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Why bother about video games, politics and labor?

Games, Politics & Labor
Finally I am sending the first issue about this newsletter! This week has been hectic for me, with a study tour taking place, while trying to juggle my summer research and a job. Crazy times. I am writing and sending this while on my bus back home. Just wanted to thank you for subscribing and hope that you will read it :)

What is this? 😡
A weekly (and more often, depending if I find something interesting) newsletter covering games, politics and labor. Basically the title.
In this newsletter, I will dive into understanding and analysing what is like working inside the video games industry and how is that portrayed by the press, by people, aspiring game developers, etc.
I will do analyses of books related to this research, provide summarised scholarly articles, offer you recorded interviews and occasionally some video games reviews.
At the end of each issue there will be certain recommendations which I will link to the idea/topic/book/game we have discussed.
This newsletter will accompany me on the path of researching and writing my Honors Thesis. I will sometimes provide you with tips, tricks and strategies I use when researching and how you could implement them. Honestly, can’t even believe I am in my last year of undergraduate education, but time does indeed fly.
A little dose of what is to come... 🥺
Unfortunately, in 2014 in an IGDA survey, 81% of the respondents said that they have been subject to “crunch,” a term used in the industry describing the intense hours put into the release of a game, at least once at their workplace.
Suddenly, the glossy veneer of playing games on the job, testing new mechanics, developing exciting new maps and landscapes that will make it into the books of gaming history, begins to fade.
By reading the story of ea_spouse, we become aware of a different reality, one in which people have to sacrifice their regular healthy lives in order to keep producing games in a crunch. Ea_spouse’s story is not an isolated one, but is rather widespread.
More is yet to come 😱
A little bit about myself? 😍
Hi! My name is Radu Stochita, some people call me Stoc, others Stochita, while some younger fellows from my natal town refer to me as Boss. I love that!
I am an international student at Bowdoin College, originally from Romania, but currently enrolled at Bowdoin College in ME, USA where I study History and Sociology.
Over the years I have written for Bowdoin Review, for Bowdoin Orient about video games, about labor and about politics. Ha ha, seems like I cannot shut up about those topics.
Since the beginning of 2021, I have been documenting the labor unrest ongoing in Romania for Baricada. I have talked about Romania labor strikes and protests for Jacobin, for, for and for the Bulgarian State Radio.
Hey, this is a photo of me!
Hey, this is a photo of me!
OH OH OH, I once got into trouble with the school administration. I got bored during a class and challenged myself to send a funny video to the entire school. I did: a video of a seal playing the sax (don’t you worry, you will see it in the next issues, hehe), and said to myself: let’s do this more often. People started contacting me saying: MAN WTF, YOU SO RANDOM, and some Deans were amused and told me to keep them coming. But then a dean told me I need to stop them otherwise I will face disciplinary action. Disciplinary action for videos of ducks talking to one another, for omlet videos, haha.
Some recommendations 😱
  • Article - How Fortnite’s success led to months of intense crunch at Epic Games Fortnite is not an innocent game. Read this and see what it meant to work for a game that exploited its workers, promised them honey and milk, and gave them a half-full glass of tap water
  • Article - Video games can help stop kids feeling lonely while stuck at home Do you remember when they used to tell us that games will make us lonely? Well, apparently they can also help children feel less lonely, if they play with their friends, if they engage in video games conversations after having finished, etc.
  • Advice - Take a break from working. Really. Having finished school work early doesn’t always mean you need to start working for your second job straight away. Give yourself some time, relax, chill. Watch a film, talk to a friend, go out, have some fun, amigo. And trust me, the moment you return to work, the quality of it will be much better.
Until next time 😘
Ciao! It will be quite a personal newsletter as well, so be ready to read it as a diary :)
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Radu Stochita
Radu Stochita

Newsletter following the research process for my Honors Thesis which aims to understand the labor relations inside the video games industry.
Writing once a week (at least) about working inside the video game industry, the politics of games and their relationship to society.

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