How Game Companies Abuse Passion (The Jimquisition)

Been planning this one for a while, and recent allegations toward Starbound developer Chucklefish provided the right avenue.

Young developers are often praised for their passion, and passion can be a wonderful thing. Chasing a vocation with gusto and energy is generally positive, but it can nonetheless be abused by more cynical wielders of power.

The game industry is of course no stranger to exploitation, and you’ll often find the word “passion” thrown around liberally. Be wary of this word, honeyed that it is, for it may very well be a trap.


  1. OOO Love not working on Jimquisition Day.

    And a topic I been been waiting for.

  2. To quote Jimmy Neutron:
    “Let the exploitation begin!”

  3. Last time I was this early, Jim hadn’t burned Digital Homicide yet.

  4. AAA execs need consumer passion like Dementors need happiness because they themselves have none, but for the green.

  5. N.obody Sevenhundred

    Better question is, what don’t they abuse this day?

    Well, CEO salaries.

  6. Uh, Jim there already IS a Rise of the Robots 2.
    And Brian May (YES, THAT ONE) did some of the music.

  7. Part of the reason the gaming industry is so susceptible to labour abuse is because it’s never had Unions. All companies of all businesses will exploit their workers as much as they can get away with. Unions set lines that the companies cannot cross without difficulty. Even after Unions get gutted by conservative legislation, these lines are difficult to move after they’ve been drawn. Game artists and programmers need to unionize if they want the abuse to stop.

  8. So there is no one decent with the last name molyneux

  9. badassoverlordzetta

    Bah… what a disappointment to see Chucklefish being a bunch of shitheads. Thank god for your work Jim, another developer to not support in the future.

  10. Corporate Skeksis, draining the the life out of people!

  11. Universities have been exploiting free labour from students for centuries and calling the work “placement”

  12. “IT’s a ChoICe!” Yeah, like between execution and exile in The Dark Knight Rises…

  13. “I’d call it cucklefish but I’m not an incel.”


  14. “Targeting people with Aspergers,”

    Oh frick no he did not! The bloody hell what publishers _can_ I buy from at this point?! ?

    Here’s the thing with us Aspies, we have _meltdowns._ If we get too stressed, too overwhelmed, too under or over stimulated (like working at a desk) we frigging *EX-PLODE.* Yelling, loud sobbing, fist pounding, self hitting, if a toddler will do it a twenty something Aspie will. It looks like a tantrum. It feels like a tantrum. But damn if it ain’t hella necessary. I won’t be surprised if developers shovel in as many Aspies as they can get only for things to break down the moment crunch time happens. Depending on how bad the cause of the meltdown is working on the thing that _caused_ it will be out of the question. Aspies can and will leave once shoved hard enough. Once friends are fired and family gets involved. Producers are just asking for a shit storm if they think combining us with crunch is a good idea.

    Edit: holy heck there’s a good discussion going on here. Thanks guys.

  15. “Please, I just want to see my family!”
    “That’s not very cash money of you.”

  16. Chase Gillingham 15 (STUDENT)

    14:57 As a young lad who has Asperger syndrome that is absolutely despicable.

  17. So basically:
    We want passionate people = we want free labor and guilt tripping you into not taking days off.

  18. The bit about finding the holy grail of the undiscovered Asperger’s engineer makes me feel sick ?. And the bit about not developing attitudes is total bollocks. I’ve got attitudes and opinions. Tons in fact, to the point where there would be searching for my off button to shut me up, but I don’t have one by the way.

  19. Jim…

    … we need a “people still worth buying games from” list.

  20. Artists get paid with “exposure”
    Game devs get paid with “passion”

    I’m sensing a pattern here…

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