Unionization, Steady Careers, and Generations of Games Culture

Unionization, Steady Careers, and Generations of Games Culture

03:15 Game Workers Unite: Who, what, why?
14:11 Anonymous on the disposability of QA staffers
18:11 Testimonies on crunch
24:01 History of unionization in Hollywood
33:39 The potential downsides of unionization
37:39 Ageism vs. future generations

Thanks to the following participants for helping out and providing their voice:
Emma Kinema of https://www.gameworkersunite.org/
Ted Anderson of http://www.pixelpushersunion-512.com/
Scott Benson of http://theglorysociety.com/
Allistair Aitchenson: https://www.alistairaitcheson.com/

Music by Epidemic Sound: http://epidemicsound.com/creator

James Rolfe’s first Nintendo footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mupyfGBE0Y
90’s Playstation factory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6ek2bKW22A
80’s Video game factory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOh9HL-dOdQ&t=164s
1946 Megastrike newsreel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb-1IqaQSq8


  1. Trillykins on June 28, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    Good video on an important topic. Have to say, though, I’ve never quite understood why unions are so controversial in the US. I don’t think it’s similar in any other places? We have them here in Denmark and they’ve guaranteed I don’t even know how many worker benefits, conditions, and minimum pay. Not just per profession, but once things become normal in one profession, they tend to be adopted elsewhere because, well, people aren’t confined to groups of just one profession. People talk. News spread, etc. Really does seem like the workers in the US has just been, I don’t know, brain washed into going against their own best interest? Same with the whole social democracy, free education and single-payer healthcare. Like, that’s been the norm in Denmark for as long as I’ve been alive. I didn’t pay a dime for my master’s degree in computer science and engineering. In fact, I got paid to take it for most of it. I’ve never had to pay for doctor’s visits, operations, etc. Free education is basically the modern Gutenberg, bringing literacy to the masses. Generational poverty isn’t really a thing here because higher education is available to everyone.

  2. Liberals Get the Bullet Too on June 28, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    It’s not worth getting in to in a comment, but be careful what you wish for. Unions are corrupt. Literal mafia overturned an apprentice’s vote I was involved in.
    "It’s been decided". (then why were we summoned to vote?)
    If not, the seniors sell out the juniors with each ratification, like at the grocery store chain I worked at.
    Of course the grocery store unions are in even worse shape these days.
    Most of it was the senior members giving themselves the voting power, the largest share of the money and a decreasing proportion of the labour pool until they went extinct. A lot of them were bought out. Paid to retire.
    Now there’s only the low-pay tier left.
    Further, there’s no way to excel in a union. It’s about seniority and equality. You can’t be a superior worker.
    You have the right to negotiate any contract you want right now. You’ve sold yourselves out, and you’re looking for a simple fix.
    Those predictable lay-offs won’t look so bad during month 5 of the Union Strike.

  3. Tommy Trappa on June 28, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    Me just a few hours ago: man bunny hop hasn’t released much out recently hopefully he hasn’t gotten lazy

    Super bunny hop: *well documented, researched, interesting and insightful video made with love and care*

  4. valipunctro on June 28, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Nothing againts unions,i am part of one,but you can still get fired if you refuse overtime if they can find someone to replace you who will do the overtime no question asked

  5. jmitterii2 on June 28, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    This is explains why so many games that come out are trash.
    Crunch time means poor quality I suspect. So many games (not that I download so many) are trash buckets dumpster fires of aggravation unless modders or yourself mod the shit out of them.
    If they provided better pay and a work balance and more organization in their offices they would get clear decent bug free (imagine that) if you can’t it’s because you’re already Stockholm Syndrome to think no such thing can happen.
    But if you recall most Nintendo, SNES, Sega, etc. have no bugs. IF they do, they’re often silly easter eggs on purpose by someone having a little fun.

  6. goblinoid on June 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    The kind of bullshit those execs come up with to excuse abusing their employees is amazing. Great documentary, man.

  7. Rex The Dane Remover on June 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    This comment section is Commie trash

  8. Patch Rowcester on June 28, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    Hardly surprising he is advocating for unions.

    If you are so upset about compensations for CEOs, find someone who will do the job for less. I promise you, the board of directors will be happy to hire one of you geniuses in the comment section, and pay you $50k, provided you can do the job.

  9. gunbladeuser19 on June 28, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    George, I love that you made this and I’m going to share it everywhere.

  10. Clownsyndrom on June 28, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    This comment section is so American, it’s mindblowing to read some of the deepthroating corporate apologia here. The necessity of a radical and militant labour movement to emerge in the US once again couldn’t be higher. And the signs seem to be quite promising.

  11. TOAOM123 on June 28, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    Unions are fine so long as theyre voluntary
    Unions making themselves compulsory is where i take issue

  12. Makkon on June 28, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    You’re doing good work, man. Thank you for this

  13. Mike on June 28, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    The video is well done but weak in that it’s incredibly one sided, I am disappointed you did not include any input from people against unionization.

  14. SaviorAssassin1996 on June 28, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    AVGN is overrated, in my opinion.

  15. Sam on June 28, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    laughing so much at that Reagan quote, as would old Reagan laugh at it in a much different way

  16. Martenas on June 28, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Jason. Rubin. Said. All. Of. This.
    And he was just shunned out of the industry. Just some bog ego trying to take ALL the credit, and ruin the humble developer culture…right? WRONG!
    That guy simply told the truth, and left at a really good time. Unfortunately, we needed him to stay. He tried & atleast saved parts of THQ, and now is with VR.

