A MAZE. / Berlin 2019

8th International Games and Playful Media Festival

Gigco: Escape the Gig Economy

GIGCO Escape the Gig Economy release trailer

by Spek Work (Canada)

Genre: Pro-labour mobile game

In the Gig Economy, you’ve got to get the job done-- or risk automation. In a world where Amazon, Uber, and Facebook are looming mega-opolies, you need to work, ‘like’, and subscribe to stay alive. Gigco: Escape the Gig Economy is a pro-worker mobile game exploring the changing conditions of work and play. Tap your phone screen to deliver boxes and defend your minimum-wage job against impending automation in quick-paced, casual gameplay. If you make it to the end of your shift, you rack up points after-hours by using the company’s social media app. Looking critically at how technology is shaping the ways we work, Gigco uses gameplay as an analogy for civic participation, inverting the logic of contemporary ‘gamifying’ trends. Gaming is changing the way we work. The techniques that drive Uber workers harder and keep you scrolling on Facebook longer are strategies of game design. We work when we play, with monetized tracking algorithms extracting our digital labour, and play through our work, with the appification of services like Uber or Fiverr. This rise of the gig/share/app economy has resulted in billions of dollars for company executives, while revealing horror stories of exploited contract workers embedded in the code.
As our work, social, and leisure time is increasingly mediated through proprietary technologies, users and workers alike adapt themselves to normative standards with unforeseen and dramatic consequences. Inspired by the increasing discussion of the work behind games (Game Workers Unite), Gigco: Escape the Gig Economy explores the games that are behind our work.

Platform: iPhone