Short analysis of ‘The Roar’ article

< http://www.theroar.com.au/2014/03/25/hird-needs-essendon-more-than-essendon-needs-hird/>

An article covering the James Hird scandal in the wake of the Essendon football club discussing the likelihood of his returning as senior coach during the 2015 season

This article posted on ‘The Roar’ discusses the future of the Essendon Football Club and their previous legend turned coach turned blacklist, James Hird. The coverage points out a lot of interesting and valid points surrounding Hirds career and the legecay of EFC, however it is written too emoitionally and rom a very personal point of view.

 Often the author refes to her own opinion using first person and makes remarks with little factual basis. For example the second paragraph, “Hird is used to calling the shots, whether as a player or in his coaching career. If he wanted something done, people would listen and more often than not get it done.”

 Firstly there is no follow up examples where this could be proven, it is just an assumption and opinion of the author. Secondly using phrases like “more often that not” make the article sound more conversational and uninformed.

 Overall however, this style is common on ‘The Roar’ as it is a collection of articles written often by amateur journalists who want to get their opinion out there on a recognized and respected new site.

Janie Knight

Team Immunity leads the rise of E-Sports in Australia

It has taken its time to catch up to the popularity of the Internet, but in the last few years competitive video gaming, or E-Sports, has risen to be one of the most popular activities amongst the X and Y generations.

It’s comparison to any other sport comes from the similarities in skill co-operation, training and expression. “Esports is an avenue for people to express themselves, collaborate, socialize and its all the developmental levels that we normally go through in all the other things offline as well,” says Sydney Universities cyberpsychologisy supervisor Andrew Cambpell.

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As you would a game of soccer, one might deicide to tune in on a live streaming internet website and watch two of the best League of Legends teams battle it out in the Championship games that ends in a team taking home up to a million dollars. Compared to international interest, Australia is considered to be about 5 years behind in the gaming industry according to Reagan Koryozo the founder of the Australian branch ESL (Electronic Sports League). “Gaming culture between Australia and America and asia, if you just use those three, we are extraordinarily behind,” says Andrew.

The popularity of gaming and esports is very much an underground audience, however with teams such as team Immunity making waves in the Australian gaming spotlight it’s quickly becoming hard to ignore. E-Sports is most definitely on the rise in Asia and America, it’s only a matter of time when we’ll see this new sport gain momentum in Australia. Whether or not the media industry keeps up with it’s growing popularity is another thing.

Though video gaming might be main stream, competitive esports is new and growing, not yet has it been appropriately covered in the media, but slowly it’s on the rise with articles in the Sydney morning Herald that cover Raydere’s success, the ADC (Attack Damage Carry position) for Team Immunity competitive League of legends team.

Rubix Cube of the Fantasy World

Look, I know in this day and age the best gaming experience depends on the computer you’re using, your console, internet, whats your ping? FPS? Gaming mouse, headset, keyboard, graphics, online community, updates, patches and so on and so forth. But there’s this little world, this little niche community that revolves around how well your dice are rolling today, and the colour of your wizards hat. Where it all started, the mother of all fantasy roleplaying games. World of Warcrafts older, non-computerised brother. Table Top.

Where your character can be anything you want. An undead elven assassin. A bloodlusting paladin from the hidden city of Kalor intent on uncovering the mysteries of the shadowrealm. If you can think of it, you can live it. Through your character. And it’s not just the infinite possibilities. Once you start understanding your Table Top RPG, you start becoming connected to it. You hate other characters, NPCs are aways grumpy and unhelpful and you mourn the death of your level 13 Elven Bard who could put three enemies to sleep in under 30 seconds.

But even with the gaming coverage we have these days, the little hidden articles on page 47 of the sunday telegraph, it’s still only about video games. And often only the ‘adverse negative effects’ or these games. There aren’t any competitions, no prize money or world leagues but there is a community. And there needs to be a public forum for people to learn, communicate, get involved and help each other.

Table top and board games of a similar idea need to be promoted and protected because this is the foundation of gaming, this is the rubix cube of the fantasy world. The chess of the rpg realm. We need to protect and cherish our table top gaming.

Janie Knight

Positive effects of gaming?

