Letters to the Editor

Gaming Uber Alles, Year Three


In response to “The Dark Side” from The Escapist Forum: I actually, literally, laughed out loud while reading this article. It was only for a few seconds, but for me, that’s a lot. At one point, I almost felt sorry for you, Mr. Spanner, but then I realized that your parents were the real victims of this particular money-grabbing, opportunistic, merchandising phenomenon. The way these things target children, who have not yet developed enough common sense, is truly insidious.

Well written. Thanks.

– Finnish(ed)

I first discovered Star Wars with the Special Edition release. Since then I have managed to collect over 115 of the books (I am missing the Junior Jedi Knights series and four of the early release books as well as two of the newer books. A grand total of around 13 books.) This has been going on since I was 14, and over the last 9 years, I have invested every cent of my allowance as well as up to 1/6 of my paycheck (As recently as 14 months ago, I spent over $100 in one day on books) collecting them. I know the books, even the entire collection, will probably not be worth the $2,500+ I spent on them, but they are priceless to me…

– Darth Mobius


In response to “A Disturbance in the Force” from The Escapist Forum: Interesting…I’d kinda spaced on the consistency of the books and films a while ago. I always preferred the fiction and games that didn’t involve being a Jedi for some reason. The original Dark Forces was my favorite FPS in the series because Kyle is just a merc with a gun fetish. My favorite books was the Rogue Squadron series because it was just complex space battles and the crew’s personal relationships.

Its been pointed out in forums and other disputes before…but the Force as a concept starts to get a lot more complex once you dig past the surface. Why is me shooting lightning at someone inherently evil? Why is regenerating a wound inherently good? Even the fall into darkness is something far more complex than Kyle’s petulant “Should I stab this ridiculously evil person” decision in Dark Forces 2. No one wakes up evil, as Sweeney and the other Bioware authors seem intensely aware. Bane had an abusive father, Revan had to stop the Mandalorians, and your own character in the game faces complex issues that drives you to either side of the Force.

And once you enter that realm of moral complexity that the Force really needs, you start to go past lasers and space ship battles. You start to need to real caliber, real character development, to make that moment happen. Some writers can do it, some writers can do space ship battles. Finding one who could do both is where the consistency gets tough to find in Star Wars.

– L.B. Jeffries

In response to “Lazer Swords and Thundersabers” from The Escapist Forum: Fun article! Loved the shout-out to Amber.

The last paragraph reminded me that swords also have a different kind of mythological resonance in the west: their occult symbolism. Along with the wand, the cup and the pentacle, they are one of the four tools of the magus. They represent the element of air and the power of the mind. Reason, wit and science are the way of the sword. The sword brings with it the power of analysis, the ability to separate one thing from another, and reductionism, the ability to turn one big, seemingly impossible problem into a series of smaller, solvable problems (figuratively chopping something into little pieces).

There’s even a connection to the Force down this line. The sword (in its occult significance) is best wielded calmly, rationally, dispassionately. Mix it with anger and trouble starts.

– Razzle Bathbone


In response to “A Creative Force” from The Escapist Forum: KotOR had the best story I’ve ever experienced in a game and it had everything to do with that “twist.” Ohlen may have had the original idea, but I’m sure everybody had their hand in how it was revealed. The result was something unforgettable.

One thing that caught my interest in the article was when Karpyshyn said “…because the player is in control of major sections of the story, a game is forced to deal with things on a more superficial level.” This statement caught me a little off guard. I understand his reasoning and “current evidence” does support his claim, but I can’t help but feel that games can reach that deeper level in empathizing with the characters and such. Of course, in my utopian gaming world, writers would be afforded a much larger chunk of the development costs than they currently have. 😉

Anyway, great article. I really appreciated the way the interview was conveyed by Sweeney. Great job, Tim.

– Echolocating

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