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Games Entertainment

Striking Writers May Work on Games 124

Posted by Zonk
from the fewer-hackneyed-cliches-sounds-like-a-good-thing dept.
The ongoing Writer's Guild strike may soon impact even the games industry. While most of the copy writers working on games are not a part of the guild, via Eurogamer comes a Variety article about a possible Hollywood writer's migration to other media. "While the WGA has made no secret that it would like to eventually cover vidgame writing, it hasn't pushed the issue yet and is allowing members to work on games during the strike. 'It has been an interesting shift," says one tenpercenter who focuses on vidgames. "The literary agents are now saying, 'Why don't we get our clients over there during the strike?' even though in the past they thought the money wasn't good enough or the work is too demanding.'"
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Striking Writers May Work on Games

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  • Is this good or bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:36PM (#21494169)
    I'm not sure whether I should rejoice that more games will be getting competent writers, or weep that gaming is going to be degraded to sitcom quality.
    • by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:38PM (#21494189) Journal
      That's what she said.
    • These will be the people that write the storyline behind The Sims 3.
      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:46PM (#21494303) Journal

        I am not making this up, there really seems to a The Sims movie in the works... If hollywood can screw up game movies with single paragraph plots, what the hell will they do with a game that HAS NO PLOT?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by lluBdeR (466879)
          1. Waste an assload of money every step of the way to make sure it has an 8 or 9 digit budget
          2. Make sure news about the latter half of point 1 is leaked
          3. Throw a bunch of big names into it so people "in the know" will go see it even though it's a piece of crap
          4. Give out very nice, very expensive (see point #1) gift bags at the premiere so it gets good review
          5. Plan sequels, hire Saw production team as they seem adept at getting people to watch the same movie over and over again

          Wait, that sounds alarmingly like

          • by Xtravar (725372)

            Waste an assload of money every step of the way to make sure it has an 8 or 9 digit budget
            They will make up the revenue by selling "The Sims 2: The Sims Movie Expansion Pack", which will contain approximately one new 'novel' item and about 100 of the objects you already have but in different colors. Perhaps they will include an Angelina Jolie model/skin. Then you can make her have lesbian sex with the neighbors. SIGN ME UP!!!
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Shinmizu (725298)
          They will spend millions to hire the big name voice actors, and then spend a few more millions to give them all lessons in Simlish.

          I have a snippet of the script, if you're interested...

          Angelina Jolie: Mwa hama mu mu gunya! Do do do do. Manna manna.

          So touching. *weeps*
        • I kind of suspect that every single person who hears this news reacts the same way, as I just did as well.

          I can even imagine the screen writer trying to pitch it to the various production companies only to be told "WTF?!?"

          To which he replies:

          "Ok ok ok ... I know it sounds stupid at first ... but hear me out...

          Pleasantview is one of the most delightful neighbourhoods to live in, everybody is happy, the grass is always green, children are always well-mannered. But newcomer Andie starts to uncover the 'real' p
        • by T.E.D. (34228)

          If hollywood can screw up game movies with single paragraph plots, what the hell will they do with a game that HAS NO PLOT?


          Simple: You go with the old standard "human gets trapped inside virtual/alternate/fictional reality universe, and must find a way out". For examples, see Tron, Chronicles of Narnia, Spy Kids, Pleasentville (particularly this one), Remote Control, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and many many more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ByOhTek (1181381)
      Worse than sitcoms.

      There are soap opera writers in that crowd, aren't there?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by physicsboy500 (645835)

      I'm not sure whether I should rejoice that more games will be getting competent writers, or weep that gaming is going to be degraded to sitcom quality.
      Looking at some voice acting done even today, "sitcom quality" may very well still be a step up.

      *cough* Resident Evil Outbreak *cough*
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)
      The reason I have no sympathy for striking writers (aside from the fact that I don't think BOOK authors have unions and I don't want to hear a bunch of starving artists cry about being starving artists while the rest of us have REAL jobs for a living) is that there are very few writers who deserve to have their jobs. Much less negotiate stronger contracts.