Too much time on the computer per day can have a hugely negative impact on anybody. It can harm your eyes, plague your body and stunt your ability to socialize. So says public opinion. Day in and day out there are new accounts of children playing violent video games, or spending too much time on the computer or developing anti social behavior. However, just recently the Sydney morning herald posted a story in their ‘technology’ section called “Australian researches reveal upside to gaming”, in which the quote “Experts are divided over whether brutal games increase the likelihood of aggressive behaviour and desensitize people to violence,” appears.

This perception of gaming is a newer and less developed or researched opinion. Andrew Campbell, a friendly looking man with a loud and contagious laugh boasts his profession as a cyberpyschologist. “cyberpsychology, is all about how technology effects behavior and how behavior can impact the development of technology.”

The café was crowded and load, a stark difference to how someone might imagine the surroundings of a gamer. Birdcages hung decoratively from the roof and a rustic, elegant ambiance hung in the air. Andrew sipped from his coffee and talked passionately and excitably about his opinions and research regarding gaming, “if I was single and really liked living in the dark I would be on [computer games] all the time.” When undertaking his PhD, Dr. Campbell had no professor who was able to supervise him because his research was in a completely new and somewhat untouched area of psychology. Bouncing between faculties, Dr Campbell finished his degree and is now the University of Sydney cyberpsychology supervisor. “When I was doing my PhD in 2000 I spent half my time on that and the other half playing computer games,” Say Andrew, “but it was research.”

“When I decided to do my PhD I actually decided to do it on online counseling, how the internet was revolutionizing mental health by getting people to come online and talk anonymously about their problems,” Say Andrew.

The large room is dark, the lights purposefully dimmed, no voices can be heard, the blue white lights of the screens reverberate off the transfixed faces. ‘LAN’ they call it, a safe haven, a hobby, a job for some. Local Area Network. There are local spaces all over Sydney where ‘gamers’ can turn up and pay for an amount of time to sit and play games against each other and others from all over the world. All the patrons are donning expensive headsets and the constant clicking of the mouse flickers throughout the room.

This is gaming. Like any sport it takes skill and co-operation, training and expression. And it is a sport, E-Sports. Dr. Campbell takes another sip from his cappuccino and apologizes for rambling again; he smiles and continues, caught up in every word and thought he has. “Esports is an avenue for people to express themselves, collaborate, socialize and its all the developmental levels that we normally go through in all the other things offline as well.”

According to Dr Campbell there are a number of different views and opinions that support the idea that games and gaming can have as much a positive impact on somebodies life as the negative. “Gaming is a way that has been shown cognitively to problem solve faster than teaching basic rope learn Maths, English and science”

“It’s the way we approach problems, Maths tells you to approach it one way, someone else might solve the same problem through music. Games allow that. Games actually explore different behavior and cognitive processes and then you can use that on real life problems,” says Dr. Campbell. “Without real life or simulated instances of moral dilemmas what you think you’ll do to what you actually do are two different things.”

Gaming is evolving from board games to computer games into the competitive world. Internationally, e-sports are as a legitimate career choice as becoming a professional athlete. 87 000 people tuned in on google+ to watch the League of legends Season 3 World Championship this year. According to Dr. Campbell there is a place for e-sports in our society today, however as much as society has to evolve so too does e-sports, ““if they haven’t been around games a lot as they’ve evolved, they have to start from scratch… they don’t know the jargon or how the game works,” says Dr. Campbell, “if you want to go out and kick a ball you’ve learnt those skills at school or with your parents.” It isn’t the same for e-sports.

People start playing computer games because they’re interested in computer games, “the kids themselves are picking it up at school because they want to be a part of the group that talks about it. So in 10-15 years it’ll be big because this generation will grow up and it will drive the industry.”

The issues with e-sports developing is the rift between the gamers and the rest of the world. Where the similarities are between e-sports and professional sport is where e-sports is getting lost. There is a lack of promotion and merchandising.  “One player does this off the game, one team trains this way, one team trains the other way. This side of e-sports is just so unknown. That’s the part that I actually think brings the real fanbase in. When you can go, I can live this outside of the game.”

