Autoethnography, Starcraft and the Military.

I am still very confused on how auto-ethnography works. Hopefully I’ve understood the concept.
Ellis & Bochener say what I think translate to autoethnography being the process of understanding and thinking about a culture using yourself and how it applies culturally and socially.
The first example I came up with was when I went to the states, ate a hot dog a stereotypical American food and how it made me feel as an Australian who eats meat pies. Well that’s my understanding.
It is important to understand that each person has a different view on certain issues and I think autoethnography gives the individual the chance to explain their experience in a matter where everyone can understand .(Ellis and Boechner 2000)
Starcraft was a game I clocked on 9 to 5  with when i was young. I played for fun with friends but it was just a game. I dont think I would have dedicated my life to it . Not with my parents.Imagine explaining to your parents that you were moving over to Korea and advancing your “Starcraft” career. I think they would just look at me , make me recite the nonsense I’d just uttered a few more times.

What surprised me  was that Korean parents are encouraging their sons to compete in the tournaments and become pro gamers.  It falls right into place doesnt it. Stereotypically we call kids who play these games “nerds” but some boys were complaining of failing grades. Guess they aren’t so different after all. If all goes well there is a real chance to make a large salary as a pro gamer.We’re talking 6 figures.  At the same time, it is a very competitive industry in South Korea with amateur commanders eager to test out their skills and draft their way into a team. The emphasis of physical vs mental sport in each region can really be seen.  In ethnography, a culture’s relational practices are looked at, common values and beliefs, and shared experiences for the purpose of helping people not so close the culture gain a better grasp at whats happening (MASO, 2001)



Reflexive ethnographies are a way of understanding how you as the researcher change throughout your research. Reflexive/narrative ethnographies relate to your research and how it applies. Your research is a reflection of how what you’re interested in. You study yourself literally and this may come from ethnographic memories (ELLIS, 2004, p.50) or “confessional tales” (VAN MAANEN, 1988) and this is where the ethnographers personal research plays a part in explaining the experience. . (ELLIS, 2004).I have been seriously considering joining the military after uni so naturally I wanted to find out more. I do have a military background from both sides of the family so maybe its a natural inclination.

The selection of brilliant minds to lead these teams to victory reminded me of ‘Enders Game‘. RTS games or video games in general. Are there any connections with gaming and military. I did some digging and found a blog titled ‘Starcraft game added to military officer training curriculum.Offers Realistic Leadership Simulation’ The blog goes further :”Amid growing concerns with professionalism, conduct, and leadership among Navy and Marine Corps officer ranks, a working group was assembled to improve leaders in the areas of tactical understanding, money management, and impersonal leadership methods.”
This was very interesting as I trying to understand what benefits an RTS game would bring to the military. It turns out , opinions are mixed, as always. One officer said in its basic form the game is about understanding how to get your troops from A to B . Which positions need defending and attacking. However a former Starcraft player now Officer stated that Starcraft didn’t really add much in terms of his profession.
Starcraft is a game , so there is no pressure to keep your soldiers alive , but in a real life situation there is . As far as strategy games a lot of major factors are overlooked. How are soldiers fed, logistics, transport, ammunition, petroleum . These factors are all “assumed” in games but in reality they hold a real importance.

Well there goes my chance of ever becoming a battleship commander.  It turns out , RTS games aren’t the only games the military have employed to train soldiers and entice new recruits. FPS’s are also preferred among recruits to simulate real life combat and train them as closely to the real thing possible.  The gaming and military industry could form a very valuable partnership if video games continue to entice recruits and prepare them for the real thing weather that be physically as a soldier or an officer behind the scenes forming strategies and tactics playing the field like a chess board.

btw; The Korean Military had a professional Starcraft team who served and played Starcraft but because StarLeague was coming to and they disbanded. Thats still pretty cool seeing as how one game had such a huge impact on one culture.They go by the name ‘Air Force ACE.’

Here are some reads on the topic for anyone interested.

Starcraft Game Added To Military Officer Training Curriculum, Offers Realistic Leadership Simulation   <— Military fps video





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s