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Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:04 pm
by Mayhem
Now I've been able to go through the entire issue... thought the Tempest piece was spot on and great to finally get Dave to talk, and the comprehensive investigation into Mire Mare. EA piece was interesting to read, although one line from the quick guide stood out to me. The bit about following the post by the "EA spouse", stating that working conditions changed in the industry as a result. I'd rather wish to argue that they haven't really, if reading other peoples' experiences are anything to by, and certainly stories such as that at 38 Studios shows the industry is perhaps worse now in terms of treating employees well compared to the 80s.

A mate of mine in the US posted this a little while back. He probably won't mind me copying it here to illustrate my viewpoint...
I worked in the game industry for about a decade. I was force out about a year ago, and I finally decided that I'll never go back

The truth of the matter is simple; more than any other industry i've seen, video game companies are run by scumbags. I've worked at trading firms, moving billions of dollars on the stockmarket and coming into work hopped up on coke, and they were run by better human beings.

I like working hard, it's something my family baked into me at a young age. I actually enjoy working 12 hour days 7 days a week. I know i'm crazy for it, but i've always enjoyed doing my job. Working in the game industry, i probably averaged sleeping at my desk at least 1 night a week, often twice; there were plenty of times where I would come in on a Friday and leave work on Tuesday.

The work was hard, the hours were absurd, but that's why I liked it. It's also the reason most people aren't fit for working in this industry. The average person just won't tolerate working like a slave for 25% below industry average wages.

If that was the biggest problem, I'd work in games for the rest of my life. The problem is, the industry is run by assholes. Every developer regularly lays off their staff every time a project is finished. You get a job offer, the company lies about their overall health and job prospects, you work your ass off, then you get laid off. Having your benefits illegally canceled while still having the premiums drawn from your check is standard practice.

It's pretty censored heartbreaking when you have to come home and tell your wife that she needs to cancel her doctor's appointments because your employer has been taking money out of your check, but not paying the insurance premiums.

In my last position in the industry, i was asked to drive 6 hours for an interview on Saturday, and told I needed to start that Monday; so we packed up and moved across the country. After the first few weeks on the job, I was eventually told that I needed to be on site anytime anyone else was working. If, on a given saturday, someone comes into the office at 9AM - Noon and someone else is there from 11AM-6PM, I was stuck there all day babysitting. One day I went out to grab mcdonalds for lunch and one of the owners came into my office screaming at me because "what if something went wrong while you were gone?".

When the company failed to land their next game, they had to lay off 80% of the staff. They didn't have the decency to tell me directly, I had to find out about the layoffs when a friend at another developer sent me an email saying "We hope to work with you again".

There's all sorts of other nonsense going on, most of it tends to be either illegal or highly immoral. I've had companies where they decided to cancel everyone's vacation on a whim, I've taken large paycuts, I was told by one employer that they would "try to get me the weekend off" for my own wedding, the next employer gave me the day off before my wedding only because i said i'd be taking it either way.

The owner's philosophy is "If you don't like it, sue us". It's not uncommon to work with people who have lawsuits pending against 3-4 former employers. They never amount to anything, as the owners just declare bankruptcy and open a new studio. You'll notice most new studios are opened up by people who have owed previous studios; it's pretty amazing how you can keep running studio after studio into the dirt.

Even if you try to protect yourself from this kind of nonsense, the studios either lie or become insulted that you would even suggest the industry is unstable. I had an interview with Bungie a few months back. I know they're working for activision, haven't announced any projects, and haven't had any official "work" in years. So I asked them about the financial situation of the company, how many projects they're working on right now, when they expect to have the next project out the door. The guy's response, and i quote "Haha, nice try. You actually expect us to give out that kind of information?". Why yes, I do expect you to give me some sort of reassurance that i'm not moving across the country just to be laid off. The thought that the mighty Bungie may someday face the same financial trouble as the rest of the industry was actually insulting to them.

The way I've been treated is actually better than the average developer. I've never actually missed a paycheck, i've never had a former employer try to countersue me. But frankly, i'm too old for this censored; i'm tired of being treated like garbage. I can continue to work in the high-tech industry without being associated with these assclowns.

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:31 pm
by DreamcastRIP
An interesting read, Mayhem, and thanks for posting it. :D

I wonder how typical your friend's story was of working in the industry in the USA and to what extent his experiences are mirrored in the UK.

I for one wouldn't mind reading an article in RG about life in the industry back in the '80s featuring interviews with some of the less well known industry names that helped bring us the games we enjoyed.

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:38 pm
by HalcyonDaze00
The truth of the matter is simple; more than any other industry i've seen, video game companies are run by scumbags........................
Sounds awful but it's not that different from a lot of other industries in america, if you have ever read Fast Food Nation etc you will see the kind of stuff you have mentioned (and far worse) on an epic scale.

