First, let start with Autoethnography. It was a new term for me and took me a little bit of study to understand. Over the past weeks many people that I have come across and see me doing research about autoethnography, all asking me the same question about its meaning. What I told them is what I understand from Digital Asia seminars and the reading “Autoethnography: An overview” by Ellis, Adams, Bochner. Autoethnography is a research method in which the researcher using their reflection and personal experience to write a story that gives meaning and understanding to wider cultural, social, and political.
In the second week I get to watch STATE OF PLAY (2013), by Steven Dhoedt. It is the documentary of a young Korean boys StarCraft player who chooses their career to be professional gamer as the top players can earn a lot of money. At the beginning of the movie, it’s not so interesting for me. It is start with the aerial perspective shots (like other movies) of the city of Seoul in South Korea to give the viewer the context. It is took me awhile to be interesting in the movie as it is very slow story lines but then I realize it is actually a good movie that Steven carefully put together to show Korean cultural.
“We don’t really play for fun. Mostly, we play for work. It’s the same for other jobs where you have to survive in competition. This work just happen to be a game”
The fist thing that I notice is the different in perspective in sport. I’m sure that many people in Australia or western culture do not see playing games as a sport because it’s just sitting at the front of the computer and playing games. Unlike the culture in South Korea and most nations in Asia are more open to eSports even have an eSports stadiums for gaming competition but why? Traditional sports require fitness, reaction time, and strategy same as eSports. Strategy: Game such as StarCraft and League of Legends need teamwork to win. Fitness: gamer don’t need to be strong as sport people but they require to sit in front of the computer 12+ hours a day. Reaction time: pro gamer are making around 300 actions per minute and multi-tasking at the same time in some games. With all the requirement above to be a pro gamer it’s hard as to be pro sport.
Another aspect that I find interesting in the film is “gender”. In the movie there is no female gamer, only male gamers been documented and female are the supporter. My personal opinion, this has clearly show that many people in Asian countries put more attention in men eSports and little attention with women eSports similar to every sport e.g. Football (soccer) where most of the people watch men soccer but not women soccer.
One last interesting aspect that I want to include in this article is friendship. In the documentary the gamer have to move in the team’s house with other teammate and train together, eat together, do everything together. I am sure this will give them a strong friendship but I found this a little bit too extreme for eSports and I would not leave my house and move in the clubhouse to be a pro gamer for sure.
If you want to know how big is the gaming culture in South Korea (click here)