What is “Gaming?”

Recently, I had the great luck of going to a workshop through my job for “Family Gaming and Programming”. I attended with the idea that it was going to be based on video gaming; after all, a few years back I had attended a similarly titled program which had us try out various types of video games so that we could show our local gamers. I was the “ringer” of the group and had a lot of fun demo-ing.

We actually discussed different types of programming; various crafts and outdoor street type games like hopscotch.

It lead me to consider the different type of gaming that I both enjoy, and use for various age groups here at the library. I have had to explain to many parents that 1)there are more than just video games for kids and teens to use, 2) they are not evil and in fact encourage people to collaborate and challenge each other in a healthy way (I have to use the same rationale regarding comic books and graphic novels for the encouragement of reading), and 3) that there are games and gaming programs for all ages.

Most parents are surprised to find out that we do have a Nintendo DS Game Time during the summer for ages 5 and up.  This is always popular, and the kids have fun either playing wirelessly or just sitting together playing different games and just hanging out. We have also purchased at least one extra DS and several copies of Mario Kart DS for those who want to attend, but don’t own a DS. I have also tried to encourage them to bring any mobile device (iPods, iPads, etc) so they can hang out too.

This same demographic has the opportunity to attend our LEGO building programs. This can be considered in a way another format of gaming; they are using their imaginations to create different objects and scenarios. We also have many board games that they can just pick up and use, or take home with them to borrow.

Another program that we have had here a couple years in a row that was incredibly successful was the Wayfinders LARPing group. We ran the program for two sessions the last time we did it; week 1 was used to make the foam swords used, and week 2 the actual group came and played a game with us. I think that this helped get teens to think outside the box; most though of role playing either in the video game format, or as card table top games like D&D. I wish that we still had a D&D campaign here, but due to time constraints and teens either aging out or moving away, the program ended. I have begun one myself in my home for the last few months; but real life responsibilities have gotten in the way of that recently. We hope to pick it up again in a couple of weeks.

Regarding table top card games, the ones that I have heard discussed in the library world most often is Magic the Gathering and Pokemon. Magic is an established favorite that has steadily remained in the genre’s collective mind, while Pokemon has ebbed and flowed with the releases of movies and video games. This seems to be the trend around here, at any rate. We have also held Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments here in the past; I would have to say maybe a good ten years ago. I wish that it had taken off more; we had a local teen who was an official judge. Although I was happy for him that he went off to college, part of me was sad that a program had to stop as we had no one else to step up.  This also happened to a chess club that we had back in the day; it was immensely popular, but the family who ran it moved away, and interest died down.  We do occasionally get phone calls asking if we had a program, but had to refer them to other locations where they may be currently held. I would like to see a Go! card game start up as it is based off the manga Hikaru No Go, but we don’t have any interest in the manga at all.

I am currently researching what video games to purchase for the library in the upcoming order. I am trying to be equal about what consoles to purchase for, although the XBox 360 still seems to be the most widely circulated. The Wii does get a fair amount of use, and as we have a Wii along with the 360 console for use here for program use, I do try to purchase games that we can use for multiplayer. I do try to look into the system wide catalog to see about purchasing for PS3. Even across a whole system of 66 libraries, the PS3 does not get much use. However, I do want to maintain a current selection, so I often scan a Game Informer for reviews, or see what is popular for other consoles and purchase the PS3 version of it. I do not anticipate purchasing for the next gen consoles anytime soon, if at all.




~ by JadeRaven on May 6, 2014.

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