Thursday, March 30, 2006

Video Game News, March 30, 2006

I Can Hear the Colors!!
Inverted Castle 3/29/06
"There are many computer games designed specifically for the blind."

Unauthorized Sales of Video Games to Children Decline in 2005
AP 3/31/06
"WASHINGTON The Federal Trade Commission says unauthorized sales of video games considered too mature for children declined last year due to stronger enforcement efforts."

by Adam Thierer, the National Review 3/29/06
"If the only movies you had ever seen were Natural Born Killers and Sin City, you might conclude that all movies contain excessive violence. But would that really be a fair assessment of all movies?"

Politicians Play Games, Win Fame
by Mike Hendricks, Kansas City 3/31/06
"Once again we’re hearing how video games turn our kids into glassy-eyed sociopaths."

Senators, Researchers & Industry Reps Debate Violent Games
by James Brightman, GamaDailyBiz 3/31/06
"Despite the fact that violent video games laws have been struck down in California, Illinois and Michigan for being unconstitutional, politicians continue to pursue regulation efforts."

Politics and Gaming

It seems that with the creation of the Video Game Voters Network, the Federal Government has started paying more attention to the positive benefits of gaming.

The committee on Energy and Commerce of the House held a hearing on
Digital Content and Enabling Technology: Satisfying the 21st Century Consumer

The United States Senate committee of Judiciaryheld a panel on
"What's in a Game? State Regulation of Violent Video Games and the First Amendment "

Many states are holding hearings, attempting to pass laws, and taking sides on this issue.

Just to name a few

All while the FTC reports that fewer "mature" video games are being sold to minors

An attorney who defends game developers speaks at the game developers conference

And Cognitive Daily writes about why not everyone becomes aggressive from games

This is an interesting time for video games.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Video Game News, March 29, 2006

Senate Subcommittee Holds Video Game Hearing
Game Politics 3/29/06
"The video game/political axis shifts back to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday as a subcommittee of the powerful Senate Judiciary holds a hearing titled What's in a Game? State Regulation of Violent Video Games and the First Amendment..."

Free online access to Games and Culture

Volume 1 of Games and Culture journal published by Sage, is available online from now until January 2007:
Articles include:

What Are We Really Looking at?: The Future-Orientation of Video Game Play
by Barry Atkins

Parlaying Value: Capital in and Beyond Virtual Worlds
by Thomas Malaby

On the Research Value of Large Games: Natural Experiments in Norrath and Camelot
by Edward Castronova

GRANT OPPORTUNITY: Federal Bill Aims to Study Media and Children

Congress to introduce "Children Media Research and Advancement Act."

"The bill proposes to create a joint program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Grants would be given over a period of six years to study how media impacts a child's ability to learn and how it affects each child's social, emotional, physical, and behavioral development."

Media, INCLUDING VIDEO GAMES. Very interesting! ~Beth

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Brain Age

At the Game Developers Conference in San Jose California, many attendees were given samples of games, and my husband received an advanced copy of Brain Age.

This game turns your DS sideways, and makes your brain work to solve tricky math puzzles that range from combination math problems to those difficult mind puzzles where you say the color of the word "white" and not what is written. The first time I played the game said my mental age was 58! I'm 22 and the machine has to be wrong, . . . right? Well, I'm going to keep playing until the mental age matches my actual age; if nothing else I could play for years to make that goal easier.

This game is highly addictive, and recommended for all ages. The math section was remniscent of my childhood math drills, but at such high speed that it wasn't like a school time test at all. I would love to see this game be included in some ISTEP training.

Video Game News, March 28, 2006

Escapist Magazine #38
Issue #38 of Escapist Magazine now available at
Abstracts at

Video games tackle 'lazy eye'

by Gareth Mitchell BBC News 3/28/06
"...Researchers at Nottingham University say that an experimental treatment using virtual reality (VR) may offer the best of both worlds, encouraging the lazy eye to be more active and getting both eyes to work together..."

Blizzard sued by WOW guide author
By Anne Broache GameSpot 3/28/06
"...The multiplayer online game of wizards, warriors, and monsters has now attracted a following of 6 million subscribers worldwide since it debuted in 2004--among them, active virtual guilds.
During several months beginning last August, Kopp sold several hundred copies of his guide, which contains tips on playing the game and accumulating experience, at roughly $15 apiece..."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Video Game News, March 27, 2006

More Flops than Hits-Games Based on Movies
by Julie Tamaki, LA Times, 3/26/06
Movie producers and game designers have tried for decades to cash in on each other's appeal with movies based on games and with games based on movies.

