Author: berkankoz

e-sports. A way out for the ordinary.

I think everyone is aware of the changes we are going through. Its safe to say that humanity is transitioning into a digitally constructed society. The traditional games that we’ve played as kids are being swept under the bed to make room for the new games introduced.
E-sports has been on the rise recently and questions to the future of gaming are looming?

The aspect of e-sports that I particularly appreciate and is overlooked most of the time is how it bends the rules. Sport used to be for the physically advantaged. Throwing, kicking , running , punching. e-sports is the revenge of nerds and it gives these once upon a time rejects and geeks the chance to make some significant cash.
I spoke about the traditional aspects of e-sports in Turkey and how it is becoming more and more accepted everyday with huge football clubs investing in e-sports.

One turkish player made $32,000 off e-sports by participating in 19 tournaments. That figure equals 95,000 Turkish liras, which is about 10-12 years pay for the average Turk.
I think that this is one of the main reasons that have pushed players from Turkey into the e-sports arena.

Onur ‘Lethillion’ Aksu during an e-sports festival remarked on Al Jazeera “The only reason that e-sports has grown so popular over the years can be credited to the strong supporters of the industry. You guys that love games as much as we do. E-sports in Turkey has hit the professional level and we can see massive amounts of funding in our industry in Turkey as well as overseas. These financial incentives will no doubt expand e-sports in Turkey as well as bring in new players from more regional areas. Its gotten to the point where players are transferring between teams and I think for the Turkish people this will add a whole new level of excitement. Turkish people will always support any turkish team when they are competing overseas weather its football or computer games”

I can see what he means. I wasn’t a big follower of e-sports before, but I found out that Turkey had some teams and the industry was growing which immediately grabbed my attention. I am now constantly searching up scores and results from e-sports in Turkey.
This doesn’t mean that I favour e-sports in Turkey over Australia .  But comparing Turkey to Australia is two different things. One is an open minded country, the other isn’t as much.  It would’ve been harder to introduce e-sports to Turkey and the fact that is has grown so rapidly deserves an applause.

E-sports has infiltrated Turkish culture to the point where it is now influencing business models. ‘BAZE e-sports cafe & bar’ is Turkeys first bar dedicated to e-sports. This has paved way to the introduction of Turkey’s first dedicated e-sports channel called BAZE.TV.
BAZE upload videos to youtube as well as livestream e-sports events. This is only a growing trend in Turkey and considering how rapidly it has expanded Turkey can only expect bigger and better things in the field of e-sports.

note: The first video has english Subtitles and is exactly like State of Play . Parents, friends and family. A glimpse of what Turkish people think of e-sports.

The second video is in Turkish but its got some shots of how the e-sports bar and cafe looks.

It also turns out there are more e-sports enthusiasts in Turkey than Korea.

newzoo_esports_enthusiast_density_map – BAZE TV youtube channel. -BAZE TV live stream via twitch -BAZE BAR TEASER VIDEO


Old School vs New School.

I find myself once again changing my stance and opinions on e-sports. I am constantly sifting through ideas and have switched to something I think, in an ethnographic sense applies more to this subject and enables me to share my opinions more freely. As an autoethnographer it is important to note and be aware of the multiple resources you have lying around .We live connected to social networks that include friends and relatives, partners and children, co-workers and students, and we work in universities and research facilities. (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011)

My background is Turkish. Although I was born here , we relocated when I was younger so its safe to say that I have aspects of both cultures within me . The concept of ‘sports’ has changed dramatically over the years and to my surprise it has so in Turkey as well.
A country I believed was very much old school, where the average young man enjoys his freedom till his 18th birthday , then shipped off to the military so he can fight someone else’s war.


However with the rise of e-sports I think that the cultural understanding and acceptance of sports in Turkey is changing .
When I was 10 , all I knew was a ball. Cans and bottles would do fine as long as we could kick it. The Internet cafe was a treat. Tech-heads in Turkey , despite their own follower base would be labelled as nerds and antisocials by the large majority of the older generation.
Despite this labelling tons of kids would would go to these cafes simply because personal computers were expensive and LAN gaming was possible. Soon after around 2005 , Ankara where I lived experienced a massive boom in Internet and Playstation Cafes . They were popping up everywhere and kids would partake in Counter Strike tournaments in their local net cafes and I think that this was the first step of Turkey’s transition into the online era.
Sports are very important in Turkey. Fans are passionate and this passion has often led to violence and potential bans for Turkey participating in world events especially after the fatal stabbings of 2 Leeds United supporters in April 2000.
Besiktas otherwise known as BJK , known for its strong old school approach have done the unthinkable and picked up an e-sports team which indicates that the Turks want to move on and explore new avenues outside their comfort zone.  It has been 2 years since BJK have made their team Fenerbahce, also a giant in Turkish football have made the transition. This movement from reputable Turkish football team are good pushers for the catching on of e-sport in Turkey and I think Turkey can expect some good performances in this field. Perhaps with the correct attitude and training the young Turkish teams can be as good as the Koreans .