    That guy is really smart, clever, accomplished, charismatic, creative and great leader. He also ruffled some feathers at sony. He told us to speaak up for ourselves, get agents, and most importantly…not let publishers push around the devs.

    And we didnt listen. Now look at us. Barely any of the folks that started as devs now remain. Its just a work force of younger recent grads. Its ludicrous! We all need to express ourselves. Bring back the middle tier games and indies need to push more than ever. F#ck EA and the like.

  17. Piotr Maksymiuk on June 28, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    GDC is also host to some open communists, unironically hosting panels like "how is Marxism good for your games". This is just an offshoot of that. Disgusting

  18. Zen on June 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    you have nothing to lose but your chains, kidnap your boss, now!

  19. Matthew Birkett on June 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    can i just say, emma kinema is adorable and also the way she speaks basically demands my attention, she seems super well-spoken and informed about what she’s talking about (which obviously she’s informed about it but a lot of people come across as unprepared despite being informed whereas she seems to have her information in order and able to call upon it at a moment’s notice)

  20. Evelyn P. on June 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    This is also a political problem that goes all the way up to the government, as they benefit from the increased pressure put on workers as it creates more produce to sell.
    As pressure increases the worth of human labour and rights decreases as they are seen as liabilities, Thus more funding for the government, not to use on its everyday citizens but on "the elite individuals who rise to the top", not necessarily the most moral people but the most effective at making money.

  21. Red on June 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Somebody please remind the guy at 7:45 to go dilate.

  22. Ben Richards on June 28, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Oh hey, these are the sorts of labor laws australia’s current government wants to emulate. How encouraging.

  23. LiK on June 28, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    Let them get unions. Devs get taken advantage of by the industry too much.

  24. Angel Generation on June 28, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    Animators… may god help their souls

  25. Arthur Feitosa on June 28, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Unions destroy the free market, watch unions make everything great for the first moment and then watch they destroy it all.

  26. Will Plummer on June 28, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    I would love to see some of those alternative controller games become standard in arcades. Like, the owners open up a section of their arcade for people to sign up and create place them to get their name out there and give the arcade its own unique experiences for those who really love gaming. I mean, arcades already tend to appeal to those people now that they aren’t as main stream and less invested people can just play arcade games at home or on their phone.

  27. Dec on June 28, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    The worst thing about the genuine evil that has taken hold of most modern studios is how many games I can’t ethically buy because I refuse to support unethical practices.

  28. RealityReCheckups on June 28, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    It’s very interesting to cap this video with alt.ctrl which is always the direct opposite of what corporation-made games are. To make the statement that all of these great, creative ideas couldn’t exist if game production continues as a meat grinder. Good choice of narrative.

  29. Orion Rodriguez on June 28, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    You look very uncomfortable during that interview

  30. Mugen Champloo on June 28, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    7:00 is that a trans xDDDDD

  31. Shadow Leader on June 28, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    a labor of "love"

  32. Basse Engstrand on June 28, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for a great video, I’m a bit late to the party, but it was really informative. I’m just getting into the business and this is increadibly relevant with recent events and all.

  33. Murry Gatchen on June 28, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    Bunnyhop on fire 🔥🔥
    Good work dude

  34. Joseph DeGraff on June 28, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    This has been my favorite one of your videos yet. Thank you for making this.

  35. Frankie Calimano on June 28, 2020 at 8:06 pm


  36. DaTruth683 on June 28, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    I use this video as a sleeping aid….😪😪😪

  37. ringodooby on June 28, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    This is why I love super bunny hop.

  38. Snake of Rivia on June 28, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Real game journalism right here. Awesome job!

  39. Miles LeBlanc on June 28, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    Just want to say, I really appreciate your videos.

  40. Deimos Strife on June 28, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    Unions. Hell yeah! Higher prices! Awsome!

    Outside of that, "Game Workers Unite"? I detect a little communism

    Trickle down economics is not real, Reganomics is about supply side economics

  41. joemunkey30 on June 28, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    Capitalism sucks

  42. IL4NR on June 28, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    i just wanna say that alistair has a really nice puyo shirt

  43. Mike McCarthy on June 28, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Unions are not good for people. They become centralized into monopolies just like the "evil" they are trying to tame. You simply give power to a select group of individuals to make decisions for a whole skill group. And that trans person at 8 minutes should not be making decisions for other people when he can’t even decide his gender.

  44. TheAxeGrinder on June 28, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Usually the people who push for unions in this case are the lazier non-thinkers who need to have an excuse for their own incompetence. And the people who think GDC is important fail to realize that those who attend GDC have their heads up their own butts in terms of obliviousness to reality.

  45. BlargleWargle on June 28, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    A not-great summary: we just need World War III and to erase Ronald Reagan from history to save video game developers.

  46. Dionys Rigard on June 28, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Just don’t fuck with French workers. They will defend themselves.

  47. Justin Z. on June 28, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Anyone know what the game at 38:24 is?

  48. Hermes on June 28, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    What is this, factories during the industrial revolution?

  49. E H on June 28, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    For more info on the benefits of strong unions just take a look at Norway

  50. socially inept spider-man on June 28, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    We absolutely need unionization in the gaming industry, especially with corporations like EA that constantly exploit the labour of their devs

Leave a Comment