Stay Alive
In theatres March 24
A group of teens find themselves in possession of a video game they soon realize that once they die in the game, they die for real.

Video Game Soundtracks to Vary
by Robert Levine, New York Times, 3/27/06
"Soundtracks to popular video games usually draw from three kinds of music: aggressive-sounding rock, aggressive-sounding rap and aggressive-sounding electronic music. . ."

Video Games Enter Download Age: Online availability can provide an alternative to buying boxed CD-ROMs
by May Wong. AP 3/25/06
"SAN JOSE - Walk into any store that sells or rents video games, and chances are you'll find only a few shelves, if any, for personal computer games amid the aisles dominated by console software."

Nintendo President Challenges Developers to Create Bold New Games

by Team, Digital Edge 3/27/06
"Interactive entertainment firm Nintendo president Satoru Iwata spoke to more than 3,500 video game developers gathered at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California a few days ago."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Video Game News, March 21-25

Game Overkill
by Michael Fussell, The Post and Courier 3/23/06
"Games based on movies. Movies based on games. Novels based on games. The impact of video games on popular culture is evident in most forms of mainstream entertainment these days."

Video Games: Adults Love Video Games, 3/23/06
"According to a report by the Consumer Electronics Association, about one-third of adult gamers spend ten hours or more playing video games per week. Compared to only eleven percent of teens, some have to wonder where we find the time."

GDC Panel Takes "Hot Coffee" Break
by Waynn Lue, GameSpot 3/24/06
"Developer, academic, and legislator go head-to-head in panel designed to offer solutions to the "us" versus "them" debate on states' right to regulate game sales."

PRESS RELEASE: Easter Eggs: the New Trend in DVD, Video Games and Comics, 3/24/06
"A slew of surprises await comic fans on April 26 when Zoom Suit #1 hits comic shops featuring an overt cover contest and a gaggle of covert “Easter Eggs” revealing phone numbers and web sites that take readers out of the comic and into the middle of an internet conspiracy."

Bus Driver Sacked for Playing Video Games
Times of India 3/21/06
"LONDON: A bus driver in Britain was sacked after he was caught playing video games at the wheel instead of watching the road, the transport authorities said."

Two Very Insightful Views on Design in Video Games
by Rodney Quinn, Opposable Thumbs 3/23/06
"Representing both the East and the West, two of the gaming world’s most legendary artists came together in Paris last week to talk about design in games. Yoshitaka Amano of Final Fantasy fame and Michel Ancel, the mind behind Rayman and Beyond Good and Evil, each had very interesting and different remarks about what it is they do."

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Welcome to all of the librarians and professionals that were at John Beck's session Capturing the Hearts of Gamers at PLA.

If you found his presentation interesting you should join the YALSA discussion group about gaming. Beth Gallaway has posted detailed instructions for logging on, but I will repeat it here.

Go to
Log in with you ALA member number
Go to Discussions in the upper left hand corner
Click on Discussions-->YALSA-->Teen Gaming Discussion Group
You can join at this screen
Next go up to the top and click Discussion Forum.
ItÂ’s a Forum, where you can post and respond to messages much like a blog, but all posts are treated equally you can respond more. , (Dominic Deegan) and (Magi-Nation) are ones I used to live on.

If you are not a member of ALA or do not want to participate in the discussion group I would strongly encourage you check out and where I have blogged PLA.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you stay.

Video Game News, March 23 2006

Easygoing Justin, 14, Loves Video Games, Wants to Design Them
by Andrea Christy-Glover, The Republic 3/22/06
"What 14-year-old wouldn't smile when thinking about a vacation to California that involves visits to Six Flags, the beach, Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm?"

BLOG: GDC: Serious Games Summit: Behind the Game: What's Wrong With Serious Games?
Gamasutra 3/22/06
" Framed as an open, frank conversation, key advocates of the serious games initiative met to discuss the problems surrounding the serious games field."

