Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an interdisciplinary centre for research/ creation in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art

Research & Creation

The Secret Life of Software

Jen Whitson, Bart Simon

We’re told that the mark of good software is that it is so seamless and intuitive to use that it becomes a natural extension of our body.  In doing so, we effectively ‘erase’ the hundreds of people and their labour that go into making that software.

This ethnographic project looks at the secret life of game software. We examine the day-to-day lived experiences of game developers in a number of domains:  within large MMO companies like Funcom, in mid-size game incubator start-ups like Execution Labs, and in the smaller indie projects undertaken within TAG. Central questions of this project include:

  • What does game development really look like?
  • How do interns learn how to be developers?
  • How do developers collaborate in small teams?
  • What does work look like in different sectors of the industry?
  • How do values get embedded into design?
  • How do developers deal with the precarious labour that characterizes the game industry?
  • How might an appreciation of games be enriched by a deeper understanding of the people who make these games?



Project Type

ustry Game Development / Creative Social Economy