In the context of video game design I see this quite a lot. Games are often designed in a way that punishes the player (not their character, the actual player) for failures. I think the whole mindset underlying that could do with being called into question.

- Dom Camus

Author's Reply: I don't think any school of feminism advocates that women must always be strong and competent, because that's impossible, whether you're a man or a woman. Instead, strength, freedom, competence; these are the ideals toward which we should always strive. We should always try to be the best we can be.

But you're right: By adopting that ideal, women do risk developing those same fears of failure and of showing weakness that men stereotypically struggle with. But rather than seeing that as something wrong with those ideals, I think it's a problem with how we understand fear and failure. Naturally, nobody idealizes failure, but perhaps the proper response is to instead understand its role in forming all those qualities we DO admire; that without failure, strength, freedom, competence, etc are meaningless.

Some games do in fact punish the player for failure, and I think that's a mark of poor game design rather than sociological bias. Thankfully, that style of game/player interaction seems to be going out of fashion these days.

- Lara Crigger

To the editor: Shannon Drake hits the spot on "Vision Doesn't Sell Copies - The Short Life of Clover Studios". Indie developers rely on fresh ideas to pump out games like Chronic Logic's "Gish" and make a living.

However, big name developers focus on revenues from the mainstream players. And Capcom is no exception.

I believe that the business model is to blame. To sell a million copies (as some games do today) we have to sacrifice many aspects so that games will be enjoyable by the average Joe. Otherwise, the PS2 would never sell 100 million units. With those sales figures in mind and development costs rising fast, it is no wonder what happened to Clover Studio.

- Paulo V. W. Radtke

In response to "Vision Doesn't Sell Copies" from The Escapist Forum: I'm getting kind of tired of hearing this kind of "oh well what can you do" hopeless self-defeating nonsense when something like Clover's demise comes up, especially from the more sophisticated (I assume) developers, press and gamers that read The Escapist. If even the people who dug Okami wrote it off the moment it was released as "too different/interesting to be successful", how are publishers and non-gamers supposed to change their attitudes?

I'm dead serious about this. Conservatism and fear are self-perpetuating, and the truth is that the mass market(s) are far more interested in "out there", new or interesting stuff than we give them credit for. The change has to start with us. It's understandable to become discouraged when something you think is cool fails in the marketplace, but that's no excuse to go into a permanent cynical sulk of nerdly elitism and doom the next Psychonauts the instant it appears. We need to be the ones fighting for it.

- chmmr

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