I’m reading a lot of older game related books because of my intentions to try to get through the massive pile of literature that I have accumulated during the years.

One thing that has continuously struck me is the lack of the player’s voice, mostly when it comes to books written by men.

They talk of the designer, more frequently about the programmer, the producer, but very rarely about the player and the intents and wishes of the player.

Of course players are mentioned but most of the time they are mentioned as a means to an end. Oops, we need players to make money on our art, and they should be grateful for what we do for them. Oh yes, and at the end of production and at the end of our glorious development, we’ll bestow on them the fruits of our genius labours to the player. We will grace him (because it’s almost always a him) with our creation, made manifest in our hands, based on our vision etc etc.

It feels like there’s this assumption that a game made will always be exactly what the player was looking for, because it sprung from the mind of a developer and must thus be brilliant.

Is this how men feel about themselves and their creations all the time?

Maybe that’s why so many (men) designers that I’ve known get so very defensive at the first sign of trouble in usability testing and player testing? The lack of insight into that a player doesn’t actually know everything that the developer knows is on occasion a major source of frustration to some devs.

I admit, I’m using a bit of hyperbole here, and I’m hypothesizing, but I’ve seen that arrogance more than once. I’m also thinking that posting this won’t do me any favours. Biting the hand that feeds and all that.