On-the-Job Video Gaming: Interactive training tools are captivating employees and saving companies money
Business Week, 3/27/06
"The military has used video games as a training tool since the 1980s. Now the practice is catching on with companies, too, ranging from Cold Stone to Cisco Systems Inc. to Canon Inc. "

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Escapist #37: "What's in a Game?"

Issue #37 of Escapist Magazine now available at
Abstracts at

The Gamer's Quarter #5 now available

The Gamer's Quarter #5 is now available for download at

Video Game News, March 21 2006

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Games Bill: Measure that would classify violent games with pornography passes the House without a single opposing vote.
by Brendan Sinclair, Gamespot News 3/20/06
"The bill's definition of inappropriate violence specifically mentions games, so similar depictions in books, movies, or music would not be covered. If passed, store owners caught selling such games to minors would be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $500 on a first or second offense and $1,000 on future offenses."

Editorial: State Shouldn't Assume Parent's Role in Picking Which Games Kids play
Delaware Online 3/21/06
"Video-game supervision belongs in the family, not in the halls of the legislature."

Voom Launches HD Games Channel
C21 3/21/06
"Airing over the DISH Network, the channel has commissioned CNET Networks' Gamespot to make GameSpotting, a half-hour series of news, reviews and previews; and CinemAddicts, an hourly series featuring video games in a cohesive cinematic story."

Video Games Live Returns
by Rance "djRome" Costa, GameCloud 3/21/06
"After cancelling their events last fall, Wizard Entertainment announced that the Wizard World Chicago 2006 convention held in Chicago will feature the ultimate in video game entertainment, Video Games Live."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Video Game News, March 19, 2006

Marvel and Bungie Studios Bring Video Game Phenomenon Halo to the Comic Book Arena
Marvel accessed 3/19/06
The Halo Graphic Novel to debut in summer 2006

Video-Game for Non-Violent Resistance

by Marija Sajkas OneWorld Southeast Europe 3/17/06
"...first computer game for development of non-violent strategies, A Force More Powerful..."

New video game zaps the cancer invaders

by Colin Joyce Irish Independent 3/18/06
THE country that gave the world space invaders and PlayStation has developed a different kind of video game: one that helps people fight cancer.

Free Online Games-March 2006

When librarians are told to play games, mostly they are directed to Runescape. Is this because the difficulty level makes it unlikely that they will become addicted? Below I have listed some online games that librarians may consider playing, or may offer to patrons.

Neopets- Adopt a pet in Neopia, then spend your time earning money to feed, clothe and spoil your pet. You earn money by playing games. The company is based in Britain. The game has many commercial aspects including name brand items you can purchase for your pet, and Neopets merchandise you can purchase for yourself. Most of the games require Flash.
addictive: 7 out of 10
Violence: 3 out of 10
Age: 8 and up
Other similar games: Virtual Magic Kingdom, Animal Crossing, Sims , and Gaia

Gaia Online- This is not as much a game, but a place to dress up your avatar. You earn points for posting on forums, and walking around the virtual environment. The avatar looks like an anime character.
addictive: 6 out of 10
Violence: 2 out of 10
Age: 11 and up

Lego Club- Lego has many flash games that allow players to build using virtual lego pieces. There is a section for Preschool, and another for older elementary school gamers. I enjoyed playing the interesting puzzle Brick game was an interesting puzzle played with another person.
addictive: 5 out of 10
Violence: 2 out of 10
Age: 4 and up with adult
Other games for a younger audiance: PBS Kids, Learning Planet, FunBrain, and FunSchool.

Lemonade Stand- Remember those days as a kid when you wanted to make money so you sold glasses of lemonade or koolade for a nickel or a dime. Well know you can play this game to analyze the best business strategy for selling this refreshing cold drink. In addition to controlling the amount in your pitcher, you also have to anticipate the weather.
addictive: 8 out of 10
Violence: 0 out of 10
Age: 9 and up

Phosphor- This 3D First person Beta, is meant to be a multi-player browser-based first person Shooter, but when I played there were no other players. The environment is ideal for simulating a first person shooter game, without worrying about the enemy. I spent 45 mins exploring the environment before I quit playing. Surprisingly just walking around in the new environment was fun. (yes I know I'm weird). If you ever wanted to know what playing Halo or Perfect Dark was like, you can try this Beta.
addictive: 4 out of 10
Violence: 10? out of 10
Age: 15 and up
Tommy and the Magical Words - Do you like crosswords? Do you enjoy Scrabble, well you can use your skills honed at many Sunday papers to help Tommy fins his way out of a book. The developers on this game have been nominated by the Independant Games Fesitival for Innovation in Visual Art
addictive: 6 out of 10
Violence: 2 out of 10
Age: 8 and up
Dinner Dash- Help Flo run her own restaurant. Be quick to seat customers, take orders, serve food, and clean tables.
addictive: 5 out of 10
Violence: 2 out of 10
Age: 10 and up

