May 1 Meditation (Ben Caulkins, Janice Ho, Sam Suite, DANG!)

May 1 Meditation ( Ben Caulkins ,  Janice Ho ,  Sam Suite ,  DANG! )

May 1 Meditation (Ben Caulkins, Janice Ho, Sam Suite, DANG!)

I was going to say that today’s Meditation has managed to come along at a good time, but it’s always a good time to talk about crunch.

The video games industry is awful to its workers. The intro for today’s Meditations is just the word “P A S S I O N” followed by the URL for the unionisation organisation Game Workers Unite. The money people in the video games industry think they can abuse the people making the games because of passion. People are passionate about video games, so they should feel lucky to work in this industry. People are passionate about video games, so they should work extra hours for no extra pay. There are plenty of horror stories out there.

This game is such a clever, simple, horrifying way to represent the problem. A worker sits bent over a computer, arms outstretched. Press space to bring a hand down onto the keyboard, and then the other, and repeat to try to fill a page. You have to keep up a rhythm – if you press space too quickly the arms just flail in front of the worker like some kind of dance move – but soon enough the work becomes too much. A hand falls off. You pick it up and reattach it, and keep going for a while, but then the other falls off. As you progress, the rate at which the worker falls apart increases. Hands are followed by forearms

And if there is ever a break in the worker’s productivity, the boss appears, looming from behind the cubicle, finger outstretched, ready to press the button that will end the game.

You cannot win like this.