‘Hardspace: Shipbreaker’ Understands the Joy and Grace of Good Work

My grandfather was born in Alliance, Ohio, a rural farming town which transitioned to a manufacturing economy in the 20s. He grew up working a farm, considered dropping out of high school (but didn’t), and, when his family’s farm went under and was purchased by a corporate farming enterprise, he went to the machine shops that came to define the town. There, he operated a manual mill, a highly technical instrument capable of machining pieces of metal to millimeters of precision. His shop, asbestos ridden, gave him the cancer which killed him forty years later, when I was 17.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akewwz/hardspace-shipbreaker-understands-the-joy-and-grace-of-good-work

Magnificent, Renata. Thank you for sharing this with me.

Had me in tears, thank you for sharing this. It articulated many feelings about physical labor I’ve struggled to explain in the past.

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what a piece

It’s been interesting to see someone with such a similar background to me at Waypoint. Renata speaks to a lot of things I really appreciate, and it’s rewarding to see someone clearly wanting to bring their depth to these topics. I’m from a Rust Belt city in northern Ohio, I went to the same kind of technology-focused high school, I’m agender but pharmaceutically identical to a trans woman. I am a lathe person rather than a mill person, though ;-). I’ve just stayed in this world, though, being a quiet and lonely weirdo machinist that devours SF and history books on my lunch break. I’m moving into the house I grew up in soon. I more often see people like me trying to disown this background and this world. Not without reason - it’s come real close to killing me. But it ain’t closed the deal yet, and there is simply more to it than that. I have a few artifacts and tools from my great-grandfather’s days as a machinist, and I want to pass them and my own on to someone else that might come to understand them.


RenSpace: Heartbreaker

Articles like this remind me what I love so much about what games writing can be. Not only does this present a solid understanding about Hardspace: Shipbreaker as a game you experience, but it connects the narrative and mechanics to the history of labor as well as its present. That Renata has a personal stake in the subject matter, and shares it with us as well, only makes the article better. Great work.