      Line them all up Pink Floyd style and let's have all of them shot.
      • The reason I have no sympathy for striking writers (aside from the fact that I don't think BOOK authors have unions and I don't want to hear a bunch of starving artists cry about being starving artists while the rest of us have REAL jobs for a living) is that there are very few writers who deserve to have their jobs. Much less negotiate stronger contracts.

        Line them all up Pink Floyd style and let's have all of them shot.

        I sort of agree most Hollywood stuff is dreck but writers are the lowest on the Hollywood totem. Good ones can make extremely good entertainment (Canon O'Brian penned arguably the best Simpson's episodes. After he left it's been down hill.) Having a union evens out the wages so it's not multi-millions for popular ones and pittance for others. It enables people who can tell stories to be employed. I personally think that no matter what you do around 80% or more of everything is crap. So by enabling more peo

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Why not have writers paid what their work is worth, rather than paying people when their work is terrible. I think this promotes the wrong thing. If your writing is really good and ends up creating a popular show, then you should get paid a lot. However, if your writing sucks, and the people don't watch your show, you should get paid less. Maybe if writers got paid based on the value of their work, there would be less crappy writers. If you know you are a crappy writer, but that you are being paid well
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Orange Crush (934731)

            If your writing is really good and ends up creating a popular show, then you should get paid a lot. However, if your writing sucks, and the people don't watch your show, you should get paid less.

            It already works that way. If you write bad shows/movies that don't get watched, the show gets canceled and you're out of a job. Shows that don't get watched don't get rerun and don't sell DVDs, so no residuals either. And as reputation-based as the entertainment industry is, if you have a habit writing flops,

            • by mcvos (645701)

              It already works that way. If you write bad shows/movies that don't get watched, the show gets canceled and you're out of a job. Shows that don't get watched don't get rerun and don't sell DVDs, so no residuals either.

              This is not always true. Firefly got canceled during the first season, but the DVDs sold like crazy. It makes sense that writers still want to get paid if their creation does better on DVD than on TV.

          • by jacobw (975909)

            Why not have writers paid what their work is worth, rather than paying people when their work is terrible. I think this promotes the wrong thing. If your writing is really good and ends up creating a popular show, then you should get paid a lot.

            Actually, this is kind of what the strike is about.

            Right now, film and TV writers get paid "residuals", which are analogous to the royalties paid to a novelist. A TV show that is a huge hit and is constantly rerun generates more residuals than one that only airs

        • by Seumas (6865)
          I would disagree. Having a union seems to be a lot like having a teacher's union. The crappiest people are kept around and the best people are kept down to some degree by obligations to the crappier ones. Why should television writing be different than any other venture in the world? The people who are best at it should be rewarded the most. Those who suck should be forced to find a new line of work. And -- just like with the tech industry -- if there is a flood of interest from people wanting to work in yo
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jacobw (975909)

        The reason I have no sympathy for striking writers (aside from the fact that I don't think BOOK authors have unions and I don't want to hear a bunch of starving artists cry about being starving artists while the rest of us have REAL jobs for a living) is that there are very few writers who deserve to have their jobs. Much less negotiate stronger contracts.

        First off, I should say that I'm a WGA member, but I'm not speaking for the WGA. This is all my opinion. That out of the way:

        We aren't crying about be

        • by KlomDark (6370)
          "And when we go on strike, we when we go on strike, it screws up millions of peoples' leisure plans."

          That is probably the most singularly incredible example I have seen in my lifetime of the quality of writing of a professional writer! :)

          [Sorry, that was mean, but still had to say it. It's funny, laugh... :) ]
          • by jacobw (975909)
            You Philistine! I was merely proving my tortured artist status with a brilliant streak of James-Joyce-like stream-of-consciousness. You see, the repetition of "when we go on strike" echoes the circular path walked by a picketer in front of a studio gate and... um... foreshadows the subtextual deconstruction of... er...

            You're not buying it, are you?

            Ah, well. Worth a try.
    • Man, any improvement at all would be a step up for games. Hiring Jerry Springer's writers would improve 99.99% of games out there. There isn't another medium more hackneyed and lazy. Anyone who thinks the writing in games is good obviously hasn't read a book in their life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by uncledrax (112438)
      What? You don't want the "Everyone Loves Raymond" MMORPG?

