State of Play- Gaming Life In Korea

When seeing the word, ‘Autoethnography’ within the first week of uni my first thought was, is that a spelling error? And that I am going to have to write this word over and over again dreaded me. After going over Ellis reading on Autoethnography simplified its term quite easy for me.

‘Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience.’ – Ellis. (2011, pt.1)

Within the subject we will be using the use of why and how to analyse, observe and interpret our take on different pieces we watch per week.

We watched both, ‘Gojira’ and ‘State of Play’ however I felt that I had more of a connection towards ‘State of Play’ due to my knowledge and connection towards Video Games. Even though I know the audience and background of how far games can grow communities I never knew it could go this far that it felt like I watched a sport movie rather than about a game.


‘State of Play,’ is a documentary featured in Korea that focuses on three people classified as, the pro, the noob and the watcher.  It looks into the culture and growth between the gaming industry of Starcraft and how it has evolved into a competitive gaming genre. Hundreds of young boys gather in hopes to become a pro gamer from various events that sponsor and gather recruits into specialised teams that train, live and breathe the game. Even though the documentary takes on a more professional look of the industry it also incorporates the use of emotions and the experiences the young men all endure.

The observations I made:

  • The fact that compared to the Noob and the Pro gamer towards the game as one enjoys the fact of playing the game and wanting to advance into the industry. The Pro gamer sees it as a fact of life and work merely not as a game anymore.
  • The Health factors that aren’t mentioned and valued as I begun to watch the boys seemed to not really have outside lives. Yet the main teams did have a system that made the noob have to work his way up the ranks to be accepted even if that means house work, training plus school.
  • The value of giving up everything to just train to get better. I found the comparison between each individual and how it was the game, schooling or life to be always a factor. It really connected to people’s lives and the decisions we faced as each individual wanted to take a different path and the consequences that came with it. Example, the noob wanted to go to School however the team said he would need to quit school to become better.
  • Women weren’t seen as the gamers but rather the fans that really had emotional connections towards the players that lead them to want to cheer them on. Even if this means through the wins and loss of games.


  1. Your blog was interesting to read I like how you focused on aspects that the film didn’t pay particular attention to such as the health factors of these gamers and also that there aren’t any female gamers. It’s a shame that there wasn’t any female gamers in the documentary it would have been interesting to hear their perspective.
    I like the way you have documented your ethnographic experience in the form of dot points. I think it shows how engaged you were with the documentary and that it brings out your perspective and thoughts on the issues that were being shown.
    All in all I enjoyed reading your blog, well done! ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, great blog post.
    I thought this was an interesting analysis of ‘state of play’, particularly because of two observations that you pointed out from your experience of viewing ‘state of play’.
    I liked your first observation of the differences between the ‘noob’ and ‘pro’ gamer in the Korean pro gaming culture. As a ‘casual’ online gamer myself, I have experienced first hand the way a perceived ‘noob’ can be treated differently in online games.
    Another point of observation I noted was the seemingly different status of women in the world of pro gaming in Korea, which is something I have also experienced first hand in the gaming world.
    Overall a very interesting and thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

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