If You Don’t Like the Game, Change the Rules

We’re starting a new project and we want to hear from you!

 If You Don’t Like the Game, Change the Rules: Alternative Modes of Videogame Production will be a print comic and white paper about work and games available at events like Game Developers Conference, A MAZE. Berlin, and more. 


Marie LeBlanc Flanagan will be leading this project and writing and illustrating the comic. Project management and dissemination support provided by Jim Munroe, and research and writing support from Michael Iantorno (who will be writing the white paper).


We are curious about work! Are there different ways of making games together?

In the context of increasing burnout and the great resignation, finding healthy and sustainable work environments is crucial. The games industry is rife with burnout and infamous for churning through workers. Despite being systems designers by trade—who spend their careers rethinking everything from economies to entire worlds—most professional Canadian game creators recreate traditional, hierarchical working environments.

However, alternative business structures are spreading across the sector. The heightened presence of game worker unionization organizations, the regular emergence of new co-ops, and a growing interest in successful ones suggests that people are curious about different employment futures. 


We’ll be researching the possibility space for game creators interested in structuring their work in new ways. 

We’ll be talking to and surveying co-op associations, union organizations, and other industry labour experts, as well as co-op game studios, unionized game studios, traditional (hierarchical) studios, as well as freelancers to explore the advantages, challenges, and pitfalls of alternatives to conventional employment. 

Then we’ll be sharing our findings in both a playful comic and a denser white paper form!

Want to talk to us about work and games?

If you make games, we’d like to hear from you about how you feel about your working methods. Reach out if you are someone we should talk to, or if you know someone we should talk to! We’re looking to do interviews with a wide range of people, and we also welcome recommendations on people who are passionate about games and alternative work structures. Help spread the word by retweeting this or reach out to info@gameartsinternational.network.

The white paper was made with support from Ontario Creates, the Canada Media Fund, and Mitacs.