Video game crunch needs to go away

Dusty Ricketts
Dusty Ricketts

As much fun as video games are to play, making them can be pretty brutal.

Crunch is a term that's been used in the industry for years to describe the large amounts of sometimes mandatory, sometimes just highly encouraged overtime work game developers are subjected to. Although some developers have a worse reputation than others, it's a problem that has become so prevalent in the industry that politicians are starting to take notice.

Last month, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted "The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I'm glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers."

It is a shame that the problem has gotten so bad that someone like Bernie has spoken up about it. It would be nice if the owners, shareholders and managers at these companies that are making billions were more concerned about their employees' well being and fixed the working atmosphere on their own.

Since that's not happening, I hope to move toward some kind of union for game developers becomes successful. I would much rather have a game I'm looking forward to be delayed than know the people who are making it are miserable.

Finally, a quick update on last week's column about the fan-made "Mario Royale" game that remade the classic "Super Mario Bros." title into a battle royale game. Nintendo wasn't a fan and sent developer InfernoPlus a cease and desist notice. He tried to get around that by updating the game to remove Mario. But that wasn't enough.

InfernoPlus updated his website with the following message: "Sorry, your battle royale is in another castle. Unfortunately, Uncle Nintindie's lawyers have informed me that, despite my best efforts, the game still infringes their copyright. They refused to give me specifics (I asked multiple times) but it would seem that either the level design or general mechanics are still too close to the original game. As a result I can't just blindly change the game and leave it up. Doing so would put me at risk of further legal action."

Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at He is currently playing "Star Wars Battlefront 2" and "Friday the 13th: The Game." You can find him to play online through his PlayStation Network ID, DustRAG316.