      What's WRONG WITH YOU!?

    • The writers aren't likely to see any work on video game projects. The game industry is like most others in that you are generally paid for a job, not paid residuals. Also writing is a lesser part of a game than it is of a movie. In a movie, the whole plot has to be provided. In a game, the player themselves provides a lot of it, the game is more of a framework. Some kinds of games often need very little writing at all. Civ 4 would be a good example. There is technical writing in terms of documentation, but
  • Does this mean that we're going to get "Reality Gaming"? Are we going to have that insulting canned laughter exported to games along with TV's awful hack writing? Can you imagine how terrible Portal would have been with a laugh-track?!?

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)
      But without the canned laughter, how would you know where to laugh? They might actually have to make things funny.
    • Does this mean that we're going to get "Reality Gaming"?
      Actually, Reality TV is produced on the cheap with little (if any) writers. In fact, if the strike carries on, when the backlog of prime time episodes runs out sometime in January, expect to see a large number of reality shows hitting network TV for this very reason.
    • by MarkAyen (726688)
      Not only are many of today's "professionally" (i.e.union) written TV shows just godawful, but in the future we'll need to factor in the possibility of strikes affecting ship dates? IMO, it'd be for the best to keep the unions -- particularly traditional media writers' guilds -- far, far away from videogames. You'll get better results from print media authors anyways.
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:45PM (#21494301)
    Games that require laugh tracks.

    Honestly though, most of my favorite works in gaming have involved professional writers really taking the time to craft a great work of fiction in a game (especially Planescape: Torment.)

    Ryan Fenton
  • by wakim1618 (579135) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:52PM (#21494395)
    such as world of warcraft or the madden football sequels or civilization. How much value could a hollywood writer add to the storyline?

    Or consider games such as halo 3, crysis or the grand theft auto series where the storyline is important. But it is the design of the game that is ultimately more important and provides a framework within which the writers work. In other words, the value-added of a hollywood writer in this case seems limited.

    In each of the above examples, I see the involvement of sit-com and action-movie writers as a big negative. The story line in games can be silly at times ... but never as stupid or lame as in the vast majority of tv shows and movies out of hollywood.

    • Games sure could use some great writers, perhaps we could talk to these Hollywood/tv writers and ask them if they know any, you never know, they might have bumped into them at some time.

    • by 91degrees (207121)
      But the games industry doesn't have to rely on hacks at the moment. They can get the best talent for a song because there's an abundance of talent.

      And while some games don't need a scriptwriter, there are a lot that would have benefitted from a bit of talent. Not all games are shooters or strategy games. RPGs are actually pretty popular, and require a lot of material.
    • by kalirion (728907)
      Or maybe you could consider a game that's not MMORPG or action? Single player RPGs and adventure game would especially benefit.
    • by holmedog (1130941)
      Valve hires professional writers.
    • such as world of warcraft or the madden football sequels or civilization. How much value could a hollywood writer add to the storyline?

      Or consider games such as halo 3, crysis or the grand theft auto series where the storyline is important. But it is the design of the game that is ultimately more important and provides a framework within which the writers work. In other words, the value-added of a hollywood writer in this case seems limited.

      In each of the above examples, I see the involvement of sit-com and action-movie writers as a big negative. The story line in games can be silly at times ... but never as stupid or lame as in the vast majority of tv shows and movies out of hollywood.

      A lot of games could really use a dialog rewrite. some of the dialog is terrible. Off the top of my head Marvel Ultimate alliance could. Of course some movies Movies [imdb.com] Could as well.

