1994 Story On Video Game Crunch Is Brutal Reading

Illustration from the article titled 1994 Story On Video Game Crunch Is Brutal Reading

Photo: Hiroshi Iuchi

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Large-scale reports on terrible working conditions in video game studios is a relatively recent thing, but crunch has always been with us, and as we can see in this rare story about the practice of the 1990s, when it’s bad it can be life threatening.

Sega historian John Harrison shared a translated version of a story of an old Japanese magazine Mega Drive (Beep! MegaDrive) from 1994, where Hiroshi Iuchi of Treasure, best known for his work on Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun and Gunstar hero, talks about a crisis, a “hopeless situation” and how she almost killed him.

The story, titled “The Negative Side of the Gaming Industry,” reads as follows:

My neglect for my own health finally caught up with me. It started at the end of last year when I collapsed in the train station. After that in Las Vegas I had a bad period of vertigo and then collapsed in the office. Finally the other day it got so bad that I had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. I was about to move on to the next life.

In recent years, I’ve heard more and more people say they want to work in the video game industry. Compared to my entry into the industry, it is true that the environment for game companies has improved, and even in the midst of an economic recession, it is possible, within certain limits, to create a game that sells decently. It can be a good industry when you think about it.

However, when you take a closer look, the magnificent (?) Stresses and horrific overtime create an environment that absolutely cannot be called healthy for the body or the mind. Your physical strength and motivation will fade to nothing after just three or four years. I can’t say that will be the case for everyone, but I want those of you who are about to enter this industry to know that such situations exist.

And, for those of you who consider yourself skilled artists or craftsmen, be especially careful. It is possible that your high level of motivation could lead you into dire straits. Sorry for being so depressing this time.

-Hiroshi luchi (Creator of treasures)

Beep! Mega Drive, July 1994

Imagine that it is “better” than it was. Iuchi left Treasure in 1995, shortly after its release, although he returned in 1997 to direct Radiant Silvergun.

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