Academic Libraries And Video Games
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Academic Libraries And Video Games

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This was a presentation that I gave to a group of librarians here at SDSU. It was an opportunity to present my arguments why I believe that the library needs to seriously consider games and gaming ...

This was a presentation that I gave to a group of librarians here at SDSU. It was an opportunity to present my arguments why I believe that the library needs to seriously consider games and gaming technology.

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    Academic Libraries And Video Games Academic Libraries And Video Games Presentation Transcript

    • Libraries and Video Games Games and Gamers Creating and Collecting
    • Some Interesting Facts and Figures.
      • Video games have been around for 30+ years. (Yes, they are older than some librarians.)
      • Average number of years adult gamers have been playing computer or video games: 12
      • Frequent game players in 2003: an estimated 83 million worldwide
      • Three times as many Americans (approximately 145 million) played computer and video games as went to the top 5 U.S. amusement parks.
      • With an estimated 22 billion dollar annual turnover, computer games generate more money than Hollywood. ( $7.3 billion from U.S. sales, which twice the U.S. sales in 1996)
      • Computer and video games are a recognized form of art and culture in Germany.
      • Since 1992, video games have been part of French national library’s patrimonial collections. Every video game distributed in France must send in two copies to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
      • About 43% of digital game players are female. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (28 %) than boys from ages 6 to 17 (21%).”
      • Approximately 60% of Americans play interactive games on a regular basis; and 32% of those who play computer and video games are age 35 or older with 13% age 50 or older.
    • The Games
      • Games have changed quite a bit over the last 30 years.
      • Remember Pong?
    • Pong’s Maturation
      • Pong and other early Tennis games, like all sports based games, have greatly evolved from simple pixilated sprites to more fully rendered and detailed environments.
      • But speaking of Pong…
    • Popular Culture and History
      • Pong is an excellent example of how video games are now part of the American media’s vocabulary and popular culture.
      • Recent television advertisements reveal that they are more accepted as part of a shared context and experience.
    • Games are everywhere!
      • As technology evolves and becomes more and more pervasive, so do the games we play.
      • Even technology that was not originally intended to be part of game-play, like GPS (Global Positioning Systems). Using these, once military satellites, people are playing a global game of hide and seek called geocaching.
      • Who is playing? As of 2006, there are 312,279 active caches in 222 countries . In the last 7 days (9/15/2006), there have been 203,763 new logs written by 32,913 account holders. Now that is BIG “Hide and Seek” game!
      • Some additional information:
      • http://www.geocaching.com/
      • and
      • http://www.cacheintrashout.org/
    • Games are everywhere!
      • Where are the games?
      • Businesses, some Schools
      • Newspapers (sometimes the only reason we buy a newspaper)
      • Radio (call in, in studio events)
      • Television (shows, call in programs)
      • Computer (online, offline)
      • Cell phone (online, offline)
      • Blackberrys
      • Websites (in general, different access)
      • How are games used?
      • Family time. (Board games, video, and computer too!)
      • Get together with friends (cards, LAN parties, multiplayer video games, MMORPG’s)
      • Bars and Grills, Pool Halls, State Fairs, Shopping Mall Arcades, and Student Unions (certainly, various motivations for the games placement, but all to enhance the social experience)
      • By advertising agencies to attract buyers and product interest.
      • In the military for training purposes. (Flight school)
      • Some games in Education, but mostly training designs and not very sophisticated.
      • Games, generally, are designed to mentally challenge and engage; and, sometimes, used to enhance a social experience. The top selling video games have an E or T rating and often have a multiplayer (cooperative or challenger) option.
    • How many sold?
      • Strictly Gaming Units (in 2005):
      • PS2: 106 million
      • Xbox: 24 million
      • GameCube: 21 million
      • Xbox 360 : 5.05 million (as of June 30, 2006)
      • GameBoy: 70 million
      • GBA: 75 million
      • PSP : 20 million
      • DS : 22 million
      • 718 video games have sold over 1 million copies each
      • Super Mario Bros (Nintendo): 41 million copies sold
    • Gamers
      • We’ve talked about games and video games; we even have an idea about video gamer demographics…
      • But, who really are these game-players?
      • Short answer… We all are.
    • Gamers
      • The long answer is that “gamers” are distinct from “casual players” by their devotion to gaming as a hobby. They are fans of games. As might be expected, gamers can be generally classified:
      • Analog/Pen and Paper/Dice and Card games (more about the mechanic/strategy)
      • Board gamers (Monopoly, Settlers of Cataan, RISK, etc.)
      • Tabletop Gamers (Miniatures, some card games)
      • RPG’ers (examples: D&D, Traveler, etc.)
      • Puzzle workers (Sudoku, Crosswords, Jumbles, Mazes, and Brain Teasers)
      • Video/Computer (more about the game-play, sometimes ambiguous and contradictory)
      • Hardcore gamers (game-type, rarer games, but more about frequency)
      • Old school gamer (all about game type, pre-32 bit era)
      • Cyber-athlete (competition, thrill isn’t solely in game context, but competing within it)
