History of Games Conference 2024

At the History of Games Conference 2024, which took place at Birmingham City University on May 22-24, Jaroslav Švelch presented a paper A “Messianic Approach” to Computer Games: Activism in 1980s Game Design and Game Journalism by Mel Croucher. In the presentation, Jaroslav provided a fuller picture of Mel Croucher as an important voice in the 1980s British discourse about games, who was an early critic of sexism, racism, and labor exploitation in the game industry. As early as 1983, Croucher staged a public protest against sexism in the game industry, making him a kind of prehistoric specimen of a “social justice warrior” within game culture. This historical case shows that insider critique of the issues within the game industry has been present (but mostly dismissed) since its early days, long before post-2000s movements such as Game Workers Unite.