Following on from my first blog about the film ‘State of Play’ based on South Korean pro gamers playing Star Craft, I have done some research into certain thoughts and epiphany which I observed whilst viewing the film.
The first point I broke down through research was; “Korean culture is very minimalistic players don’t own many possessions and sleep on thin mats instead of in beds – this was very interesting to note”. Research revealed that Koreans spend a lot of time cleaning their floors due to the lifestyle centred on the floor. Dining tables are normally very low to the ground as dinner is usually eaten on the floor. Even today, most people sleep on the floor (Lee 2016).
My second point which I researched into focused on players living together. “Professional players live together in a house with up to 14 players under the one roof. Is this to reinforce teamwork or for economic needs (cheaper?)”. Bago (2016) explains the reasoning behind the gaming house in his article. ‘The roots of the gaming house began as a money-saving measure for players to pursue competitive gaming opportunities in the cost-prohibitive city of Seoul.’
I also researched further into players practising 10-12 hours a day on Star Craft. As a sports player the idea that players train that long on their chosen game struck me as over training and I thought injury would surely occur. “Players train 10-12 hours a day on Star Craft which is an insane amount of screen time surely headaches and RSI play a part in the long term?” Jacobs (2015) looked into two Korean players training schedule. He found that Chae “Piglet” Gwan-jin and Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun, are notorious for pushing the physical boundaries for how much a person can practice. They often sleep only four hours a night and practice between 12 and 14 hours per day.
In fact this point was more serious than I thought. Brautigam (2016) highlights that injuries in esports are nothing new. ‘Across games and nations, injuries have derailed the careers of pro-players for some time past’. He also states that the list of top-notch esports players suffering from injuries gets longer every year. One particular case is Lee “Flash” Young Ho, known to be one of the most dominant players in the history of StarCraft 2. He underwent surgery in 2011 to eradicate wrist problems, and was then forced to take a recovery break, including a stay at a sports rehabilitation facility. Young Ho stated “At the beginning, my arm was stiff and I was not able to hold my mouse. It even hurt me a little, but I am doing my hardest to recover,” (Young Ho cited in Brautigam 2016). Wrist injuries however are not the only common injury whilst playing Star Craft. Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun, StarCraft 2’s third-highest earning player at that time also suffered from pains however in his neck that caused numbness in his shoulder and arms.
If I were to review the film again I believe I would have a different perspective on the points mentioned above. Specifically the rigorous training schedule which results in lack of sleep. Initially I thought the gamers were just lazy, with poor sleeping scheduled and even stereotyped the pro players as “nerdy gamers”, however the research changed this perspective because I now understand the level at which these pro gamers compete at and their goals to be dominant in their sport. After this research I believe that my approach to e sports has changed and I will be taking on board the information learnt through my research when analysing similar texts in any future experiences.
Jacobs H., “Here’s the crazy training schedule of young guys who make huge salary playing video games”, Business Insider, accessed Friday 19th August 2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/pro-gamers-explain-the-insane-training-regimen-they-use-to-stay-on-top-2015-5?r=US&IR=T>
Bago J., “Dispelling the Myth of the Korean Gaming House: What Lessons the Philippine eSports Industry Can Learn From Our Korean”, esports inquirer, accessed Friday 19th August 2016, <http://esports.inquirer.net/13920/dispelling-the-myth-of-the-korean-gaming-house-what-lessons-the-philippine-esports-industry-can-learn-from-our-korean-overlords>
Lee K., 2016, “20 Cultural Mistakes to Avoid in Korea”, Seoulistic, accessed Friday 19th August 2016, <http://seoulistic.com/korean-culture/20-cultural-mistakes-to-avoid-in-korea/>
Brautigam T., “Esports needs to face its injury problem”, esportsobserver, accessed Friday 19th August 2016, <http://esportsobserver.com/esports-needs-face-injury-problem/>