    • by necro2607 (771790)
      Well, yeah, the Warcraft lore is pretty huge, overall. They could write a pretty major movie based on Warcraft, and it would be majorly successful, regardless of the Warcraft series' success, just because of the kickass compelling story. Have you played the games? The games in themselves are very very story-driven as it is (if you pay attention to the dialogue and read the manuals that have a bunch of history/story in them). [side note... No wonder I started to feel like newer games sucked - very few ga
      • Warcraft 1 was supposed to be a Warhammer RTS, but Games Workshop wouldn't license their IP to blizzard, so Blizzard did a find/replace on Games Workshop fluff, and boom, the world of warcraft was born(The story goes they submitted a nigh-completed game to GW, and GW turned them down, so any original lore/story in Warcraft is of the ohshit variety). Seriously, check out some of the Warhammer fluff, it's much much better than anything Blizzard's hacks have come up with, especially Orcs [wikipedia.org](and especially 40k Or [wikipedia.org]
    • there are many examples that can be added to this list, which are games far surpassing others with their storylines.
    • by vimh42 (981236)
      Sports games are a wash. You play sports. Though perhaps a 'career mode' could benefit from a story. Some how work your franchises team and player into a story. Complete with the modern soap opera events of todays sports. I don't know might be something new and interesting. Civilization? I think that's a shoe in for a great story. Warcraft, well games of this type already have a story so I think things stay the same here. Though if the strike brought new writers, it wouldn't surprise me at all if some soa
  • by JBMcB (73720) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:04PM (#21494553)
    I'd rather have authors write the storylines to video games. Screenwriters specialize in storylines that are constrained by time, authors specialize in storylines that are, well, good.

  • by nuzak (959558) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:04PM (#21494555) Journal
    <faux-intellectual commentary>

    <elitist crap>

    <broad general dismissal>

    Sorry, my own writers are on strike, but I see everyone else is busy mad-libbing their own attitudes toward their hate of all things sitcoms and reality tv as if that's all there ever was out there. You think you're gaining some kind of "cred" with your oh-so-jaded attitudes?
    • by spun (1352)
      These same jaded dorkberts prbably secretly watch American Idol and actually vote. Yeah, ooh, like, I'm all intellectual and crap, I never watch TV. Yeah right. There is actually some damn good writing going on on television, better than we've seen in years. But you're obviously too busy stimulating your brain with Halo 3 and fricken' Slashdot discussions. Boy howdy, you sure are a real intelektshul.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        "..better than we've seen in years."

        Such as?

        OTOH, it's hard for me to feel any sympathy for someone who wants to be paid for the same work over and over again.

        I bet a lot of aircraft factory workers would like to get paid every time a ticket is sold.

        • by chromatic (9471)

          OTOH, it's hard for me to feel any sympathy for someone who wants to be paid for the same work over and over again.

          Studios get paid for the advertisements shown with every television show aired, no matter how long it's been in syndication. Why not writers, actors, directors, and the other creative people?

        • by spun (1352)
          Huh? aircraft factory workers are not engaged in creating artistic works, they are engaged in creating physical objects. You don't think the artists should get the money, you think the fatcat business owners should? Why?

          Now, as far as original writing, off the top of my head, on public channels we've got Ugly Betty, which may be a copy of a Latin soap opera, but is nonetheless original and creative writing. We've got The Reaper, which is some of the most hilarious writing since Buffy. There's The Big Bang t
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            My biggest beef is that a lot of the good shows get canceled, because they don't appeal to a large enough audience. I showed my dad an episode of Big Bang Theory, and he thought it was hilarious, extremely funny, and yet the next thing he said was that it wouldn't last. How many people do you think actually get most of the jokes on that show? The doppler effect costume is ironic in this effect. Nobody at the party got his costume, even when it was explained to them. I think the same could be said about
      • Good writing... on TV?!
        • It all depends on what you watch. I don't watch too much TV except usually college basketball/football on the weekends, but I've really gotten into Heroes. I think it is exceptionally well written.
    • by Trespass (225077)
      Physician, heal yourself.

