Thursday, August 24, 2006

Video Game News, Week of August 21

Gallery of Firsts From Second Life
Digital Media Wire 8/23/06
First virtual hotel, retailer, newspaper, more...

Study: Video Games Helps with Pain Tolerance
U14News 8/223/06
"According to a new test performed at the University of Maryland, video games are actually very beneficial to children who are sick or need to go through an intensive hospital procedure."

Tools Offered For Do-it-Yourself Video Games
Matt Slagle, AP 8/26/06
"Hoping to spur interest among video game enthusiasts, creative types and students, Microsoft Corp. said it plans to offer a consumer version of the professional software tools used to create video games for its Xbox 360 console."

Onlijne Video Games Found to Promote Sociability
by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 8/19/06
"The researchers, Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams, claim that MMOs function not like solitary dungeon cells, but more like virtual coffee shops or pubs where something called "social bridging" takes place."

Video Games for Grown-Ups: Grandparents Welcome!
KSBI 52/
"...more than 2 million over-50 consumers each month playing and purchasing these games, and more than 50 million copies of games downloaded by "seniors" in the past five years."

Harnessing the Power of Video Games
by Reena Jana, Business Week Online 8/17/06
"A growing number of video games are being designed with health-related applications. Now, commercial publishers are getting in on the action."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Video Game News, week of August 14, 2006

The Escapist issue 58: Ubisoft: Ubi, Uber, Uni

Gamasutra Podcast: Video Games Live Interview
Gamasutra 8/16/06
"Today's edition of the Gamasutra Podcast features an in-depth interview with Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall of the Video Games Live game concert event."

Video Games: A Force for Good?
WTOP News 8/16/06
"The latest positive pursuits in games are as diverse as burning calories, fighting cancer and tackling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Games Won't Create Monsters, Just Engaged Players

Denver Post 8/20/06
"Video games have grown from a nerdy pursuit largely enjoyed by children and adults who act like children to a mainstay of global entertainment."

Tech Talk: Video Games Promote Social Change
by Adam Balkin,News 14 Carolina 8/8/06
"Death Penalty for Fun.” "Darfur Is Dying." These are not the names of scathing, investigative reports on hotly debated global issues. They’re actually video games..."

Monday, August 14, 2006

E3 at its End?

07/30/06 by Colin Campbell, Next Generation
"E3, in its present form, is dead."

Design your own games

08/14/06 by Mike Snider, USA Today
"Microsoft wants to do for video games what YouTube has done for video: open it up for do-it-yourselfers.. ."

Playing with Pyramids

Looney Labs is a game company that makes some fun, fast-paced, light hearted games. One of my favorites is Fluxx, but at Gen-Con this year I finally sat down to play one of their Icehouse games. These games use plastic pyramids of three varying shapes. Treehouse was the first one I played where players take turns moving a stack of three pyramids (starts stacked small on medium, on a large) to match a designated pattern in the middle (large on its side facing out, small in the middle upright, and medium on its side facing out) Players take turns rolling a die that tells them how to move the pieces. This was a fun game in itself, but these pyramid pieces can be used for more than just Treehouse. Over the years the mind behind Looney Labs, Andy Looney, has opened the game to fans who have created their own games. Now there are hundreds of games you can play with these pieces, some of which have been highlighted in a book sold by Looney Labs.

This game is accessible to all ages. I would recommend libraries who are looking for something to interest patrons purchasing either one set of Treehouse or five. (with five you can play almost any icehouse game) This would make a great table top program, and allow patrons to also create their own games and submit them to looney labs.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gen-Con Report

Gen-Con is a large convention about the size of ALA for table top gamers. Four years ago this convention came to my home town and I went for one day. The next year I started hosting board games, and this year I attended with a GM badge.

Like ALA there is an exhibit hall, and session. At this conference the sessions consist of games which you pay to play ($1.50 for 2 hours or less). The exhibit hall is open from 10am to 6pm so I scheduled my events for times when the hall wasn't open.

Some of the biggest companies had new games to show, and the independent developers had many fun and original board and card games. As I demoed games I found some I loved and some that would work well in a library. The following is a list of the new games with difficulty rating:

Xig 1 A puzzle game where you play pieces to form a connected line from a fixed start and end point.

Hex Hex 2 A player throws in a Hex(bomb) and players must use cards to move it away from them or it goes off

County Zzzzz 1.5 Use specialized cards to create good dreams.

You've been Sentenced 1.5 Using 10 word cards with five different word tenses create a sentence that makes sense.

Infinity 2 Think Rummy with special cards that skip turns, and add bonuses.

Deadman's Treasure 1.5 Collect the most gold from islands. Players bid for the island while a Pirate and a ghost rotate around islands to add bonuses

Mimic 2 In a Grid of 7 x 7 you play cards to create matching pairs to earn points.

Mix Up 1.5 Like Connect four but you use tiles that vary by three shapes and colors. One player has to connect four shapes while the other connects colors.

Slap Wacky 1 Players play simultaneously to complete shapes. When a shape is complete a player slaps it and takes it off the board to earn points.

You're Pulling my Leg 1.5 A game of truth or dare without dare. A player draws a card with a noun on it rolls a die in a cup. If the die says T then the player tells a true story related to the noun. If F a player tells a fib. The other players must then vote on whether they think the player is lying or telling the truth

Jabber Jot 2 Tell a story using three pictures and three words determined drawn from the "judge"

Ingenious 2.5 Place tiles on a board in line with the same shape and color. You earn points based on the number of shapes in the row you placed the tile, and the object is to out of all the players be advanced the most in the color you the player have the least in. (so if I had blue 5, yellow 4, green 6, and orange 7 My opponent's smallest number would need to be more than four.)

