State of Play (2013), play huh?

I am a latecomer into BCM320, my first class being in week 2, and my reasons, unfortunately, are not as exotic as recently returning from the classic euro trip many embark on as a right of passage of being a student in their early teens, angsty to escape and party after 13 weeks of tedious study. I am unfortunately just a very unorganised and indecisive person which is the cause for the late enrolment into BCM320. After I caught myself up on what I had missed so far and grasped a general gist of the subject in my first tutorial, I am pleased I chose this subject to close my studies in global communications. I am curious to study a culture I have a personal interest in; My family have welcomed exchange students from Japan, Thailand and the Philippines to board at our home for the duration of their stay in Australia. The time they spent with us allowed my sisters and me to develop a deeper insight into lifestyles we had minimal or stereotypical knowledge of (we made a lot of assumptions based on films/TV shows, magazines and word of others). I thoroughly enjoyed comparing the mannerisms, humour, fashion, leisure, food and traditional customs of my familiar home environment with a foreign culture so interesting and special as Asia. I feel confident my combined appreciation and fascination that stemmed from the exchange students stay, will cement a keen focus and perceptive outlook in the seminars to come.

Whilst watching the weekly screening, we are encouraged to participate in a live tweeting stream. This exercise proved helpful after my first screening of the subject, State of Play, a documentary set in South Korea which features stories of professional gamers. From instantly tweeting my thoughts, I found a higher level of engagement with the film; vocalising my immediate reactions allowed me to reflect on my own cultural bubble and therefore why I was responding the way I was. I enjoyed reading the tweets of my fellow class members as their contribution to the conversation stimulated new pathways of thinking and a offered some fresh new perspectives.

The gaming phenomena, in general, is already a foreign concept for me, the only virtual game I have ever paid any interest in was the Sims and that was a short-lived hobby. It’s easy to say my knowledge of the field is extremely limited to begin with, which could explain my shock when I learnt there is a level of professionalism in gaming as if it was an English premier football game. My impression that video games were purely a hobby, there to offer hours of amusement, was pretty much crushed after watching this film.

The phrase ‘all work and no play’ should be the tagline for this documentary. hqdefault

These gamers participate in tournaments which are aired live, complete with commentators, fan-girl audiences and big prize money. It’s the whole shebang! It was hard for me to believe this wasn’t a satire sitcom, overall I was shocked to see a great deal of pressure fall on these kids shoulders for something designed for personal enjoyment. My initial reactions were based on the fact this type of sports entertainment is so far outside the realm in which I live. Upon reflection, I was able to take the theme of the documentary, and globalise it; I realised that taking a leisure and reinventing it to be a highly competitive and commercialised activity occurs in every country, the absurdity doesn’t start and end in South Korea.


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