These are a few of the online games available I have by no means talked about all of those available. Feel Free to leave a comment about any other games you know and love.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Video Game News, March 18 2006

Marvel Handling Halo Comic
by Brendan Sinclair, Gamespot 3/17/06
"All-new stories of Bungie's sci-fi universe set to land in graphic novel form; Moebius, Simon Bisley, among the artists lending their talents to the book."

Carmack, Meier, Lara Make the Walk of Game

by Gamespot 3/17/06
"Revered developers, titillating game characters, and enduring games join second class of inductees into industry-honoring attraction."

Love Video Games But Miss TV? This Could Be The Answer
by Stephen Totilo MTV News 3/17/05
"The next game from Mustaine's Ritual Entertainment, a first-person shooter called "SiN," will be released as TV style episodes."

Sex Alive and Well in Video Games

by Daniel Terdiman, CNET 3/14/06
"To be sure, there has been sex in video games almost since there have been video games, but to hear the panelists--a collection of bloggers, journalists, magazine editors and game designers--talk about it, there's more interest and fewer roadblocks today to such games than ever before."

More than just video games

Much of the focus for incorporating games into libraries has been on video games, but there are more innovations in board games and card games than I think most librarians realize.
  1. CCG. A collectible card game is sold in starter decks and booster packs. The player designs a deck of normally around 60 cards to play with. The cards serve as objects to play with such as a person, a spell or a weapon. These cards are used to enhance each other as well, so building a deck can take months even for the most skilled players. I have heard it referred to as cardboard crack, and I must agree. The uncertainty of opening a new booster pack, the anticipation of the card you have been searching for, can be very thrilling, and expensive. Many poorer players have turned to CCG Workshop to play.
    • Magic has been popular for 20 years (and it isn't going away). There are many card games that have 3 year lifespans, but I haven't been to the gaming store to know the current trend. Examples are Magi-Nation<3,Legend of the Five Rings, Neopets, and Pirates.
  2. Miniatures- This type of play uses tiny figurines resembling the character you play, the terrain, and any other objects encountered in the game. Fans of this type of game will are very precise in their representation emphasizing scale. Everything is calculated to be a proportional smaller version of the world, including movement.
    • Dungeons and Dragons, Hero Clix, Mage Knight, and Mechwarrior
  3. Crazy Card games- Traditionally card games involve a deck of 52 cards from Ace to King, but some developers have creatively taken the card, and printed their own game on these hand held pieces of true oddity. Unlike CCGs these games are playable without the purchase of additional cards, but expansions are available to make the game more fun.
  4. Board Games- In addition to the games that most played when growing up, there are large variety of European games that are played by teens and adults. Most of the companies are based in Germany, but come to the United States for Conventions and sell at local gaming stores.
  5. Role Playing- A role playing game(RPG) is created to allow the player to take on a different persona. If you have heard of Role Playing then you most likely have heard about Dungeons and Dragons, but there are many other titles available. The world in controlled by large books of rules, that quantify all aspects in order to be calculated into probability equations, equated with rolls of dice. This is more a genre of games than a type of game, but it is important to note the paper RPG which plays differently than the immersive video RPG.
    • Dungeons and Dragons is still very popular paper RPG. A few years ago, Vampire was popular especially with the players that LARP( Live Action Role Playing- Dress up and walk through the "Dungeon" as character). My husband is currently working to adapt the Hero System, which is an revision of the Champion system.
  6. Social Games - These games serve as ice breakers, and are designed to allow people to interact. Most of the games involve trivia, or word usage, but also are fun to play with family and friends
    • Cranium, Taboo, Catch Phrase, Apples to Apples, Scatagories, Scrabble, Scene It, Man Bites Dog, Once Upon a Time, Nano Fictionary, Why did the Chicken..., Outburst, and many others that escape me at the moment
I hope that my outline helps librarian understand the different games played by their patrons. The first step to relating to patrons that play these games, is to be familiar with the different types, and offer a place at the library for them to possibly play.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Congratulations to Beth and Matt

I want to congratulate Matt and Beth for all of their hard work toward advocating libraries.