      If you're going to troll the trolls, you need a more subtle lead in.
    • by headbone (914314)
      And what about you? Git. We don't want your kind around here.
  • Yeah! That'll really stick it to Vivendi!
  • you get to impress that lovely lady NPC with your well rounded stats! hopefully those grind sessions are gonna pay off!

    remember kids, VR is the only tv show where you choose who's the skank, the psycho-bitch, the alcoholic, and what loser is actually gonna win!!! and stay tuned for Extreme Anime Fights right after our show!

    copyright emeraldfoxx corporations 2007

    lol!
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:28PM (#21494895) Homepage
    I for one welcome the writers for "The Office" to come help write the storyline for a game. That show is great and that kind of humor could transfer well into a game with a little work.
    • I read the first five words of that post and skipped the rest, but reading it again, I have to agree. What he said.
      • It would be a amusing to see Jim, cloaked by his nanosuit, sneak up on Dwight. Maximum Funny.
  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:34PM (#21494961) Homepage
    Why are so many people acting as if Hollywood writers are good? Go to your local bookstore and buy some of those compilations of the year's best science fiction short stories. Read the stories. I think these upcoming authors would form a far more valuable talent pool. If you look at some of the older compilations you will notice some short stories that have become movies and the true value of the typical Hollywood writer becomes painfully apparent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't think it's that the Hollywood writers are poor - you don't get a high-paying gig without having some skills. I think it's a matter of their producers instructing them to dumb down the content - apparently, simple slop sells. Blame the drooling masses that so obviously soak up the dribble that passes as 'prime time content', as reinforced by the high ratings of these shows.

      Indeed - everyone should go to the bookstore. I totally agree. Or rather, let them stay home and gel on their sofas...I'll gl
    • Not to defend all the writers, but usually it goes something like this: Writer creates an outline, perhaps a first draft. Outline/Draft then goes to director and ultimately the producers for comment/suggestions/etc.. Generally it's at this stage where what the writer intended to write and what the producers want to see start to diverge.

      I remember seeing a lecture by Kevin Smith once talking about how he was contracted to write a superhero movie (An early incarnation of what was eventually Superman Retur

  • It hasn't been my experience that there's any need for this extra, "talent" in the gaming industry. More importantly, though. These recently displaced writers are going to want 8% of every disk sold, and let's not even think about what'll happen when the WGA finds out about p2p.
  • Why is it that in America is is illegal for companies to fix prices and perfectly legal for individuals to fix wages?

    If companies were allowed to collude on prices the consumer loses, and thus the economy loses. Why is it that no one seems to be able to see that when individuals collude on wages businesses lose, thus the consumer loses, and finally the economy loses?

    Here in Utah there was a raging debate recently about how to "fix" public education by allowing a voucher system. The argument was that this

    • by edremy (36408) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:16PM (#21496423) Journal
      Back in the day, before unions, houses were built by the thousands with bricks. Not because they were the best, or the cheapest, but because it was the style. The bricklayers, feeling that they were being grifted, unionized, as was the style of the time. Very quickly the cost of building with bricks became too prohibitive, and the bricklayers mostly lost their jobs. Overall society didn't hurt too much, but it had a large impact on the southern California economy.

      Southern California? Having lived there, I can tell you unionization had very little to do with not having brick houses. California doesn't have brick houses because they fall down in earthquakes.

      • by fishybell (516991)
        That's why I said "back in the day." I don't recall the exact dates, but we're talking dozens of years before people stopped building/buying earthquake coded houses. Goverment regulation on coding really jumstarted with the San Francisco earthquake.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      This one's easy. Either you have above average resources (money, etc) or below average resources. If you have below average, you benefit from socialism (including unions), whereas if you have above average, socialism tends to hurt you. It turns out that a majority of people in any group tends to have below average resources. This majority is easily able to use their votes to make their desired socialism legal. These businesses you mention don't have enough votes to make price fixing legal.

      This has
      • by fishybell (516991)
        Socialism doesn't help below average earners. There is not one example in all of history where the goverment has been able to adequetely manage the economy to the point of bringing everyone out of poverty. The only socialized countries that do well are ones that already had an above average standard of living.

        In India the government used to (until rather recently) highly regulate all imports and exports to protect the local economy and the local impoverished population. Of course after many years they've

    • and perfectly legal for individuals to fix wages?


      Frankly, that statement just doesn't hold water. Neither the individual part, nor the fix wages part have much grounding in reality.

      First of all, the union isn't about the individual. Its about the union, hence the name union. The union is concerned with seeing that all of its members get a fair shake. There is no individual action within a union, for better or for worse. The union instead goes by something like the strength in numbers principle, using the collective strength of its members together.