Fruits Basket 3 This game takes images from the Fruits Basket Anime and translates it into a Card Game. Each of Tokru's friends represent the zodiac and are placed in order in a circle. Tokru moves around trying to make friends. In your hand you draw memories and events that help you make friendship. This game is really nice because the cards that represent friendship are actually a deck of normal playing cards with images from the show.

I'll write up more information with links to order and companies later after I rest

To help you understand the previous ratings here is a list of classic games with difficulty rating:

Dominoes 1
Rummy 2
Monopoly 3
Munckin 3
Settlers of Cataan 3
Fluxx 1
Icehouse 1
Apples to Apples 1.5
Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot 3.5
Carcassonne 2.5
Water Works 1
Scrabble 2.5
Empire Builder 4
Bohonza 2.5
San Juan 3

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Video Game News, Week of August 7, 2006

The Escapist Issue #57: In Too Deep

Viewpoint: Online Courses as Video Games
By Dr. Rodney P. Riegle, Campus Technology 8/12/06
"The competition for online students is bound to become more and more intense... Courses designed like video games are one way to win this competition by appealing to the target demographic in a way that they embrace."

Educational computer games could soon make a comeback
Developers Must Compete with Snazzy Video Games
AP 8/8/06
"...ambitious new products are in the pipeline, aiming to better reach a highly connected, multitasking, gadget-laden, mobile-oriented, Internet-reliant set of youngsters."

In Defense of Video Games
By Dave Thomas, The Grand Rapids Press 8/7/06
"We might not know what video games are doing to us. But they don't seem to make us violent. Crazy, multitasking, fantasy-addicted, Pavlovian button-mashers, maybe. Just not violent."

Tips on Choosing Video Games for Varied Ages

North American Precis Syndicate, Inc. 8/10/06
"The Entertainment Software Rating Board, which assigns video game content ratings, offers the following tips for parents to help them choose the games they consider appropriate for their families and be prepared for the realities of playing games online."

Friday, August 11, 2006

National Games Week

What better way to show your support for gaming than offering a program during National Games Week. Sponsored by Games Quarterly this event is for all games not simply electronic.

Save your calendars for November 19-25, 2006

I can't wait to hear about your exciting programs.

*For support and ideas feel free to participate in ALA Communities with the YALSA Interest Group or the Libgaming Google Group

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gaming The Way to Literacy

Reaching a new generation of library users? Gaming is used as a lure in this library in South Carolina. While it might bring, more teen gamers into the library, what message are we sending when we require them to have a library card and check out books to use the gaming equipment? Literacy is inherent in gaming. Is this really necessary? These are my comments and not necessarily representative of anyone else's.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Teens and Tech Give and Gain Respect

McCracken County Public Library built a gaming center for teens. How AWE-HAWE-SOME is THAT?!

And you can see pictures on their Flickr photostream. How very 2.0!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Video Game News Week of July 30, 2006

Advice to Parents: Know your video games
AP 8/5/06
"Craig Anderson, an Iowa State University psychologist, says parents need to do more than consider a game's age-based rating before putting it into the hands of children. They actually need to play the game, he says, or watch as it's demonstrated."

Are Violent Video Games Really a Problem?
by Candace Lombardi, CNET News 8/2/06
"Mature video games are not a problem for today's youth, but that doesn't stop them from being an attractive topic for politicians, according to panelists and audience members at Siggraph 2006 on Wednesday."

Video Games Gain in Reality. But Fantasy Counts
by Jake Halpern, NPR All Things Considered 8/3/06
"Recently, a new computer chip called the PhysX was unveiled. It's for video games, and it was designed to make them feel more realistic because it helps the objects you see on the screen follow the laws of real-world physics."

Video games used to help Buffs study the game
by Jeffrey Wolf, 9News/ABC 8/3/06
" The Colorado Buffaloes have been using a new tool to help them improve their play offensively on the field before fall camp starts next week -- video games."

PRESS RELEASE: Linden Lab Introduces Expressive Puppeteering to Second Life; Realtime, Spontaneous Movement Brings Real-Life Expression to Second Life Avatars

Yahoo! Biz 8/1/06

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gaming and DOPA

By now, most are familiar with DOPA, the act that is designed to limit the access of commerical sites that let users create web pages and profiles which includes discussion boards, chat, and e-mail service from these sites. Many of these sites are used to promote gaming not only by those that sell the products but by the fans themselves to share their passion and make new friends not to mention in game chat offered by XBox 360 as well as many other games. Offer these programs at your library to educate and inform the public on the safety and benefits of social networking. Contact your senators too. This is too important to ignore.

Soul Calibur II championship

Today is the Soul Calibur II Championship game for The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Eight libraries in the system (out of 24) participated during this summer long tournament. Parents of the qualifying teens and the teens themselves will breathlessly wait to see who is crowned champion. The prize? A gift certificate to local gaming store and a bling controller necklace. Pictures forthcoming. By the way, check out the teen made commercial on the web site as well as You Tube. We're pumped. Send in your stories of gaming tournaments done at your library this summer!

Get Your Game On

Who better to write this article in VOYA than expert gaming/librarian Beth Gallaway? Really, it's awesome, and absolutely wonderful that VOYA has a dedicated column on gaming to appear in the April, August, and December issues.