      • Import gamers (all about game-type, overseas – mostly Japanese games)
      • Most folks fit into the casual gamer category; they are people who are “occasional video game players” or “beer & pretzel” game players. Additionally, most games are designed for this demographic, because it is the largest. (Target audience of the Wii – all ages)
    • Why is this important?
      • Half-time Summary:
      • (RAPIDLY EVOLVING MEDIA) Games are getting more sophisticated and detailed. Will we have the archive to trace future games’ evolution?
      • (SOCIAL FABRIC) All games are designed to mentally challenge and engage, and, sometimes, enhance social experiences. Libraries represent humanity’s cultural memory, will we forget this part?
      • (MAJOR MEDIA FORMAT) The gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, even dwarfing Hollywood in profits. The Academic Library is constantly looking for outside funding; now a major media product is uncollected and one strongly associated with several academic degree programs (Computer Science, Art, Creative Writing programs) isn’t there an opportunity there?
      • (COMMON) Games are pervasive and attached to or available through most of our daily activities. If this is a new media being used by all and entering into the shared content knowledge (that advertisers use) shouldn’t we collect it?
      • (BEING COLLECTED) A few European countries and some American Public Libraries collect games. The collection of these games is already beginning at National libraries and some Public libraries, doesn’t the Academic library have a role?
    • Creating Games
      • Where are these games being created?
      • There are number of studios in California.
      • Blizzard – Irvine, CA
      • Sierra Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA
      • High Moon Studios – Carlsbad, CA
      • Midway Studios - San Diego, CA
      • Midway Studios - Los Angeles, CA
      • LucasArts – San Francisco, CA
      • Reverge Studios - Culver City, CA
      • Cryptic Studios - Los Gatos, CA
      • Pixologic Studios – Los Angeles, CA
      • Xbox – Newport Beach, CA
    • Creating Games
      • Game creating software, tools, and opportunities are becoming more readily available and easier to use…
      • XNA Game Studio (Xbox)
      • 3d Gamemaker Software
      • Garage Games (Tribes)
      • Multiverse
    • An Education in Gaming?
      • There are several institutions which offer a degree in Computer Game Design and game programming.
      • Game Culture & Tech Lab at the University of California at Irvine .
      • Southern Methodist University in Dallas has a Bachelors in Computer Science with a Game track .
      • Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio , offers an undergraduate major in "game and simulation arts" as part of its bachelor of fine arts degree program.
      • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University offer classes on video-game criticism, games as educational tools, and game design.
      • In AUGUST 12, 2004 SDSU offered a new course on the “ Introduction to the Game Industry ” through the college of extended studies.
    • Are there Jobs?
      • Computer game designers are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations over the next decade.
      • Full time computer game designers earned an average salary of $74,900. Those with higher levels of education earn higher wages.
      • The market is expected to become very competitive. The right mix of skills; however, is difficult to find.
      • London: Game Career Fairs
      • GameDev.net: Jobs
      • Some notable locals…
      • Blizzard (Headquartered in Irvine, CA. )
      • Sierra Entertainment (Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.)
      • High Moon Studios (Headquatered in Carlsbad, CA)
      • Midway Studios - San Diego & Los Angeles (Headquarters, Midway Games, Chicago, IL)
    • Digital Games used in learning?
      • “Games are widely used as educational tools, not just for pilots, soldiers and surgeons, but also in schools and businesses.”
      • _The Economist, August 4, 2005
    • Games in Learning
      • Games, in general, have been a part of learning for a long time. (scavenger hunts, in class debates, question and answer, building competitions, etc.)
      • Computer/Video games are the next step?
      • May help address issues in Cross-curricular areas and more interdisciplinary fields.
    • Games in Learning
      • Examples of use:
      • Historical simulations ( Decisive Battles – History Channel)
      • Planning and architecture
      • Problem solving (instant response)
      • Economics and financial management
      • Literacy
      • Physics (gravity, vectors, acceleration)
      • Chemistry
      • Astronomy
      • Cultural studies and religion
      • Library research (as part of game mechanic)
    • Collecting Games?
      • Why? They are just games after all… right?
      • Information as Object (understood as painting, sculpture, various old collectables) Objects that inform us about time and place.
      • Games build upon each other. There is an evolutionary process.
      • Part of American culture. A video game playing generation -- 30 years in the making.
      • Part of World Culture. (World of Warcraft – Blizzard Entertainment as of June 2006 had 6.6 million subscribers worldwide -- 2 million in the USA, 1 million in Europe, and the rest mostly in China and Southeast Asia. (that is 3x the popualtion of Chicago, 5x San Diego, or roughly the population of Switzerland.)
      • Technology is constantly evolving. We may not be able to view these older games.
    • Fundraising opportunities
      • Regionally , in the California area, there are a number of Video and Computer Game Companies.
      • These companies are constantly looking for College graduates to work for them.
      • We are providing a service, by archiving, making available for study, and supporting the next generation of game designers.
    • Thank you!
      • Questions?
    • Wil Weston Engineering Librarian SDSU Library, Reference