Letters Challenges Gender Norms in Games

By Thilo Thelitz

The upcoming Zurich-made video game Letters is “a story about a girl discovering the power of words,” but not in the way you might think as an English student. In the game, you play as Sarah, an 11-year old Swiss girl writing to her pen pal in Russia. You are shrunk down and literally move in between lines of text to pick up words and throw them at your surroundings in order to progress to the next level. For more background on the game and its development, I had an interview with one of the developers, Martina Hotz.

The game is partly crowdfunded through a Kickstarter campaign which has, at the time of writing, reached CHF 19’178 of its goal of CHF 20’000 with only few days left until it ends on November 23! The game is under development already, and you can download a demo. The glimpse of the game I got while playing the demo already transported me back to the days when I was but a young nerd. At the same time, the game mechanics are really quite unique, akin to a puzzle, and make for dynamic and fun gameplay. In a gaming landscape that often produces dark and gritty and tough worlds, it’s also nice to see a wholesome and sweet game like this. The Nintendo kid in me has always preferred the cheery and magical universes over the edgy ones. Lastly, I loved the little homages and references to different aspects of gaming culture that the Letters’ world is strewn with.”There’s a little bit of each of us in the story,” Martina says.

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