      But equally wrong is your statement about fixing wages. The union isn't trying to fix wages - that would be communism. The union is just trying to ensure that the wage floor is adequate for full time work. In the example you were complaining about regarding the teachers union, the union wants to ensure that full time teachers make an adequate salary when they start. They don't restrict the maximum that their members can earn (how would they retain members if they did?) - they just want to ensure that their members all have livable wages.

      It is also worth pointing out that countries who are doing better economically than the US (their numbers growing every day) tend to actually have higher rates of union membership than we do. For example, Canadian union membership is around 30% nationally, as opposed to around 12% in the US. But yet their dollar is worth more than ours, and their life expectancy exceeds ours. Oh, and their educational system is often more highly regarded than ours.

      So you are free to hate the unions if you wish, but please, check your facts before you blame the world on them.
      • by fishybell (516991)
        How is raising the floor for entry not price fixing? If there were 100 teachers willing to work for 40,000, 50 willing to work for 30,000, and 10 willing to work for 20,000, why should we not be allowed to hire those bottom 10 at the rate they are worth? Many teachers leave the practice because wages are low, but that's their choice. If there were no teachers available at 20,000, don't you think schools would hire the ones that are available at a higher rate? All jobs in all walks of life get paid exactly a
        • If there were 100 teachers willing to work for 40,000, 50 willing to work for 30,000, and 10 willing to work for 20,000, why should we not be allowed to hire those bottom 10 at the rate they are worth?

          Thats really two not the same question - what a teacher is willing to work for, vs. what they are worth. And I'd like to start by asking who would really want their kids taught by someone willing to teach for only 20k? Shouldn't the wage for a full-time job be at least high enough to discourage the employee (the teacher in this case) from needing to seek out a second job to pay their cost of living? If you only pay a teacher $20k in a city where cost of living is $35, they'll have to make the other $

          • Thats really two not the same question - what a teacher is willing to work for, vs. what they are worth. And I'd like to start by asking who would really want their kids taught by someone willing to teach for only 20k? Shouldn't the wage for a full-time job be at least high enough to discourage the employee (the teacher in this case) from needing to seek out a second job to pay their cost of living? If you only pay a teacher $20k in a city where cost of living is $35, they'll have to make the other $15k somewhere. And that could well be a second or third-shift job that goes year round. This would of course eat into the time that the teacher should spend grading junior's homework and planning junior's lesson plan.

            Sorry, but value is determined by market demand. Value is a subjective quality, not objective; your personal preferences or opinions are not universal law. Regardless, he only gave a rough example; price doesn't necessarily equate "skill". Different people have different wants and some may think the 20k is a better deal than what someone who may reject it might think.

            And on top of that, if a school hires at $20k, what kind of retention would you expect them to have? If one school hires teachers straight from college for $20k, and another school 5 miles away does it for $40, how long will any teacher worth their salt stay at $20k? This is a big part of why inner city schools (and even first ring suburbs in some areas) end up with sub-par teachers; they're only willing and able to pay sub-par rates. However, the union assisting the wage floor actually helps this problem. I say this because if the poor schools don't have the option to hire teachers at $20k, they will subsequently need to raise money to pay the base wage.

            Sometimes businesses hire low entry wage and raise the salary if they wish to keep the employee. Imagine that! And If some schools don'

            • Sometimes businesses hire low entry wage and raise the salary if they wish to keep the employee.

              Except that some schools don't have that option. If the school doesn't have the money to increase the teachers' salaries - because the board said they must pay teachers X wage even though another is paying 1.5*X - then the district loses the teacher.

              If instead the district is told that teachers won't work for less than 1.5*X, then they have to come up with the money - either raise funds or reduce other expenditures and salaries. Hence the union-set minimum salary is actually helping because it aids

              • by fishybell (516991)

                If you want to talk cartels, than maybe we should ask why our government has put so much work into breaking up the "labor cartel" and so little into breaking up the oil cartel.

                Which government exactly is it that's breaking up unions? Please let me know, I'd like to sign up.