My research will shift from my previous post based on RTS gaming and the Military to The role of E-sports and how it is slowly changing the traditional understanding of sport in a very traditional and old school country.
I have begun by viewing another documentary film “All Work All Play” . It is very similar to State of Play but focuses on League of Legends rather than SC. How e-sports started and where it has come today.
I have also asked my mates and cousins  from Turkey to see what the general public thinks of e-sports as well as my younger cousins who are the first generation to start e-sports over traditional sports.
Prominent Universities in Turkey such as Bilkent and Middle Eastern Technical University have started putting together e-sport societies and stage tournaments in search of gifted players.
I want to focus on the benefits of e-sports in terms of financials and how it applies in Turkey because I believe that it is a big incentive for Turkish kids who live far below the standards we have in Australia. Well some of them .

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





My Life for Eire. State Of Play.

Opening scenes. Not so fascinated, overhead shots of South Korea, looks pretty cool yeah whatevs however when I heard Zeratul and Aldaris talking at the start of the video my care factor for the show jumped from 3 to 10 . I love StarCraft. I even carry it around on my portable hard drive so i have access to it everywhere. StarCraft was one of those games that you could play hours and hours on end. The story line was great and I a 9 year old in 2002 prett much had a crush on Kerrigan while she was still a Ghost .

State of Play is a doco based on the lives of multiple Korean boys, who have set out to become pro gamers in a new opening of sport called “e-sports”.  E-sports haven’t been around for long in comparison to your traditional understanding of sport. Well that changes according to what tradition you’re from. State of Play challenges and attempts to alter ones stereotypical view of sport and gaming. The era where the human mind overrules the body is pretty much here. “Enders Game” came to mind at first where they select quality minds through rigorous training and and repetitive tasks examining their actions in RTS games. Are they secretly testing us to find the best star-ship commander? The ability to operate a computer is more important than sprinting after a deer for dinner . The era of the ‘geek’is here.


Utilising Autoethnography I approach this relatively new concept of e-sports and compare to my traditional understanding of sport. I play football and engage actively in kickboxing . My understanding, altered and influenced by cultural , traditional and family factors taught me that sport is a game which requires two or more teams who physically exhibit high levels of skill to become the winner but the lifestyle these boys live illustrate how narrow my conception of sport was. If anything mentally being put off something you love to do for fun is killing it. The repercussions are heavier in comparison to being tired from running around after a ball.  Lee Jae Dong, one of the pro gamers and perhaps the center of the shows focus. His life from the outside may look desirable and cool, however he explains that the physical and mental strength required to compete in these sporting events is phenomenal.  Just like any sport , training is necessary. 10-12 hours a day, in front of a computer screen slouching on a chair isn’t your ideal sport , in fact we are told quite the opposite.

These e-gamers, like Jae Dong all belong to their own team , who live in their own team house, eat , game, sleep , game , toilet break, game all together. The training and repetitive nature of StarCraft would become daunting and would kill the game for me if i was forced to play and practice every day.
One boy even remarked “When I play I work , I don’t play for enjoyment anymore”. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

Like every professional sports star does , Jae Dong too has his followers. His supporters cry and cheer for him while he battles his opponents, tearing up marines and firebats with his critter zerglings and dousing goliaths and vultures with hydralisk fluid his  female fanatics can be compared to the Tal’Darim drooling over Dong as if he was the Xel’Naga himself.
One young lady refers to him as ‘hardworking and very competitive I like him because he never leaves the house and he practices’ . She has a crush on him like Raynor does to Kerrigan. Buying him gifts and following him to his matches.  The values and ethics that the Korean girl was looking for in her sports idol indeed clashes with western ideals. This was another world where different rules apply. Survival of the fittest was irrelevant , to survive you had to be the smartest and that’s what they were after. “If you are good at Starcraft, you are a smart person ” (Korean boy’s father).
The lack of female competitors also is an interesting aspect of the documentary.  Is it because gender roles are concrete and  in Korea or are females just not interested in StarCraft.

To finish my first post I would like to reiterate how my understanding of e-sports has changed. I believe that the rise of e-sports is only beginning and may eventually take over as the primary understanding of competitive sports. People, especially the younger generation will be more inclined to be better at not just StarCraft but computer gaming overall.





Should of done this last week.
Hello, Im Berkan. Im in the Monday class at 14:30 and am the big bearded fella for anyone wanting to know.

Im a 3rd year HIST/ENGL student . I realised that i took the wrong course when i started DIGC335 but oh well too late.
I think that these subjects which are available to BCM students are incredible and I kick myself for not switching earlier.

They are fun, entertaining and personally because i enjoy the content I engage more. Chris is a legend . Dont think anyone else could do the subject as well as him. Everything is set up and ready to go at your convenience .
I think it is an important subject more so than others because there are issues in here which concern us. Yes History is all about learning about the past but this is all about the future and that is what intrigues me .

I can expect new content every time i come to class which keeps me interested.
Id recommend this subject to anyone aswell as DIGC330 AND 310 (so pissed off Im going to miss out on it ) .