Today they are honored by Library Journal for their accomplishments in the Annual Movers and Shakers volume.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Video Game News, March 16, 2006

Wharton Dean: Virtual worlds are the future of MBA education
by Vladimir Cole Joystiq 3/16/06
"...I think that the next big teaching innovation will come from the area of virtual worlds. Think Sim City or The Sims in a business environment..."

Do Copy Protection Firms Encourage Piracy?

by Nate Anderson ars technica 3/13/06
"Our primary weapon to fight piracy is through rewarding customers through convenient, frequent, free updates. If you make it easy for users to buy and make full use of your product or service legitimately then we believe that you'll gain more users from that convenience than you'll lose from piracy."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Video Game News March 15, 2006

Smart Brain Games- Keeping ADHD in Check
by Jamie M. 3/12/06
'"If they just play video games on their own, they will zone out," he says. "When they play on this system, if they zone out, the video game doesn't respond any more," acting as an incentive to improve focus and concentration. '

New training video game helps fight the war on substance abuse
by Cpl. Rose A. Muth Marine Corps News 3/15/06
"After years of development, “First to Fight,” a video game which has been designed by the Marine Corps, was released in early 2005.The game is a training tool to help teach Marines about the effects of drugs while on duty."

Rumor-Playstation 3 to Imitate Nintendo Revolution Feature

"Rumours are flying around that the PS3's backwards capability with the PS1/PS2 won't be as simple as popping the disk in and playing away. Rumours now suggest that you'll have to download them from Sony's online HUB for a small fee."

Turn on your Game Cube to visit your doctor
by Donna Gordon Blankinship The Seattle Times 3/12/06
A doctor at the University of Washington is working with game developers to create an interface that reaches young people with diabetes where they are: on the phone or playing video games.

Video games a hit with Oregon inmates

by The Associated Press Oregon Live 3/14/06
The $35 video game consoles, pre-loaded with 50 games, are being offered as an incentive for good behavior. Prisoners earn the right to buy one after 18 months of good behavior.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Video Game News, March 14th, 2006

The Escapist Issue #36:Ludo, Ergo Sum
This week's issue of the Escapist focuses on the philosophy of game design. Read abstracts on the Escapist Blog at

ESA Creates Gamer's Voting Network
Digital Lifestyle 3/16/06
The Electronics Software Association (ESA) today launched the Video Game Voters Network, a way for the ESA to keep gamers aware of industry news and to allow them easier access to their federal, state, and local officials about video game legislation.

Can Video Games Help Kids Make Healthy Choices?
by Alfredo Flores USDA 3/16/06
Novel, high-tech tools are being developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists for teaching kids about healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Video Game News, March 13, 2006

Better Journalism Through Video Games? Instead of slaying monsters, players must tackle sources
AP, 3/9/06
"To teach fact-finding skills, professors at the University of Minnesota have turned the fantasy computer game "Neverwinter Nights" into a tool for journalism students. Instead of slaying monsters and gathering gold, the players tackle sources and gather information."

On Guard Online: Popular video games draw kids online for fun, but may expose them to risks
by Christine Rook, Lansing State Journal 3/12/06
"Some players keep it clean. Some don't. And all you have to do is link an Xbox or PlayStation 2 to the Web, and you're in... "The computer is a gun," said Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Rich Cruz. "If it's not used properly, if they are not taught how to use it correctly, they can get hurt.""

Gamer Parents Seek Video Games They Can Play With Their Children

By Lini S. Kadaba, Knight Ridder Newspapers 3/12/06
"She’s a woman who’s got game. And she’s Rosemary’s 38-year-old mother. A generation of children who have played video games, like, forever, has come of age — as gamer parents."

SXSW Panel Discusses Video Games in Austin
AP 3/12/06
"A group of computer programmers, publishers and others hope Austin can one day be a big player in the ten (b) billion dollar a year video game business, too."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Guitar Hero Spinoff Rumored

"In a recent interview with MCV, Red Octane CEO Kelly Sumner stated that RedOctane was working on a sequel to the critically acclaimed Guitar Hero, as well as a handful of other titles slated for release by the middle of 2007."

