiplayer.
  3. Make decisions collectively.
  4. Focus solely on fun.
  5. Create games that are easy to learn but difficult to master.
  6. Only present the best masterpieces.
  7. Prepare for the globalized era of crossovers.
  8. Encourage personal interaction among flagship employees.


“Bill Roper: Santa Claus of the Korean Gaming Industry”

  • Authors: Kim Jung-nam, Kim Jung-hyun
  • Publication Date: April 28, 2008
  • ISBN13: 9788955508772
  • Yes24: http://app.ac/ybMpbEl13