Compared to the international fanbase, Australia is a tiny spec on the e-sports arena. We don’t have a team that competes in the World Championships and we don’t’ have the talent, money, sponsorship or interest to create a team to compete. “Gaming culture between Australia and America and asia, if you just use those three, we are extraordinarily behind.”

The Western understanding is that  it’s not a sport sport, but really it’s as competitive as any other sport out there. I just think it’s a case of does it have a viewing audience? And I think it’s an underground audience.”

Team Immunity is Australia’s premier e-sports team across a number of different platforms and games. They represent Australia internationally, in a number of pan-pacific competitions and compete for prizes as large as $20 000 at a time. The teams are sponsored by software companies and networks and hire competitive players from the age of 18 years old. However, the interest in it isn’t resulting in support and so even as the industry grows, the popularity and attention does not.

There are a number of positive impacts gaming and being a part of the gaming culture can have on society. Numerous core values and lessons that can be learnt; Co-operation, teamwork, determination. “If you look up all the journals, it’s overwhelmingly true.” “I think it was in Harvard Law actually, but it said that the moral issues you face in games, especially fantasy games have come about in legal battles they’ve had to deal with in their essays.”

 

What it means to Aus Gaming – PAX Melbourne

In 2004 Penny Arcade decided that gamers needed an exhibition that rivaled that of comic books or animae, and they were right. When the gaming webcomic company staged its first exhibition in Bellvue, Washington, some 4500 people came out. 

Almost ten years later the international gaming exhibition will be held for the first time outside the US, in Australia, with Melbourne hosting the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in July this year and next year. For gamers all throughout Australia it’s a sign of the rise of the gaming culture. 

“Gaming culture in Australia is the mutual understanding between Aussie gamers to support each other and the games we play,” says Josh Edwards. “Everyone is trying to do their best to support the scene.” Josh is a 23 year old Marketing manager at BenQ, he also happens to be Counter-Strike national champion and Battlefield 3 world Champion as part of ‘Team Immunity’. 

 Josh competes in games professionally, and when he has a spare moment watches live stream computer games. Getting involved in the gaming culture is a simple as turning on your computer and joining a game online or for others, getting together around a table with some friends and playing tabletop. Noah Hodge, a third year psychology student spends much of his recreational time meeting up with a group of friends to play Rolemaster – an ‘old school’ role-playing game in the style of Dungeons and Dragons. 

 “Table top gaming, compared to computer gaming is that the scope is infinite, the possibilities are endless and not limited by software,” said Noah, who got involved in gaming initially through computer-based games like Warcraft and Runescape. PAX being brought to Melbourne gives Australian gamers the opportunity to take part in an international gaming culture. “It’s very exciting to know that the gaming culture in Australia is being recognized and appreciated,” said Noah. 

 For both Josh and Noah gaming is about having fun and challenging yourself, either through your mind or skill. “I’m the type of person that always needs something to work towards, gaming slowly became part of that,” says Josh, “I love the competitive side and the drive it takes to try to be the best”. 

 According to a study conducted by Queesnland’s Bond University, 95% of Australian households with children in it own a gaming console and this number rises from year to year, similarly, attendees of PAX have risen from 2004 at 4,500 to over 70 000 people at the exhibition in 2012. The expo is planned to be held in Melbourne both this July and next year. “Melbourne has a long history of supporting the games scene, through showcasing cultural game exhibits to supporting world renowned game developers. Holding PAX Australia in Melbourne is the perfect fit for our show,” said Penny Arcade president, Robert Khoo. 

Whether it’s for a social get together with a few friends like Noah or for the competitive aspects that allow you to challenge and better yourself like Josh, gaming in Australia is growing from year to year. The culture that has risen in Australia is developing itself an international image and recognition and having PAX held in Melbourne over the next two years is a great start. 

 Sarah Knight

Where is the Gaming coverage?

I sit around on a Friday or Saturday night in a winter and watch match after match of footy, Sydney Swans versus Collingwood, West Coast Eagles versus Geelong. The good matches, and the terribly bad matches. I yell at the TV and text my brother across Sydney about how “Goodsey is past his prime, see that missed tackle?” and “Oh Nic Nat, what a grab!” And maybe, this behavior, this love of the skill and challenge, is what tricked me into wanting to write about the thrill of sport.