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:39 pm
by AmigaJay
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Actually I like the idea of a list of Atari ST exclusives that never appeared on the Amiga (and vice versa maybe).
Agreed, maybe a top 20 thats not available on each others machine, I've found some lists below that would help choose said 20 games;

ST games NOT on Amiga (215)
http://www.atari-forum.com/wiki/index.p ... dore_Amiga

Amiga games NOT on ST (1295)
http://www.atari-forum.com/wiki/index.p ... t_Atari_ST

Bear in mind these aren't my lists, and they never seem to be 100% so there may be the odd game(s) on the other format. edit: yeah just noticed 2 straight away on the ST list that have Amiga ports. Plus just noticed it doesn't include games after 1994 so Amiga exclusives Sensible Golf, Chaos Engine 2 etc aren't on that list too.

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:14 pm
by The Laird
gman72 wrote:
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Actually I like the idea of a list of Atari ST exclusives that never appeared on the Amiga (and vice versa maybe).
Enduro Racer - ST only
Super Sprint - ST only
These two really stick out because they were brilliant on the ST...
Supersprint even catered for an extra player using keys making for some great multi-player, and the ST Enduro racer was even better than the mighty Spectrum version. :)
I actually wanted to do this but there wasn't enough room.

There is actually a good amount of games, as Amiga Jay pointed out.

I am not even going to dignify HD's constant baiting and trolling with a response.

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:22 pm
by nakamura
Greyfox wrote:firstly I have to admit I haven't purchased retro gamer is a long time maybe four issues ago, as I felt that it had lost a bit of it's appeal to me it once had with unappealing articles on subject i had no interest it, until I had seen the video preview Darran had done on issue 105, and was pleasantly surprised to see the Atari ST had been given the cover story it rightly deserved, so I decided to treat myself to issue 105 today and I have to say that the said Article rekindled my love with the magazine, and have since gone after the issues I have missed previously, so I wish to thank Jagfest for his Fantastic article , it was too short!! :(, and should of been much longer!!..and Darran Jones and the team for finally Getting Atari ST Coverage in their finally!. Now in the Perfect world scenario would be brilliant to have a 10 page spread on the Demo scene covered in the mag. :)...

again thanks for all the great work and may these new writers make an impact on the magazine as Jagfests writing did with me ;)
This post simply highlights just how difficult it is to balance a magazine like this and shows how so many want to just read about their favourite things. :)

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:57 pm
by GameOver
DreamcastRIP wrote:I wonder how typical your friend's story was of working in the industry in the USA and to what extent his experiences are mirrored in the UK.

I for one wouldn't mind reading an article in RG about life in the industry back in the '80s featuring interviews with some of the less well known industry names that helped bring us the games we enjoyed.
That's a far from typical story. Remember that only the people who have negative things to say write about their experience.

Today the industry is far better than in the 80's, and RG should do an article about it. I was lucky as I joined after those years, but the general impression you got was that as people worked freelance there was a lot of work done that authors were never paid for. Jet Set Willy as an example.

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:03 pm
by martin_lovick
great to see an atari st special!!! :D :D :D

I remeber the 80s when the old st was considered the underdog by the popular computing magazines, it nice to see it getting the coverage it deserves..... also printing AMIGA BEATER on the cover certainly cheered me up :lol:

as a long time reader, I have noticed a number of atari related features in recent issues, all good
more of that please

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:17 pm
by AmigaJay
martin_lovick wrote: also printing AMIGA BEATER on the cover certainly cheered me up :lol:
Yeah i admit the ST did beat the Amiga.....on price :lol:

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:20 pm
by DreamcastRIP
AmigaJay wrote:
martin_lovick wrote: also printing AMIGA BEATER on the cover certainly cheered me up :lol:
Yeah i admit the ST did beat the Amiga.....on price :lol:
And on MHz too! :lol:

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:45 pm
by AmigaJay
DreamcastRIP wrote:
AmigaJay wrote:
martin_lovick wrote: also printing AMIGA BEATER on the cover certainly cheered me up :lol:
Yeah i admit the ST did beat the Amiga.....on price :lol:
And on MHz too! :lol:
True, true, what about keys? Has anyone counted?!

Just checked : ST 95 keys vs Amiga 96 sorry that's a win for the Amiga there you can't have that one! :wink: :lol:

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:27 pm
by The Laird
AmigaJay wrote:Just checked : ST 95 keys vs Amiga 96 sorry that's a win for the Amiga there you can't have that one! :wink: :lol:
ST has more ports :P

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:29 pm
by crusto
Jagfest_UK wrote:
AmigaJay wrote:Just checked : ST 95 keys vs Amiga 96 sorry that's a win for the Amiga there you can't have that one! :wink: :lol:
ST has more ports :P
But most of them are crap :D

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:31 pm
by The Laird
crusto wrote:But most of them are crap :D
EH?

Those MIDI ports revolutionised the music industry 8)

Re: Official Feedback Issue 105

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:37 pm
by crusto
Jagfest_UK wrote:
crusto wrote:But most of them are crap :D
EH?

Those MIDI ports revolutionised the music industry 8)
As the rebel MC once said..."Wait, as I reset the Atari"