More info at

Video Game News, March 9 & 10, 2006

ADHD Patients Play Video Games as Part of Treatment
by Susan Jenks , Florida Today 3/9/06
'A generation raised on video games is inspiring researchers' efforts to unlock the mysteries of a puzzling learning disorder that afflicts millions of school-age children and even some adults."

Rap and Video Games in the 'Dog Pound: Notorious Rapper Aids in Validating Gaming by Fronting Hip-Hop Gaming League
by Jonathan Silverstein, ABC News 3/10/06
"As proof that not all video gamers live in their parents' basements and eat Twinkie crumbs off their "Punisher" T-shirts, the HHGL is bringing together what may seem like oil and water to an outsider, but is a natural fit from the inside looking out."

They’ve Got Games: Gaming centers try to cash in on booming industry
by Kevin J. Shay and Chris Williams, 3/10/06
"Gone are the days of the dimly lit video arcades... In their place are video gaming centers with cushy oversized beanbag chairs swallowing gamers in front of big-screen, high-definition television sets, each equipped with Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 system."

Video Games Can Save Your Life
Strategy Page 3/10/06
"The U.S. Army has discovered a remote control gun turret that works, and cannot get enough of them."

British Orgs Give Games Festival, Awards: Week-long event will celebrate games in England's capital; BAFTA to give games same status as film, television in annual awards.
by Tim Surette, GameSpot 3/10/06
"Gaming has taken a royal step toward legitimacy in England. Two major events have been announced and will take place later this year in London--the London Games Festival and the British Academy Video Games Awards. "

TN Legislation Proposes Total Ban on Violent Games

by James Brightman, Game Daily Biz 3/10/06
"Tennessee State Sen. Tommy Kilby (right) has proposed new violent video games legislation that would essentially ban violent games from being sold to anyone. "

Bill Could Outlaw Violent Video Game Sales in Tennessee
by Melissa DiPane, 6 News Reporter 3/8/06
"State Sen. Tommy Kilby of Wartburg (TN) has proposed a bill making it a misdemeanor for stores to sell or rent violent video games to anyone. "

A Question of Manners
by Spanner, the Escapist 3/10/06
"The main argument for tighter control of our videogames always seems to stem from a concern that playing out violent or decadent behavior on the screen could ultimately lead to living out similar behavior on the streets."

Empowerment of the Innocent
by Ian Easton, the Escapist 3/10/06
"In terms of history, comic books and videogames have a lot in common."

Resident Experts Explore Etiquette
by Ryan Gauthier and Sundeep Malladi, Badger Herald 3/8/06
"Are there any little habits almost guaranteed to drive a typical gamer insane with anger? The answer, in short, is a resounding “Yes.”

Where to Dump Those Unwanted CDs, DVDs and Video Games
AP, 3/7/06
"Lala is the latest site that lets people trade their crop of audio discs, DVD's and video games for better ones."

Women Save the Princess
by Chi Nguyen, the Eyeopener Online 3/07/06
"The video game industry has long been dominated by men. It is incorrectly assumed that very few gamers are women. The women gaming market is skyrocketing -- it's only a matter of time before developers and marketers take notice."

Fitness: New games: working for that playtime

by Maria Howard, Times-Dispatch 3/8/06
"Recently, ACAC began taking its video-game bikes, dance video game and other popular kids' games, such as the "Box and Bounce" set that allows kids to jump in an inflatable moonwalk while boxing with oversized gloves, out to public events."

Friday, March 10, 2006

PLA Confernece

I was planning out the sessions I wanted to attend using the online programs and I came across an exciting program:

Capturing the Hearts and Minds of the Gamer Generation presented by John C. Beck
Thursday, March 23 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Room: Hynes Convention Center – Rooms 304/306

I hope to see you there, but make sure you leave me a seat :)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Innovate Webcasts-Social Learning

I participated in three of the Innovate's webcasts. I was surprised at the themes brought out in all three session's I attended.(Teachers' Perceptions of Video Games: MMOGs and the Future of Preservice Teacher Education;Using Games to Promote Girls' Positive Attitudes Toward Technology; and Neverwinter Nights in Alberta: Conceptions of Narrativity through Fantasy Role-Playing Games in a Graduate Classroom)

