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The Uncredited: A Lost History of Labor in Games

Laine Nooney (Assistant Professor, New York University)

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Date: Friday, March 20

Time: 10:00am - 11:00am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Core Pass, Summits Pass, Expo Plus Pass, Expo Pass, Audio Pass, Independent Games Summit Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Advocacy

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

We can all name someone who designed to game or founded a company. But how much do we know about everyone else involved--not the folks who made games, but the ones who sold them, serviced them, or troubleshooted them? This talk will showcase the rise of the American computer game industry across the final decades of the 20th century, told through the point of view of three women who worked in sales, customer service, and technical support at Sierra On-Line. Coursing through the video game crash of the early 1980s, to the rise of the personal computer in American households during the late 80s and early 90s, to the massive mid-90s speculative investments in entertainment software spurred by the rise of the Internet, this talk will expand our sense of "who counts" in the game industry, and offer a longer timeframe for thinking about labor politics in the industry.


This talk will enrich attendees appreciation for the historical role of many kinds of work that have been cut out of our accounts of the video game industry. Additionally, this talk will link the history of the industry's growth to contemporary debates around labor organization and unionization.

Intended Audience

This talk is welcoming to anyone who enjoys original, in-depth historical work about the game industry, including game educators and academics, journalists, and industry participants. This talk is especially relevant to those with an interest and focus on diversity in hiring, the history of women in games, and issues of labor organization and unionization.