I don’t know if the game industry is anti-union, but Ben Fritz clearly found that some companies simply refused to enter the awards. If better games missed out because of those companies, is that the WGA’s fault? They’re only being who they are, a union looking to expand their base.
The WGA certainly is thinking of itself first with its awards. It wants to break into the video game industry like everybody else. It has a caucus for video game writers that is essentially steerage compared to top deck. So they hold video game writers to the same standards they hold every writer to. Big whoop.
wondering why there’s so little industry participation in these awards, and postulating that it’s because the industry is anti-union. After all, to be eligible for the awards, game writers only need to join the Video Game Caucus and pony up some cash ($75 a year). No problem, right?
Being self-employed and having no employees, I have no reason to be pro- or anti-union. But I am definitely anti- these awards; they are insulting to game developers and serve no real purpose for anyone else except the WGA.
31. When one shews someone the king in chess and says: "This is the king", this does not tell him the use of this piece--unless he already knows the rules of the game up to this last point...
Now the IGF is a fine event that brings many awesome games to the forefront of gamer awareness. I’ve been blessed twice by their judges. Unfortunately, DHSGiT doesn’t measure up to their metrics, compared to the competition. But it is a terrific indie game with awards and recognition from many other sources. I’ve written elsewhere that the IGF should consider adding as much recognition to story as they have to audio and graphics. Maybe they will someday. It’s a constantly evolving event, 10 years in the running. They are earnestly trying to do their best.
As for the awards, I think it is understandable that the WGA awards are for WGA members. It’s the same with SAG. These awards are about celebrating the achievements of WGA members. WGA members vote on the nominations and they also select the nominees. It is usually not the case that you can sign up after you’re nominated or that a piece of work not written under the WGA agreement is eligible, but the WGA made the exception for the video game category because the videogame writers are in a Caucus. If videogame writers were not in a Caucus but full members, we would have been obligated to join the strike. My writing partner did walk the strike line in solidarity, as did others, but it was not necessary. We were still working on video games during the strike.
AFAIK, for a game to be considered as a nomination for the AIAS awards, publishers do have to pay and it’s a lot more than the $75 for a Caucus membership. As for the Caucus membership, some members prefer it to the full WGA membership because it’s much much cheaper annually. I do agree that since it’s based in L.A., you wouldn’t get as much out of it if you were not in L.A. I still am able to attend WGA East functions and go to any of the movie screenings. However, if you are in L.A., yes you can attend any of the informal and formal meetings of the WGA. You get invites to screenings and parties. There is a good deal of overlap in the membership of the IGDA Writers SIG and the Videogame Writing Caucus.
The WGA has had two, count them, 2 video game awards. Opening their contest this year to anyone who joins is a big change from last year. Someday they might even ‘get it right’ according to the book of Jonathan. Currently, the WGA offers little value for computer game writers other than it’s awards. If I were them, to attract members, I’d make them the best awards around.
Keith, I agree that they should be making them the best awards around. And the way to do that is to nominate the games with the best writing (regardless of WGA membership status), which is exactly what they are not doing.
Interesting to see closed-shop stay-out-of-our-business unions like the hollywood guilds try to get into other industries. The WGA is so centred around the tv/film model that they have as much business handing out game awards as they do poetry prizes. They’d be better off doing youtube awards as that would target people more likely interested in what the WGA is about.
It is hard to understand the significance of events like these without understanding the player’s perspective as an active agent in the environment. That I could get out of the furnace myself instead of watching a cutscene of my character shooting a few portals and escaping is an incredible experience. This can never be appreciated on paper. How much of what I just described is “writing” versus “level design” is an interesting subject, and perhaps further proof of the complexity of judging game narratives.