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 technology.

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Academic Libraries And Video Games

  1. 1. Libraries and Video Games Games and Gamers Creating and Collecting
  2. 2. Some Interesting Facts and Figures. <ul><li>Video games have been around for 30+ years. (Yes, they are older than some librarians.) </li></ul><ul><li>Average number of years adult gamers have been playing computer or video games: 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent game players in 2003: an estimated 83 million worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>Three times as many Americans (approximately 145 million) played computer and video games as went to the top 5 U.S. amusement parks. </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>Computer and video games are a recognized form of art and culture in Germany. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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%).” </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Games <ul><li>Games have changed quite a bit over the last 30 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember Pong? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Pong’s Maturation <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>But speaking of Pong… </li></ul>
  5. 5. Popular Culture and History <ul><li>Pong is an excellent example of how video games are now part of the American media’s vocabulary and popular culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Recent television advertisements reveal that they are more accepted as part of a shared context and experience. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Games are everywhere! <ul><li>As technology evolves and becomes more and more pervasive, so do the games we play. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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! </li></ul><ul><li>Some additional information: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 7. Games are everywhere! <ul><li>Where are the games? </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses, some Schools </li></ul><ul><li>Newspapers (sometimes the only reason we buy a newspaper) </li></ul><ul><li>Radio (call in, in studio events) </li></ul><ul><li>Television (shows, call in programs) </li></ul><ul><li>Computer (online, offline) </li></ul><ul><li>Cell phone (online, offline) </li></ul><ul><li>Blackberrys </li></ul><ul><li>Websites (in general, different access) </li></ul><ul><li>How are games used? </li></ul><ul><li>Family time. (Board games, video, and computer too!) </li></ul><ul><li>Get together with friends (cards, LAN parties, multiplayer video games, MMORPG’s) </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>By advertising agencies to attract buyers and product interest. </li></ul><ul><li>In the military for training purposes. (Flight school) </li></ul><ul><li>Some games in Education, but mostly training designs and not very sophisticated. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  8. 8. How many sold? <ul><li>Strictly Gaming Units (in 2005): </li></ul><ul><li>PS2: 106 million </li></ul><ul><li>Xbox: 24 million </li></ul><ul><li>GameCube: 21 million </li></ul><ul><li>Xbox 360 : 5.05 million (as of June 30, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>GameBoy: 70 million </li></ul><ul><li>GBA: 75 million </li></ul><ul><li>PSP : 20 million </li></ul><ul><li>DS : 22 million </li></ul><ul><li>718 video games have sold over 1 million copies each </li></ul><ul><li>Super Mario Bros (Nintendo): 41 million copies sold </li></ul>
  9. 9. Gamers <ul><li>We’ve talked about games and video games; we even have an idea about video gamer demographics… </li></ul><ul><li>But, who really are these game-players? </li></ul><ul><li>Short answer… We all are. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Gamers <ul><li>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: </li></ul><ul><li>Analog/Pen and Paper/Dice and Card games (more about the mechanic/strategy) </li></ul><ul><li>Board gamers (Monopoly, Settlers of Cataan, RISK, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Tabletop Gamers (Miniatures, some card games) </li></ul><ul><li>RPG’ers (examples: D&D, Traveler, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Puzzle workers (Sudoku, Crosswords, Jumbles, Mazes, and Brain Teasers) </li></ul><ul><li>Video/Computer (more about the game-play, sometimes ambiguous and contradictory) </li></ul><ul><li>Hardcore gamers (game-type, rarer games, but more about frequency) </li></ul><ul><li>Old school gamer (all about game type, pre-32 bit era) </li></ul><ul><li>Cyber-athlete (competition, thrill isn’t solely in game context, but competing within it) </li></ul><ul><li>Import gamers (all about game-type, overseas – mostly Japanese games) </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Why is this important? <ul><li>Half-time Summary: </li></ul><ul><li>(RAPIDLY EVOLVING MEDIA) Games are getting more sophisticated and detailed. Will we have the archive to trace future games’ evolution? </li></ul><ul><li>(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? </li></ul><ul><li>(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? </li></ul><ul><li>(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? </li></ul><ul><li>(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? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Creating Games <ul><li>Where are these games being created? </li></ul><ul><li>There are number of studios in California. </li></ul><ul><li>Blizzard – Irvine, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Sierra Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA </li></ul><ul><li>High Moon Studios – Carlsbad, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Midway Studios - San Diego, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Midway Studios - Los Angeles, CA </li></ul><ul><li>LucasArts – San Francisco, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Reverge Studios - Culver City, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Cryptic Studios - Los Gatos, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Pixologic Studios – Los Angeles, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Xbox – Newport Beach, CA </li></ul>
  13. 13. Creating Games <ul><li>Game creating software, tools, and opportunities are becoming more readily available and easier to use… </li></ul><ul><li>XNA Game Studio (Xbox) </li></ul><ul><li>3d Gamemaker Software </li></ul><ul><li>Garage Games (Tribes) </li></ul><ul><li>Multiverse </li></ul>
  14. 14. An Education in Gaming? <ul><li>There are several institutions which offer a degree in Computer Game Design and game programming. </li></ul><ul><li>Game Culture & Tech Lab at the University of California at Irvine . </li></ul><ul><li>Southern Methodist University in Dallas has a Bachelors in Computer Science with a Game track . </li></ul><ul><li>Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio , offers an undergraduate major in &quot;game and simulation arts&quot; as part of its bachelor of fine arts degree program. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>In AUGUST 12, 2004 SDSU offered a new course on the “ Introduction to the Game Industry ” through the college of extended studies. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Are there Jobs? <ul><li>Computer game designers are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations over the next decade. </li></ul><ul><li>Full time computer game designers earned an average salary of $74,900. Those with higher levels of education earn higher wages. </li></ul><ul><li>The market is expected to become very competitive. The right mix of skills; however, is difficult to find. </li></ul><ul><li>London: Game Career Fairs </li></ul><ul><li> Jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Some notable locals… </li></ul><ul><li>Blizzard (Headquartered in Irvine, CA. ) </li></ul><ul><li>Sierra Entertainment (Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.) </li></ul><ul><li>High Moon Studios (Headquatered in Carlsbad, CA) </li></ul><ul><li>Midway Studios - San Diego & Los Angeles (Headquarters, Midway Games, Chicago, IL) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Digital Games used in learning? <ul><li>“Games are widely used as educational tools, not just for pilots, soldiers and surgeons, but also in schools and businesses.” </li></ul><ul><li>_The Economist, August 4, 2005 </li></ul>
  17. 17. Games in Learning <ul><li>Games, in general, have been a part of learning for a long time. (scavenger hunts, in class debates, question and answer, building competitions, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Computer/Video games are the next step? </li></ul><ul><li>May help address issues in Cross-curricular areas and more interdisciplinary fields. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Games in Learning <ul><li>Examples of use: </li></ul><ul><li>Historical simulations ( Decisive Battles – History Channel) </li></ul><ul><li>Planning and architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Problem solving (instant response) </li></ul><ul><li>Economics and financial management </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Physics (gravity, vectors, acceleration) </li></ul><ul><li>Chemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Astronomy </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural studies and religion </li></ul><ul><li>Library research (as part of game mechanic) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Collecting Games? <ul><li>Why? They are just games after all… right? </li></ul><ul><li>Information as Object (understood as painting, sculpture, various old collectables) Objects that inform us about time and place. </li></ul><ul><li>Games build upon each other. There is an evolutionary process. </li></ul><ul><li>Part of American culture. A video game playing generation -- 30 years in the making. </li></ul><ul><li>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.) </li></ul><ul><li>Technology is constantly evolving. We may not be able to view these older games. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Fundraising opportunities <ul><li>Regionally , in the California area, there are a number of Video and Computer Game Companies. </li></ul><ul><li>These companies are constantly looking for College graduates to work for them. </li></ul><ul><li>We are providing a service, by archiving, making available for study, and supporting the next generation of game designers. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Thank you! <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>
  22. 22. Wil Weston Engineering Librarian SDSU Library, Reference