Game and Life

Autoethnography, for sure, a process and a product with the combination of autobiography and ethnography, it helps us to understand cultural experiences or cultures by analyzing their own experiences. Well, I was like “What is that?” at the beginning of the class. For me to understand this in an easier way, autoethnography is writing a “story” to tell other people what your own experience and connect it to different aspects, like social, cultural and political.


In Week 2, I was excited and amazed by the documentary “State of Play” (2013) by Steven Dhoedt. The title gave me a really big hint towards the documentary before I watched. It sounds like an achievement or honor. To be called “state of play” should be a really big gaming industrial country. I guessed it right which is Korea to have such honor to be called that. The documentary is not only about “Play”, but exploring the gaming career by looking at groups of youngsters who tried hard to become professional players and top players in a game called “StarCraft”. I felt normal towards the documentary and I did not surprise about the fact that they were trying hard to become a top player, but more of that, the importance or procedure to become a top player was harsh and dilemma. It was interesting to watch that I felt the same way when I was the same age as who they were. Here is something I noticed and reflected after I watched the documentary:


I feel “jealous” or upsetting about the top player Lee Jae Dong. He was a StarCraft player that made 135000 euros in 2007 and he started to play when he was 16. It gives me a sight that Korea gaming career can make a lot of money based on the players’ ranking or fame. The fans totally shocked me, which I thought there should be guys but instead all of his fans are girls. The gender is significant. Guys are playing the game to compete for the single seat into the famous team and become the representative to join the competition. I was so jealous about the facts he earned a lot of money by only playing StarCraft and had such a fan base. However, I feel upsetting about the fact that Lee did not enjoy playing the game at all during the time StarCraft was overwhelmed. He played for work and not for fun by the evidence that his face did not show any joyful or happiness. I feel like it shows a cultural statement about Korea gaming industry that players focus their practice and listen to their coach to play a strategic game. Comparing to Australia, the fame of being a gamer does not sound big or proud in Australia from what I know. Esport here in Australia does not sound as popular as Korea and it proves that its unique cultures of gaming.


The documentary also made me amused about the differences between a professional player and a student who wishes to become a professional player.

I saw how enthusiastic the “newbie” tried so hard to become a professional player that he attended over 7 times and all failed, but did not stop his dream to become true. Meanwhile, the professional player was having harsh time with loads of practice and lack of studying. I could not imagine how would he be if he joined the pro team.


  1. I really enjoyed the emotive responses you give when recounting your media experiences, which is a great way to structure your blog as blogs act as your personal space.
    One thing maybe I would suggest is delving a little deeper into the weeks reading and noting a more in-depth summary of Autoethnography by Ellis et al. I like the cultural retrospect’s you explored especially your comment about how your understanding of the term relates to the social, political and cultural aspects, which also links to the observation you made about the converse statuses professional gamers have when comparing Korea to Australia.


    1. Thank you very much for the comment! I appreciate that you enjoyed my experience and understanding by comparing Australia gaming industry and Korea’s. And thank you for pointing out the reading summary, which helps me to do a better job for the blog post next time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi John! I love your breakdown of autoethnography as a personal ‘story’, it is easy for those don’t know the meaning to understand in a simple yet effective way. I also find your emotional responses as somewhat cute and you seem to have really enjoyed the documentary (as evident with your attachments with the actors).

    I am with you that “the fame of being a gamer does not sound big or proud in Australia” in comparison with Korea (despite Australia having a huuuuge gaming industry). I think this is due to gaming still having a stigma of being considered ‘nerdy’ or ‘lame’ in the wider society. What do you think?

    I do agree with the top comment though that you could have interacted more with the reading and included more applicable theories and concepts.


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