Playing ”balances.”

B is a 21-year-old Korean male originally from Busan, South Korea. B is currently a college student in Los Angeles, California.

B taught me to how to play the following Korean game while we were taking a break from studying in a college dorm.

B: The game is called “balances” and you have to pick one of the two options I say. And you can’t say “neither,” even if they are both bad.. you still have to pick one laughs. It’s a really popular game in Korea.

Interviewer: Ahh so it’s like “would you rather?”

B: Yeah! It’s similar to that. Like…. “Would you rather eat a tomato that tastes like vomit or vomit that tastes like tomato?

Reflection: After playing and recording my brief game of ”balances” with B, he told me that the game is actually called 균형 게임 (gyunhyeong geim) or ”balance game” in Korea. The game is practically identical to “would you rather,” especially regarding how much of game derives from the idea that both options are a form of opposites and yet equally terrible choices. Despite the sameness, I found it interesting that B insisted that the games are different. In relation to polygenesis and folklore, people understandably want to stake claim in folklore they perceive as theirs, even if the same or highly similar folklore developed on its own elsewhere.