One of the themes that were brought up was the importance of getting students to play games, even college students. The first session focused on primarily using Online Multiplayer games in the elementary classroom. We discussed a survey that was given to pre-service teachers. The results displayed that many teachers had been exposed to gaming, but didn't make the link to incorporating into the classroom. The major question was why. I think the reason is that teachers are overworked, and underpaid. I don't think that with the heavy focus on standards teachers can incorporate video games into the curriculum. This is an area where the library can excel. We have more freedom with instruction than teachers (even if sometimes we have more difficult topics to teach, and less time to teach them). I would love to see a school media center incorporate video games into instruction. I know many have games installed on computers, available for any student to freely use. Let's take it one step further.

The second topic was about girls and gaming. The author of the one of the articles hypothesized that girls do not play games, and that is why they do not go into technical jobs as frequently as boys. I personally feel that just as many girls play games, as boys, they just choose diffrent games to play.

The last session focused on a graduate program, that takes graduate students through the process of creating a ten minute movie, Flash animation, then element of NeverWinter Nights. The professors that organized the program focused on the theory behind the design, not the mastery of the tools, admitting that previous skills were not related to the sucess of the creation of the projects. I was surprized to find that they had student create games individually. This seems odd, since the game industry, business world, and even library environment relies on the strengths of a group to create quality work. I asked if current teenagers would perform differently in the graduate classes, being exposed to the creation technology such as The Movies, and machinama. Their response what that even though the teens may have the skills to create movies, they most likely will not understand the theory of technology design. This is another area I think that libraries can pick up. I'll post some suggestion titles after I pick my husband's brain.

I found the conversations very interesting, and during the course of the discussion many of the participates shared links to research, blogs, and games.

Pablo Moreno-Ger is working on obtaining a Ph. D. in Madrid Spain researching electronic learning related to game-based learning and immersive environments. He publishes his research on his blog.

Game Learning is a website documenting projects created by the Computer Game Design, Programming, Multimedia and Mathematics cluster of the Australian Schools Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics Project.

Haileybury Edrington's computer club, started with some female participants, but after a year all had dropped out. The website displays examples of games members have created.

One participant linked to the article Playing Together Beats Playing Apart,
Especially for Girls
, written in 1995.

Another website referred to was Game Learning. Net. Designed for teachers to assist in designing curriculum around video games, it documents the author's research towards a Ph. D.

One interesting event that was brought up was a contest among elementary students for the design of a movie.

Lastly, three games that interest girls were discussed. Also, much discussion about Second Life,and the educational community on Second Life.
While I was participating in the sharing of all of this great information, it dawned on me that I was interacting the same way I participate in World of Warcraft. I was listening to the presenters' discussion, which was reacting to the participants' questions while displaying a powerpoint. On the side, a list of all participants was listed, much like my guild and friends list. On the bottom of the window there was a very active chat session going on that included private messages and messages to the presenters (much like party or guild chat). I was amazed at the similarities, as well as impressed that the same technology was being used in the business world as the gaming world.

In conclusion, I wanted to state that I was thrilled to be able to interact with the authors in this way, and hope that in the library world we may be able to use the Breeze software to have similar discussions amongst librarians. That would put a whole new meaning to "discussion group."

Here's to the future!


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Video Game News, March 8, 2006

Games Can Be Teaching Tools, Author Says
by Diana Thorp, Australian IT 3/7/06
"Video games are teaching children skills to take them into the 21st century and should be welcomed as an educational tool, according to US learning expert Marc Prensky."

Authors Write Guides for Video Games
United Press International Newstrack 3/5/06
"Video games are not usually associated with reading, but the strategy guides are full-color books that tell players the best ways to solve puzzles, find and use weapons and other accessories, discover hidden bounty and navigate the virtual world."

Hutsul: Sane Games Building Nintendo Back
by Christoher Hutsul, Toronto Star 3/6/06
"If video games are to take a front row seat with movies and music as a central pop culture force, they need to appeal to a wider audience."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Video Game News, March 7, 2006

The Escapist Issue #35: The World Without Games March 7, 2006
abstracts online at

Girls on Technology
THE Journal accessed 03/07/06
A study brings video games into the classroom to address the persistent digital gender gap.

