Weekly INT Boost – Prepping for PAX

Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health and gaming articles you might have missed. This week, good news about therapy, conversation about crunch, and the ways we mix gaming and jobs.


Crunch Culture Is Never Just About Individual Choice

“At the end of the day, no matter how much an individual loves it, crunch is not about individuals themselves. Crunch is a systemic, top-down solution to the problem of extracting the most labor from game developers; it is a strategy that is implemented on workers, and it is performed widely in most sectors of the industry. One developer’s complicated relationship with crunch is a blip on the constantly-screaming radar of worker exploitation that the practice enables as part of the normal operation of the game industry. It is not an exception in one person’s life, it is the norm.”

Waypoint tackles the messy conversation around crunch with its usual insight, concluding that no individual developer’s personal preference for crunch justifies the industry’s abusive use of mandated crunch.


Why Do People Play Jobs?

“Because they specifically can’t offer you a paycheck, video games have to rely on the kinds of experiences that every employee longs for and every enlightened manager wishes she could provide: engagement and internal motivators. Why does a gamer slay that giant, radioactive scorpion? Why does he keep trying until he can beat his friend’s best time on a race track? Why does she keep mining materials so he can eventually upgrade her spaceship’s hyperdrive? Because he wants to. Because she has chosen to.”

Why do we enjoy games that simulate things we’d consider chores in real life? The Psychology of Games tackles this puzzling subject.


YouTube Stars Stress Out, Just Like The Rest Of Us

“Dana Julian, a Los Angeles therapist who does not work with Riihimaki, has a number of famous clients. She says one of the hardest things about managing life as a YouTube star is making a career out of something that can be an addiction. ‘Our phones have become our dopamine,” she says. “And getting those clicks and likes and followers is also that other dopamine.’ Anyone with a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account is familiar with that neurotramitter rush. But now, imagine it magnified by millions of clicks, likes and followers.”

NPR takes a look at the mental health dangers of living your life on camera, something that more of us are doing all the time.


Time on a Therapist’s Couch Yields Persistent Personality Changes

“Could it be that people, jubilant and feeling good about themselves after weeks of therapy, are just more positive about everything in their life, nudging their positive personality scores higher? It’s possible, but not all personality traits saw the same effect. Any change in openness to experience wasn’t reliable across studies, while conscientiousness and agreeableness showed only small changes. Extraversion showed a larger change, and the effect on neuroticism was dramatic.”

A recent meta-analysis shows that therapy offers long-term benefits to personality, not just mood. Ars Technica has more.


And with that, we’re off. Team Take This is getting ready for PAX West, and we hope to see some of you there! But you don’t need to wait until then for more from us, because we’ll be back here Monday with more great stories. Until then, take care of yourselves — and each other.