Press crunch to play

Back in November 2020 I was contacted by Austin Kelmore to illustrate his next article about crunch in the games industry. The article is still not available but it shows many of hte problems in an industry with little regard for worker’s rights and conditions while giving tools for overcoming tricky situations like entering crunch or its consequences.

With a total of six illustrations for the article that had to accompany or visually aid the text, I wanted to build a narrative so I centered the illustrations on a character: David Bowlie, a bowl-headed folk.
As the topic in hand is not quite so cheery and there’s no way to embellish labour exploitation, I used monochrome, dark settings contrasted with RGB/HEX palettes, fully saturated or more pastel, depending on the topic at hand.
Then sharp edges and a reminiscence of low-poly 3D to make it unsettlingly friendly, kinda like Happy Tree Friends episode directed by David O’reilly. Glitched patterns and textures to give it a more digital feeling.

In the first illustration we see Bowlie being thrown in a Crunch cereal box.
David wants to make it to launch but the goal seems kinda far. Will they make it?
But of course, we’re not usually working alone, right? There’s a bunch of us crunching to make the game happen on time. Why not pospone it? Why can’t we work at our own pace? Well, ask the briefcase maybe.
Hang In There! while your souls leave your bodies. Lots of hidden puns in this one.
Can we make it out alone? depends on how you want to leave the box and how long it’ll take you to recover.
This is not the “power of friendship” trope, but the power of organisation one.