“We don’t really play for fun. Mostly, we play for work”.

The notion of the term Autoethnography relates to my personal interests in studying the differences or similarities within different cultures, particular in the film industry. It is clear a cultural bridge still needs to be formed between different nations and the research methods and processes involved in Autoethnography builds a perfect foundation to achieve this goal. It’s funny how upon searching the subjects second research movie ‘State of play’, the results return a thriller/drama from 2009 starring Russel Crowe. Although both texts have the same title, it isn’t until you write the words ‘Korean Movie’ afterwards will you find the correct film.  Ellis, et al. 2004 understands this method as the removal of one’s self form their comfort zones and analyzing the experiences within different cultures through your own traditional lenses and using this as a tool of research. This means that although a language barrier may exist, the experiences and accounts gained while being engaged and involved in diverse practices also become the end product. This relates to the analyzation of the 1954 classic film ‘Gojira’. The entire movie contained no English bar the subtitles, but when you engage yourself with foreign content, you broaden your horizons – opening up your mind into an entirely different world.

Whilst watching ‘Gojira’, it becomes very easy to draw dissimilarities when comparing the culture against the typical 50’s films enjoyed in the western hemisphere. The same can be said with the South Korean film ‘State of Play’ which follows the manic nature of computer gaming as a sport in a way that some western cultures might find taboo. But what was interesting in both movies were the differences in the traditionalism and social interests found within both Asian cultures, depending on the age group they belonged to. For example, the cultural similarities between the Japanese elders and their younger generation were somehow lost in a gap filled with altering perceptions and beliefs. This was evident in the different methods in how the traditional tribe’s people dealt with the large beast, as the younger generation had no interest in the almost comical practices of human sacrifices. It’s almost as if the film conveys the negative vicissitudes resulting from cultural change and their lasting impacts – just like how the movie in context can also be viewed as a possible warning to future generations about the dangers surrounding nuclear weapons.

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Fast forward 60 years later and the same cultural variances in different generations still exist in the 2013 Korean film  ‘State of Play’, as the young Korean gamers struggle to convince their elders about the legitimacy of professional gaming. Although eSports champion Park Yo Han earns a steady salary and appears comparably rich to his father and uncles, they fail to understand the culture of online gaming, and reject the notion that playing Warcraft is a job. This is particularly amplified when one of Yo Hans uncle satirically mentions he should retire at the age of 28.

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“We don’t really play for fun. Mostly, we play for work. It’s the same for other jobs where you have to survive in competition. This work just happens to be a game”. – Park Yo Han.

 

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