                I'm not going to say that you're narrow minded like the GP, merely under-educated. Please take a basic economics course from your local college. When the teacher and the textbooks say pretty much what I and others have just said, and

                • Which government exactly is it that's breaking up unions? Please let me know, I'd like to sign up.

                  Try the current government in the US. You could start by going back to the actions that Ronald Reagan took against air traffic controllers in 1981, when he fired over 80% of the unionized workers. Similarly, the Bush currently in the white house has tried to revoke the right to strike from the US Postal Service.

                  Or were you either not born or not awake during the Reagan administration? I'm inclined to believe that you know at least enough about it that you credit him personally with taking down the

            • Athletes, etc, make a lot of money simply because of market forces. If you don't like it, then tough; that's the way it'll always be, because of supply and demand.

              In the case of airline executives, in particular, the compensation is not based on the forces of the market and what it can bear. If it were, then the airlines would adjust their CEO compensation before asking for government money to bail their sorry selves out.

              Instead, the CEOs set their own salaries to beyond what the market can bear, and they expect the market to adjust accordingly to accommodate their "needs".

              And thanks for the comment about crying into a pillow - I'm still laughing at that on

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lehk228 (705449)
          price is still decided by the market, the employees vote on the employers proposal and decide to accept the offer if is is sufficient. the purpose of unions is to balance out the fact that the employer ALWAYS wins a war of attrition. the plant can shut down or run at reduced capacity with scabs and still make money, since the employees who are missing aren't getting paid. the employees OTOH don't have their bills go down since they aren't working, it's also much easier to select a temporary replacement e
        • I think the argument goes something like this...

          We don't prevent price fixing in our society because there is something inherently wrong with it, in and of itself. We prevent it because, as a whole, it is detrimental to the majority of citizens for the benefit of the few. Essentially, it is prevented not because it's inherently wrong to fix prices, but because it hurts society.

          Now, consider the same argument with wages. Does it hurt society to enforce a minimum adequate wage? No, and if you want t
          • by fishybell (516991)

            Does it hurt society to enforce a minimum adequate wage? No, and if you want to argue this point then that's an entirely different track to get off on.

            It does hurt society to have a minimum wage. By setting a floor on the amount a business can hire at, the number of employees, and thus the number unemployeed, is off from what the market could handle. Does a teenager working at McDonalds earn $6 an hour for the company? Sure, but would the McDonalds not be able to offer better service if it could hire two

            • by Grym (725290) *

              Now he [a mentally handicapped person] has no job and just sits in his room at a home all day. Before he was helping pay his way at the home, now the state is paying his entire way, and he is, to put it bluntly, a burden on society. The argument could be made that we were exploiting this man...

              Nonsense! Our destitute country has carried such burdens long enough! I suggest that we immediately find a way to harness this vast, untapped resource that is our nation's retarded. Clearly, a giant city-sized,

              • There's an old phrase that America, though thankfully not the entire world, has sadly largely forgotten.

                There but for the grace of God go I.
            • This discussion isn't about minimum wage though, and it never was. That's something of a straw man to the topic at hand, which is union negotiated wages above legally required minimum wage. The reason it is a straw man is that people employed at minimum wage are generally easily replaceable, whereas people employed above minimum wage generally aren't. In other words, these people are going to be employed whether their employer is forced to pay $20 an hour or $30 an hour, assuming the employer can afford
              • by fishybell (516991)
                The man was hired and fired before I began working here, but from what I've heard, he was capable, but not fast. An average person could assemble the part in less than half the time. He was only worth half the amount, but still an amount that was worth having him on for. And yes, there were going to be legal ramifications if we continued to pay him less than allowable, and I'm not sure if there were any fines or what for the time we did hire him.
      • by MarkAyen (726688)
        Actually, fishybell's grasp of the facts doesn't seem too far off base to me.

        First of all, the union isn't about the individual. Its about the union, hence the name union. The union is concerned with seeing that all of its members get a fair shake.

        No, it's about seeing that all of its members get an unfair shake (if by "shake" you mean compensation).

