For Great Justice!

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.

-Duncan Munro

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.

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In the article, Crawford takes a defensive tone precisely because of criticisms like those of Mr. Inman. After all, after directly attacking the citation of “Why is Sex Fun?” he says that authors should choose citations written by actual PhDs in biology. Hypocrisy can only describe this digital faux pas, for Jared Diamond, the author of the aforementioned book has a PhD. in Physiology from Cambridge University. Geoffrey Miller has a PhD from Stanford. I will agree with one thing Mr. Inman said: an inclusion of Richard Dawkins as a citation would have improved the article.

-J. Azpurua

To the Editor: I find it a bit odd that reader “John” [from last week’s Letters section] says we need to accept each other, and come together under one title … while he already critiques a “seperate” group, or sub-division under said title, and then places his own ideas onto that sub-group.

John is right. But he needs to more carefully choose his words if he wishes to proclaim his position out loud. If you play videogames, you are in some way, a gamer. I saved my birthday money in Kindergarten and bought an NES. Back then MegaMan 2 cost you your immortal soul (I have a receipt for $72 at The Toy Works, owned by K*B Toys) and I love that game, I have a large NES collection and even larger SNES and Genesis collections. I’m as Old School as I really need to be. My friends and relatives owned the Atari 2600 units, I played Combat for hours, and I was my own version of Indiana Jones with Pitfall. I even enjoy text based adventures and have a black T-shirt which simply states [GRUE] [/Grue]. If that’s not “classic” and “old school,” then I don’t really know what is.

And on the other hand I have an Xbox 360. I’m currently playing Condemned. I played Halo 2 almost every night for two to four hours for over a year. I really enjoy Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, and still drop by a server on occasion. I’m really looking forward to playing Call of Duty 2.

I don’t think I’m special, and that’s the point I’m trying to make here. John is right. We’re gamers. We’re gamers that like puzzle games, we’re gamers that like platformers, we’re gamers that like to compete against other gamers in the online arena. We’re gamers like my girlfriend, who claims up and down all day long that she is not a gamer, but for the past two weeks hasn’t talked about anything except The Sims 2 and the Nightlife expansion pack that my mother and I got her for Christmas.

You’re a gamer. I’m a gamer. You don’t have to like it, but eventually, you’re going to have to accept it.


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