Games In the Library Setting
One of my personal weaknesses is a liking for video games. I can get very obsessive about them. They have a kind of hypnotic effect on me much like tabletop games do everything from strategy to roleplaying.
I have seen a rather interesting thing happen. Libraries are purchasing video games for the teenagers. There was a Halo tournament at one of the local libraries. In a way this bothers me a little bit. I am still not sure the exact place of videogames in the library. The type of games being purchased are Xbox, Wii, and PS3 (Playstation 3) games. Nothing like Grand Theft Auto because of the problems with sexual innuendo and the M rating for mature content, but other things.
A few libraries have SimCity 4, Lego Starwars, and Starcraft on CD-ROM to check out. I think one of the local libraries has uploaded a variety of games for use for the teenagers in the teen section, things like Spiderman 3, and Ghost Recon for the Xbox. A different library has Playstation 2 games, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, and God of War among their titles. So they are just starting up on this process. I checked the catalog for the library system I work at and these are there.
Considering there are a variety of different formats for games, buying for a variety of different systems, pc, playstation, xbox, and nintendo could get complicated. I could see libraries buying for the two major systems, xbox and playstation.
CD-Rom games have been part of the childrens room for quite some time. They are mostly things like Little Bear, Thomas The Tank Engine, Reader Rabbit, Dr. Seuss's Kindergarten Learning System, and Carmen Sandiego. They are learning games to teach children geography, spelling, and similar things. I also can see where buying typing instruction software would not be a bad idea to lend out.
I am not sure the exact value the games would offer. I know it would be entertaining. In fact something like historical simulations could have value in a vague way like Civilization for the PC, Zoo Tycoon, or the various business simulations.
I am really not sure how a library would select videogames. There are some sites like http://www.gamerdad.com which rate games for children and parents. This is the ideal situation, some guy wants to play a game with their kid.
I have been looking at the concept. Apparently, the American Library Association started covering games on their website. http://gaming.ala.org/news/
What is more important is that there is a new program being created to combine gaming with literacy sponsored through the American Library Association. I think this is where it could get quite interesting.
Ah, here is where it gets interesting, American Library Association is mentioning a gaming night at a public library for teenagers. The games are not your typical shoot em ups, they are Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero II, and Sports Videogames. This is something which could be quite interesting if done right. The title of this articles gaming @your library.
I don't think I would have much of a problem with the Sims, sports, games, historical simulations, Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Karaoke style games. I am still not too sure about the heavily violent war games like Halo in some ways.
I found a blog which looks kind of interesting. It covers games and libraries. The site looks to have been created in 2005, about the time when games were pushed as a format to enter libraries. http://libgaming.blogspot.com It lists lots and lots of resources on games in libraries.
I almost think this is a logical extension of librarians becoming fascinated with virtual worlds. I still am a little bit shaken by how many librarians are heavily into Second Life.
The reason I originally wrote this is that I went into Gamestop yesterday to see if there was anything which I wanted to buy. There was a game I tried out, Ufo Afterlight, the controls were so terrible that I plan on returning the thing.
This is just some thoughts.