To the Editor: I read your latest issue, "Walton's World," and was amazed and impressed by the level of empathy and understanding it conveyed about retail sales and employees. So much, in fact, that I found myself nodding in agreement and shaking my head in disgust right along with your journalists as they detailed their experiences, their fears, and their hopes for an industry struggling more than ever with mass consumerism and mainstream ethics.
My sympathies come from my own year in retail. I watched a very similar conversion happen as my beloved big-box bookstore went from a comfortable place of reading and enlightenment to a dreary place of printed paper and bottom line. I struggled against management and corporate pressure who tried to track our sales. I watched as my section, my baby, was gutted in the name of streamlining stock so that only sellable items were carried. Single copies of a book that you might sell, if the right person happened to come calling, in the next six-months-to-a-year, just weren't worth keeping in the store anymore. Despite that people did come calling and were then frustrated there was nothing for them, even though we were large enough to have something, anything, on their desired topic.
It is heart breaking to see shelves emptied of resources and life while the Next Big Thing (with the inevitable Famous Person Stamp of Approval) fills shelves and tables and aisles. But I have hope yet.
The internet is becoming a place where the unsung are heard, and the unknown can be found. With the power of bloggers harnessing a truly free press, and everyone promoting what is truly worthwhile and enjoyable, there may yet be a place for games (and books, and music) that will never make it to the front rack of your local emporium. It will be interesting to watch, as a gamer and consumer, over the next several years as retail flounders against big box mega stores, and internet shops continue to pursue a friendly familiarity once found in your local mall. I, for one, will be lying in wait to do my part to change the way games (and media in general) are made, sold and played. I will be looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.
A venue such as yours hints at that light. You've touched on issues right at the heart of this struggle. You've shown insight into the revolutions that are happening in the minds and hearts of gamers. You've written on all sides of gamer issues, both for and against. You've shown an empathy for the mainstream and those just discovering the world of gaming. Keep writing, there are more people that need to hear what you have to say.
To the Editor: As an original supporter of Mr. Crawford's article on girls and games, I became extremely irritated by Doug Inman's letter lambasting it. I am a fellow life-sciences student, and while I may not have agreed with all the details in Crawford's article, I thought it was exemplary in showing how evolutionary psychology could be applied to various issues in gaming.