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That little click of passion .2 – State of Play Autoethnography

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Ellis et al defines autoethnography as “the approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience”, with this in mind I will look back at my first evaluation of State of Play (found here) and analyze my experiences and understanding through academic research.

Beginning with Frederich Schiller’s quote, “Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays”, State of play deals with the contrast of E-Sports and cultural family traditions in South Korea. The impact of professional gamers challenges the perceptions of what it means to be successful and fulfilled. Seo details the changing characteristics of people who enter into professional gaming and also the audience who participates. The impact of something seen as a leisure (playing video games) to a job (professional gaming) adds value to the individual – their character and behaviour. The transition from once a consumer to a creator changes the ability of engagement on a more social and professional level.

I mention the emotional implications that I see when introducing money into gaming. The value of enjoying a game changes to a drive and expectation to succeed forced upon by the individual, the team (if a part of one) and management. There is a struggle of experience and relevance when it comes to wanting to be a professional gamer and even while being a professional gamer. The window to be a professional gamer has not been critically evaluated by can be estimated from 14 to 26 years old. Twenty-six is seen to be where cognitive function starts to fade and so the individual becomes slower and less valuable. Though to make it all that way is unlikely – as with entering into professional gaming you are a tool to be used for the benefit of the industry and you have little say on what the industry will do with you. When people of such a young age like Park Yo Han in State of Play try to enter Esports they are inexperienced and uneducated about contract negotiation and there is little to no job security. There is just fierce competition based on the game you are playing. The individuals need to look after themselves but also the group. If an individual does not maintain the capabilities that are replaced with hesitation, if a group does not perform then that are all let go. If a once highly sought team fails that get placed to a challenger tournament where they compete with up-and-coming teams to take their place (Hollist, 2015).

In State of Play – I noticed Park Yo Hans’ parents question the capabilities of his commitment to become professional. With limiting job security and a short time frame of being a professional gamer it is a justifiable cause. Kim et al mentions that South Koreans highly value togetherness and inter-dependency in families with a clear hierarchical role among family members. The visual showing of Park Yo Hans family sitting around the table talking about the future of Park’s career and what his parents hope for him shows that he needs to challenge the expectation from his parents and prove that what he really wants to do is something that he can dedicate himself to – unlike his studies.

References:

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E. & Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no.1

Hollist, K.E. 2015, ‘Time to be grown ups about video gaming:the rising eports industry and the need for regulation’, Arizona Law Review, vol. 57, issue. 3, pp 823 – 847

Kim, H., Prouty, A., Smith, D., Ko, M., Wetchler, J. & Oh, J. 2014, ‘Differentiation of Self and its Relationship with Family Functioning in South Koreans’, American Journal of Family Therapy, vol. 42, no. 3, pp 257 – 265

Seo, Y 2016, Professional consumption and identity transformations in the field of esports, Journal of business research, vol. 69, no. 1, pp 264 – 272

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The repetitiveness of #1in5 women

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In 2016 there has been a number of politicians, activists and film stars claiming that ‘1 in 5’ women will be raped when on a college campus. This statistic has been repeated by third-wave feminists, Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and women activists alike, creating the claim that we live in a ‘Rape Culture’ (coined by feminists from the 1970s). Rape culture being that today’s society blames rape victims and normalizes male sexual violence (Wavaw, 2014).

American President Barrack Obama repeated this 1 in 5 statistic at the Grammy’s in 2015, when speaking about his “It’s On Us” campaign, which is about ending sexual assault on college campuses. Current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated it on her campaign trail at Iowa University in her campaign “Hillary for Women”. Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke from the television show ‘Girls’ star in a video campaign quoting the statistic 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted and urging people, especially women to ‘support, listen [and] take action’. The message is clear in each case that we hear, that there is a problem with male sexual violence against women and it needs to be dealt with. However, there has been plenty of information regarding, that this repetitive chant of rape culture and 1 in 5 statistic is misleading.

When dealing with such a significant and traumatic issue such as rape there is plenty of research provided that proves that this claim 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted on campuses is false and the references used to support this claim are not reliant. One reference comes from Westat with their Campus Climate Survey (found here), their own research found that not enough responses were made to adequately justify this claim of 1 in 5, also their term of ‘sexual assault’ is too broad, one could perceive an unwanted kiss on the same severity as forcible rape (Schow 2016).

