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

If You Don’t Like the Game, Change the Rules is a white paper is drawn from 88 interviews and survey responses from members of worker co-operatives, game developers in the process of starting a worker co-operative, traditional game studios that explicitly followed co-operative values, game union organisers, industry labour experts, and developers with unique insights on labour. It’s full of crunchy data, parsable charts and candid quotes.

We launched the comic at Toronto Games Week and it was an incredible conversation starter for a discussion that included members of co-ops from Buenos Aires and Montreal, union organizers from the US, and a rep from Game Workers Unite Toronto. We have also run events to encourage community dialogue in Mexico and Halifax and have events in the works in Vancouver, Taiwan, Tokyo, Berlin and San Francisco. We are actively supporting conversations in other regions with free comic books and connections with guest experts in alternative labour. Please email comic@gameartsinternational.network to find out more!

We launched our comic and white paper on alternative modes of videogame production in Montreal at Concordia. We livestreamed the event that featured Saleem Dabbous (KO_OP), Jess Marcotte (Soft Chaos), and Carolyn Jong (Game Workers Unite Montréal and Vodeo Games).

Marie LeBlanc Flanagan led this project and wrote and illustrated the comic. Research and writing support from Michael Iantorno (who wrote the white paper). Project management and dissemination support provided by Jim Munroe.

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 game creators recreate traditional, hierarchical working environments. In the context of increasing burnout and the great resignation, finding healthy and sustainable work environments is crucial.

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