        In a fair free-market scenario, quantity of labor supplied would equal quantity of labor demanded. Elementary macroeconomics states that when the supply
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          No, it's about seeing that all of its members get an unfair shake

          Please elaborate on this. I'd like to know how you feel the unions see that their members get an unfair shake.

          However, when labor suppliers (unions) are able to collude on wages and labor demanders (employers) are not, that creates a situation that disproportionately favors the suppliers, artificially driving up costs (wages).

          Thats an interesting viewpoint, but I disagree with your description of the situation. Indeed, there are few examples remaining outside of education where the people looking for labor are obligated to work with the unions. And even in that example, I've seen districts that hire substitutes from outside the unions, sometimes to longer than usual time frames.

          Furthermore, your statemen

          • by fishybell (516991)

            So their labor monopoly really doesn't exist, and doesn't have government protection.

            Have you ever heard of prevailing wage? I work for a company that receives the bulk of its profits from government contracts. We often hire workers in a local city, we pay them what they demand, because there's only so many construction companies. Often times the contractor will hire union workers, often times not. We also have our own install crews that aren't unionized. We can't, however, pay them what we like. Dependi

      • For example, Canadian union membership is around 30% nationally, as opposed to around 12% in the US. But yet their dollar is worth more than ours, and their life expectancy exceeds ours. Oh, and their educational system is often more highly regarded than ours.

        Yes, but it's colder there and they say "aboot" instead of "about". As long as we're going off on unrelated tangents.

    • Well, back in the day I could buy the services of a man and his descendants for life from a friendly dealer in such things. Sometimes at auction, other times right off the boat. It was an institution condoned by the bible, called slavery. Times moved on.

      Back in the day I could pay my workers in company money, good only at my company store, and that was alright. I had no incentive to provide for their safety or continued well-being, and if my workers got uppity and tried to form a garsh-darned union, I c
      • That's a well-constructed argument. I wish I could apply my karma bonus to it so that more people would see it. Being as this discussion has already likely moved past the end of the day (and never even made full front-page status) its not likely that asking for someone to mod it up it will do much at this point.

        But I tip my hat to you, sir. It looks like the best feedback we can take from it is that the staunch anti-union guys here won't touch it.
      • by fishybell (516991)
        Unions should have but one purpose: to protect the well being of their members. To start out with, this meant making sure they didn't die of black lung disease or get their arm eaten by the sausage machine. The companies, of course, were reluctant to provide safety because it cut into their bottem line. Unions, however, should not have the ability to dictate safety codes, that's the job of the goverment. Overall, this helps society because when the sausage factory workers strike because of no safety standar
  • Won't ever happen (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There can't really be an effective strike because so many games are created overseas, where writers aren't likely to be a part of WGA.
  • It can be 100% full-motion video of the Heroes characters with no gameplay at all...I feel like the contract dispute is cheating us out of the build-up to the conclusion this season. Ending the season next week feels kind of like having sex without foreplay, which is still lots fun, but lacking the slow-burning development we had last year.

    I'm all for the writers getting the $$$ they deserve...the studios are doing everything they can to take down all of their material from p2p sites and YouTube so they
  • ...being a starving writer wasn't bad enough?

  • Jabs at bad writers aside, I'm interested on how the WGA covering video games could change the industry.

    Like most programmers, its rare that video game programmers see any residuals for games they worked on. I'm not saying this isn't fair, I get paid for the work I do, but if game writers, voice talent, and artists all start getting a piece of the action why not programmers?

    • I would say because they are basically the same as CGI/model/animatronics artists in cinema: they do this job because they love it so it's harder for them to turn down a good job because it won't make them rich.
      • You're probably right.

        I have to admit, I don't know much about how unions worked in the movie/TV industry. I assumed that everybody had to be part of a union to work in it (from director to the lunch wagon driver).

  • Wait a minute. Am I the only one who notices the stupidity in this? The Writers Guild of America strike is about writers getting paid residuals for DVD, New media profits. So during this strike the writers are going to go into an industry where there are no residual payments of any kind for original sales, compilation sales, and new media profits? The only people who make money of of those profits are the publishers. The writes has a better deal in script writing, at least there they get residuals for the p

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