To classify rape in the area of sexual assault is to put what ‘rape’ is on a spectrum, on one end is the differing examples of sexual assault all the way up to rape. Though this should not be, as rape is specific in its definition – the Oxford Dictionary defines rape as the “(typically of a man) force (another person) to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will” (2016). When public figures clump sexual assault and rape together there is blur on the message that is sent to the public. So there needs to be some clarity on the issue of the 1 in 5 statistic. Bretz claims that to talk properly about the issue of rape in classrooms is to talk to a class divided. Divided by thought and gendered assumptions based on experiences that may or may not have even happened. Feminists declare rape culture a problem on our campuses, the media and public figures repeat this issue, how can there be a meaningful discussion to clear the issue up when sides have already been drawn with a divided and divisive audience.

Sources:

2014, What is Rape Culture?, Women against violence against women, viewed 9/08/2016, http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

2016, Rape, Oxford Dictionaries, viewed 9/08/2016 http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/rape

Bretz, A 2014, ‘Making an Impact?: Feminist Pedadogy and Rape Culture on University Campuses’, English Studies in Canada, vol. 40, no. 4, pp 17-20

Schow, A 2016, New sexual assault survey suffers same problems as other, Washington Examiner, viewed 9/08/2016 http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/new-sexual-assault-survey-suffers-same-problems-as-others/article/2572532

That little click of passion – State of Play autoethnography

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Starting out with a quote from Fredrich Schiller, “Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays” State of Play encompasses the traditional and non-traditional aspects of being a young man wanting to get into E-sports in Korea. The hopes and dreams of being a professional gamer out-weighing the grounded expectations from family values and traditions.

 

 

State of Play follows young men currently in and wanting to get into the popular business of playing Star Craft professionally – a command and conquer style game where an individual builds up an army to destroy their enemy before they get destroyed.

Star Craft nor the idea of a ‘Gamer house’ is new to me – having being a fan of games and watching gaming tournaments. I have encountered groups of people who are organized to live together to practice their skills and achieve victory. However I feel the expectation of wanting to live in one of these houses, to be a professional gamer, conflicts with the amusement and enjoyment of playing video games. Once money has become involved and the idea of hours played on a video game turns from fun to an expectation, because your lively hood and title of ‘Professional Gamer’ is at risk, the emotional experience amplifies depending on how you perform. If you do not perform to the best of your abilities then you risk losing it all and questioning if you had done enough to stay relevant. Successful teams get sponsored and so make money for the people who own the team, this constant success opens the doors for more sponsors and creates a scenario for a successful business. The players become a product to be used, their abilities become a tool and expectation, if not reached then they are simply replaced. Quite the cut-throat scenario, but it holds true with the dedication and work that goes into being successful and to be called a ‘Professional Gamer’ – many people want to have the job but so few can.

State of Play brings up the family expectation for one of the guys involved – Park Yo Han. The conflict being that professional gaming is very competitive, as it should be only the best get to play. Parks’ family worry for him as they question his dedication to his games over his study at school. They question his commitment to wanting to play games as a career, as he doesn’t seem to be all that capable about dedicating himself to his studies. Parks’ parents question if Park can make this transition. I find this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do on behalf of the parents – by looking at the capabilities and personality of their son they question his future and want the best thing for him. There is a short window where people can be professional competitive gamers. Star Craft is reliant on how quick you can be with inputs, the faster you are the more you can do, the more you can do over your opponent, the better you chance on winning. As the years go on, dexterity of the fingers weakens and less inputs can be done – meaning you are slower and less likely to win. Therefor placing strain on winning games and needing to be replaced by someone younger who can make all the necessary inputs.

It isn’t just Korea that gets invested in E-sports. Star Craft who is run by the company Blizzard Entertainment has made many games that populate E-sports in America – such as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. I was curious as to how someone would go about getting into the business side of E-sports. As one may enjoy playing games, they may not be all that good at any game to get involved. So why not create a team of your own and enjoy watching the success of your team enjoy the success of winning.

Popular YouTuber Jesse Cox did just that. He enjoyed the game Heroes of the Storm but didn’t have the expertise to play the game at a high level to he created, organized and ran an E-sports team called the Stellar Lotus. However this endeavor wasn’t as easy as it seems. Getting involved took a lot of time, money and effort to get started and to maintain. Finding players who were capable of playing to a high level, them having the time to play the game at a professional level, paying for those players to spend the time to play the game, organizing a house for the members to live in to practice the game and create a team dynamic, investing time into getting the team into tournaments, trying to get sponsors, and dealing with all the conflicts that would rise. As Jesse Cox is a YouTuber he made a few videos detailing his frustration with running an E-sports team through a reflective learning, questioning if it is worth it and allowing the audience a little glimpse into the frustration that can happen. Called “The Salt” (for a good reason) here is his first video:

 

The personal and professional experiences seen in State of Play and The Salt show me that to be a part of professional gaming – leave the beginners behind take only the dedicated and committed to the arena of e-sports.