Microsoft: 70 Percent of Casual Games Players are Women/
Media Buyer Planet 3/7/06
"During the Women in Games International conference, held recently in San Francisco, Lisa Sikora, of the Casual Games division at Microsoft, reported that 70 percent of their players are women, writes Wired News. The Entertainment Software Association found that 44 percent of online gamers are female, who spend 57 percent of their total playtime on casual games."

Video Games: An Ethical Training Ground

by Mitali Perkins, 3/7/06
"If you forbid gaming completely, or rely only on the ESRB ratings of "E" (Everybody), "T" (Teen), "M" (Mature), or "A" (Adult), you're missing out. Games are a great venue to establish and reinforce a code of honorable masculinity."

Video Games Play Part in Training
by Catherine Saint Louis, Detroit News 3/7/06
" exercisers, out-of-shape novices and video game players who have tried the game say they enjoy combining exercise with a video game and that, with consistent use, it helps boost fitness."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Video Game News, March 6, 2006

Games for Women, Games by Women: Women Celebrate Games, Gamers, Developers in San Francisco
By Jill Duffy Gamasutara 3/6/06
"...The WIGI event in San Francisco ... celebrated women on multiple levels—women developers who are trying to advance their careers, female game studies students wanting to break into their careers, female game players, non-exclusionary games (games designed for everybody), and so-called “girl games.”..."

Hospital Recommends DS To Stave Off Dementia
by David Jenkins Gamasutra 3/6/06
Japan has begun renting out Nintendo DS consoles, and suggesting the purchase of Brain Training titles, to patients suffering from dementia and as a form of self diagnosis.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Libraries, programming, and Bravery

As March begins, the YALSA New Literacies for Young Adults is ending. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to participate in this online class, and I can say I am proud of my classmates finishing goals.

We spent four weeks discussing the literary value of blogging (MySpace), Wiki's, fan-fiction, and gaming. For the final week we selected a project related to what we had learned, to implement in our libraries.

I am proud to say in the future that more libraries will be hosting video game programming. I want to give Kudos to all of my classmates for taking a step out of the traditional library mold to offer these great programs.

I encourage any of the readers to also take a chance to reach teens. During my entire class my classmates repeatedly interviewed their TAG groups, asking questions sparked from articles we read. Trust you teens and your patrons, and feel comfortable to ask any questions you have of the true experts on video games.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Video Game News, March 4, 2006

Video Games Teach Valuable Lessons
by Andy Phifer, The Pine Log, 03/02/06
"God bless the parents who let their children play massive amounts of games, and thank the lord for parents that let their children read books. . ."

Video Games: Music Gadgets
by Joshua Ostroff, Exclaim!, 03/01/06
"In the early 1980s, the streets of New York were covered in cardboard as a burgeoning b-boy scene attracted crowds marvelling at their gravity-defying dance moves. . ."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Video Game News, March 3, 2006

Darfur Digital Activist
Contest sponsored by MTV/Reebok for games designed to raise awareness and stop the violence in the Darfur region.

Myspace promotes Scarface

"We want to find the hottest unsigned music act to feature in the game's soundtrack. . ."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Video Game News, March 2, 2006

Web Browser
PepsiMan 2/27/06
"...DSLinux has beaten Nintendo/Opera by releasing the first web browser for the DS..."

Computer video game companies try online distribution

By Lisa Baertlein Reuters 3/2/06
"Video game maker S2 Games plans sell its new title "Savage 2: A Tortured Soul" exclusively through Web downloads this October testing a new delivery system that both independent computer game makers and industry behemoths are trying..."

Utah Senate Dumps ‘Games As Porn’ Bill
by David Jenkins Gamasutra 3/2/06
"...The bill, submitted by Republican David Hogue, attempted to amend an existing law preventing the sale of pornography to minors by categorizing violent video games as obscene..."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Video Game News, March 1, 2006

Illegal use of campus computers remains common
By Brandon Kilgore North Texas Daily Online 3/1/06
"In the wake of new federal indictments involving the illegal sharing of music, movies and software, NT officials said Tuesday that the school has effective safeguards in place to limit the practice and to protect the school from legal action..."

MySpace and gaming: the power of social networks
by Jennie Lees Joystiq 2/28/06
"The social world of MySpace seems a far cry from gaming, but as games become more socially focused, the two are converging..."