Modern child labor: not in a factory, but in a computer game?

Here’s a post that’s worth reading, by Steven Poole: http://stevenpoole.net/trigger-happy/working-for-the-man/ .   Rather off-topic for this blog, and raises more questions than answers, but interesting.  It asks “Why are video games so much like work?” — they do indeed have similarities to repetitive assembly-line jobs.  I’ve watched my kids click thousands of times, breaking simulated rocks, to earn points.  Oddly enough, they won’t do nearly the same amount of work to help clear the table for dinner…

But, he is wrong to a degree.  The Sims is not necessarily about buying.  You can also play it so that it is about architecture.  My daughter does that.  I suspect that she found a “cheat code” to get money, then builds elaborate neighborhoods in the game.  Beautiful neighborhoods that would be nice to have in the real world.  Her game play is all about building, not about running a fake life and consuming.  So, Steven Poole is only right if you take a narrow view of computer games and play them the way they are “supposed” to be played.  But, his question remains: why are so many games designed to be played as factory work?   Good question.