Hi hello there,

About five years ago I started an interview series called Don’t Die, exploring modern crises, topics, and pretty much everything going on today through the lens of videogames’ creation of niche communities and the artform itself. What started in 2014 as a deep dive into topics not being explored about internet culture + videogame culture/industry is now — 265 interviews later — an ocean-floor investigation on barriers of awareness, bad behavior online, and the sustainability of the blockbuster model in all industries.

I’ve interviewed industry skeptics, lapsed players, YA authors, labor union reps, film historians, literary critics…


Things Learned Giving The Videogame Industry And Its Fans Therapy For Three Years

Videogame culture lacks mirrors to understand itself, in part because it’s always shoved them away. I know the phrase “videogame culture” might seem like a punchline for people who don’t know much about gaming. Heck, it might seem like a punchline even to those who do play videogames. Just because two people engage in the same leisure activity doesn’t mean they have much else in common.

Regardless, whether we’re talking about videogames or veganism or vandalism, there is perhaps no greater cause for unification than the emergence…


This piece was commissioned by and written for Destructoid. It was shelved “until the topic of labor comes back up.”

By Mike Cosimano and David Wolinsky

SAG-AFTRA’s interactive negotiating committee chair Keythe Farley talks to the media. (David Wolinsky)

We’re a couple weeks into the SAG-AFTRA videogame strike, but my coverage has stalled as the two sides continue to repeat the same talking points we’ve already reported on. This break in the story has given me some time to ruminate on the nature of games reporting and games industry labor practices. (You know, in between playing the five million new games that come out every week.)


This piece was commissioned by and written for Pitchfork.

You shouldn’t expect the new space-exploration video game No Man’s Sky to have anything in common with Guitar Hero or Rock Band. One glance at screenshots show a compulsory video game gun in the lower right corner, a spaceship zooming around, or a wanderer gathering minerals. But what those screenshots don’t demonstrate is how No Man’s Sky is, unexpectedly, the latest entry into the canon of games that integrate and let you play with music in new ways.

This is hardly the single boldest claim the game can make. Any sedate…


Things Learned Giving The Videogame Industry And Its Fans Therapy For Two Years

Around this time in 2014, I was laying the foundation for what became Don’t Die. It’s an oral history originally created as a reaction to Gamergate to help humanize the videogame industry and its fans, to create a space where death and rape threats, gridlocked sanctimony, and smug dismissiveness would hopefully give way to empathy and understanding.

If you don’t give a shit about videogames — and who could blame you? — what I’m talking about here is not Kumbaya-conflict mediation-trust falls around some digital campfire, but…


By David Wolinsky and the Extended Don’t Die Family

I hate year-end lists. They’re feeble attempts to pad editorial calendars when everyone at those outlets really just want to bolt and disconnect from their jobs for a few weeks. They’re also insincere assertions that 365 days — the totality of everything everyone has done — can be dissected and be delivered a tidy autopsy conveniently delivered in the form of a shopping list. They also are an obedient adherence to the similarly false notion that turning one year to another carries some grand significance beyond the symbolic. The truth is…


Videogames Aren’t Bigger than Hollywood, But Their Labor Issues Are

<< For part two, click here.

A Special Report from Don’t Die
Reported and Written by David Wolinsky
Edited by Scott Gordon

Note: As editing was finishing on this series, announcement of the SAG-AFTRA videogame voice actor’s strike came out. This is one part of the game industry’s labor force showing unrest.

This piece was written over the course of 2015 and 2016. Many major outlets expressed interest in publishing this, but ultimately backed away.

At some point long ago, the game industry got it in its head that it’s just like the movie industry — entertainment, not software —…


Self-Destructive Management, the Exploitation of Passion, and Eviction Rooms: The Harsh Reality of Working in Videogames

<< For part one, click here.

A Special Report from Don’t Die
Reported and Written by David Wolinsky
Edited by Scott Gordon

Note: As editing was finishing on this series, announcement of the SAG-AFTRA videogame voice actor’s strike came out. This is one part of the game industry’s labor force showing unrest.

This piece was written over the course of 2015 and 2016. Many major outlets expressed interest in publishing this, but ultimately backed away.

If you work in videogames at a major company and are not in a leadership role, your work has, by now, likely become commodified to an extraordinary degree. Some people’s jobs…


How A Conspiracy Of Silence Erased A Medium’s Humanity

A Special Report from Don’t Die
Reported and Written by David Wolinsky
Edited by Scott Gordon

Note: As editing was finishing on this series, announcement of the SAG-AFTRA videogame voice actor’s strike came out. This is one part of the game industry’s labor force showing unrest.

This piece was written over the course of 2015 and 2016. Many major outlets expressed interest in publishing this, but ultimately backed away.

The videogame industry is bad at reaching mainstream audiences. It sounds like a cocky Buddhist koan, but one need only search the internet for a few Googles to see the game…

David Wolinsky

author, writer, editor, journalist, and recent anthropologist. occasional it-getter. former nbc, the onion, adult swim. patreon.com/davidwolinsky

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