If You Don’t Like the Game, Change the Rules (Survey Recruitment)

In an illustration, a number of friendly monster-like game developers stand a on a purple backgrounds. Through speech and thought bubbles, we can seen them contemplating things such as "indie", "co-op", and "help."

The games industry has become infamous for enforcing untenable hours (crunch), churning through employees, and fostering toxic work cultures that are particularly damaging to marginalised creators. Despite these concerns, game developers are often hesitant to adopt new labour structures such as unions and co-operatives, or work modifications like 4-day work weeks.

If You Don’t Like the Game, Change the Rules explores the possibility space for Canadian game creators who are interested in structuring their labour in new ways. Game designers are world-builders and creatives, which begs the questions: How are we designing and shaping our own worlds? Do game creators have new ideas on work? How do we choose to work together?

We are looking for people to survey!

We are currently looking for people who work in games to complete a brief survey on work. We are beginning with workers in Canada but may reach internationally in the future. 

We’ll use the information from the survey for three main things: making charts and other fun visual representations of people’s perspectives; collecting interesting topics to ask people in interviews; and getting a sense of the general landscape of games and work.

Including the short consent statement, the survey should only take about 10 minutes to complete. We can offer a $15 (CAD) prepaid Visa card or a $15 (CAD) Amazon gift card for your time.

Recruitment and Consent Details

You are being invited to participate in the research study mentioned above. This section provides information about what participating would mean. Please read it carefully before deciding if you want to participate or not. If there is anything you do not understand, or if you want more information, please ask the researcher.

When you fill out the survey, you will be asked if you understand and consent to the details described below. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns about what is listed below.


We are currently recruiting workers in the Canadian game industry to contribute their thoughts and experiences on labour practices. Participation involves filling out a short survey about your attitudes towards unions, co-operatives, and other alternative labour structures in the Canadian game industry. Additionally, you will be asked a few questions about your own experiences working in the game industry.

Risks and Benefits

You might face certain risks by participating in this research. These risks include feeling uncomfortable talking about past traumas you experience in the game industry (such as unjust labour conditions). You have the option of opting-out of the survey at any time.


We will gather the following information as part of this survey: demographic details; information about your background in the game industry; and your opinions on alternative labour structures and the game industry in general.

Only people directly involved in conducting the research will be able access the survey. The survey information will be associated with the email address you use. Feel free to use a temporary email service (such as temp-mail) to obscure your identity from us.

We will only use the information for the purposes of the research described on this website, and you will not be directly identified in any research outputs unless you choose to be quoted.

Conditions of Participation

You do not have to participate in this research. It is purely your decision. If you do choose to participate, you can stop at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is doing this project?

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

Marie initiated this project after a series of conversations with Canadian game creators in 2021 about work. Marie was born into an informal co-op and has an enduring and deep curiosity about community structures and alternative labour. Marie will write, illustrate, create, and disseminate the comic. 

Michael is a researcher at Concordia University whose work focuses on videogame histories, hacking and modding practices, and socioeconomic class structures in-and-around games. Michael will write the white paper based on insights gained from surveys and interviews, which will be conducted together with Marie.

The project is supported by Jim Munroe, founder of Game Arts International Network.

Who is supporting this project?

Funding for this project is provided through Ontario Creates, The Canadian Media Fund, Game Arts International Network, and Mitacs Accelerate. Ethics clearance for interviews and surveys is facilitated through Concordia University as part of the SSHRC-funded Class and Games research project. SSHRC does not provide funding for this project.

Where will this research end up?

We are creating a comic and a white paper, which will be shared online and at events in both digital and print formats. We will also be writing a number of blog posts for the GAIN website and may speak about our findings at academic and industry events.

What kind of comic are you making?

Our comic will explore alternatives to traditional work structures in the game industry. We are designing it to be a playful and useful resource for folks interested in exploring alternative labour arrangements, through a narrative style. Right now we’re thinking of writing a story about three friends who decide to start a co-op together.

What kind of white paper are you making?

We’re writing a concise research report about the complex issue of labour and games. Drawing upon interviews and surveys conducted with game developers, our white paper will discuss attitudes toward alternative labour structures in the Canadian game industry using charts/statistics, interview excerpts, and references to existing articles and literature. The white paper is a great resource for readers looking for a more formal review of what we’re uncovered.

When will this research be published?

The blog posts will be released between October and January 2022/2023. We are aiming to publish the comic and white paper in 2023.

How can I get in touch with you?

Feel free to reach out to Michael (michael.iantorno@gmail.com) and/or Marie (marieflanagan@gmail.com) via email!