But what do I do other than sit in my living room and watch the games? Nothing. What is my past time? Why, I play games. Computer games, play station games, board games, role-playing games. I play games on my ipad and iphone, I download trivia games and mystery games on my computer. I look for applications on my iphone that help me get better at other games I play on my PC. I love games.

What’s the difference really between games and sport? Well the physical activity for one, I suppose. And the general social acceptance. What self-respecting parent enrolls their kid in weekly LAN sessions instead of cricket over the summer? Or teaches their child the damage a paladin does in DnD and how many dice they should use. What’s a natural 20? None, that’s who.

Then you go through your life and you think “I could write about sport, I enjoy watching sport”. No one tells you that games aren’t just a past time. Then again, where can you read about gaming in your day-to-day media? Where’s the gaming section in the newspaper, behind the sport or before celebrity sections? Oh there it is, the crossword.

There is a need for it though. There is a faction in this world, this country, this city, slowly growing to encompass all the children, all the adolescences and very slowly our older generations as well. Dungeons and Dragons, yes that game where we all dress up as mages and pretend to kill goblins, is so popular you can find dungeon guides in your local game store, which you have by the way. There are sessions run in local pubs and clubs where you can meet up with strangers and be best mates over a few beers and the murder of an assassin queen.

Your kids learn to add and subtract on dice, they learn to read and create and develop such an imagination. They make up their own characters and stories, they see their friends more often and they’ll rarely break anything in the house when they all come over to play.

That’s not to say that computer games are less social. League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game, but so much more. Did you know that just last month the World Championships were played. That’s right, The world championships! Did you read about it in the local paper? You did not. Because that sort of affair is not important. You know what you did read, that Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr are separating.

Now I’m not sitting here saying that shouldn’t be in the paper, I’m thinking it. But my point is, if someone deems that sort of information important enough to put in the national news then why not discuss the triumphs of our Australian based e-sports team ‘Team Immunity’, Australia’s premier multigaming e-sports team. I’m sure there a few people out there just as interested in how their national team is fairing internationally.

You laugh, but now days ‘professional gaming’ is just as a legitimate career choice as becoming a professional athlete. It takes skill, determination, sponsorship, training, self-control and a great CS score, wait no, that’s just league of legends.

During the LoL world championship, 87 000 people followed the League of Legends google+ coverage. That’s as many people as would attend an AFL grand final. It’s 3 thousand more people than who attended the 2010 world cup final between Netherlands and Spain, just to put it in context.

So where is the coverage? Yes newspaper do have a ‘gaming’ section in the technology section online, but most of those articles compare games to each others, discuss consoles and talk about the ‘adverse effects games have on children’.

Well you don’t have to look far for information on games and the competitions, but you also can’t find anything in the newspapers. Australian media need to step up their game, there is a need for e-sports in Australia to be tackled and appreciated. It needs a space in the newspapers occasionally; there are people out there who want to be kept up to date, who go searching for it. And not just a few people, an investigation commissioned by Australian video game industry trade group Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) showed that seven of every ten people in Australia play video games.

So, instead of sport journalism, why not be a gaming journalist? I’m sure there’s space out there for one or two of them.

If it helps you understand a little better, since the end of the AFL season, my Friday and Saturday nights have seen me sitting down in front of my computer and watching teams from around the world compete for money as much as one million dollars in a 40-60 minute long game. Does this sound oddly like sport?

 

Sarah Knight

Majak Daw plays first Game

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Majak Daw Celebrates his win with Kangaroos
Photo: Fox Sports

North Melbourne win their first game of the season over the weekend by beating Brisbane Lions by 63 points at Etihad stadium.

But this isn’t the biggest story to come out of the game. Majak Daw became the first Sudanese-born player to play professional AFL. He scored his first goal in the opening 10 minutes of the first quarter.

The AFL have a long list of international players, including Peter Bell who played for Fremantle from South Korea, Tadhg Kennelly, and Irish born man who played in the 05/06 Grand Finals for Sydney and Mike Pyke, the Canadian ruckman for Sydney.