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.
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!
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)
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.
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)
(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?
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.