Stop Exploiting Yourselves

Posted on 04 March 2015

In all of the arts we can be so desperate to “make it” that we not only allow ourselves to be exploited, we exploit ourselves.

Add to this all the people who come to us because they see our field as one of the few remaining places where a rag to riches narrative can come true, and the results are a lot of art that neither moves nor uplifts us in any fashion. People of real talent and dedication are smashed against the rocks of desperate wannabes, who will do all they can to block you in order to ensure their own success.

The wannabes have good reason for wanting. All people should be able to contribute to their community and their culture without fear of want. Ambitions spread out more sensibly when people aren’t terrified of starvation.

The art of digital games…is still infused with the dreams of capital; that you must Sacrifice All; family life…, friends not also in the business, sleep, healthy eating habits, other hobbies, interest in things outside of games; in order to Make It Big. Indie Game The Movie, basically: out of immense financial personal and psychological sacrifice, comes fame, fortune, loved ones, being loved…

Stop exploiting yourselves.

It’s not just destroying you, it’s destroying your capacity to make good work, without the space to be a human, you will burn out, you will make mistakes and never have the time to forgive yourself, you will exhaust ideas, you will never replenish the nutrients you need to make fucking great things.

It’s making people leave making work at all, and it’s stopping a million voices who don’t have the money, time, or narrative framework to access making games. It’s making games worse.

~Hannah Nicklin “(Self) Employment Practices in Games”

Peace and kindness,


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