Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gaming At Work

You bet your britches buddy, and I won. Granted, it was on a game I never played before (Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, I think), on a console I've never played before (X-box) against an opponant I've never played before (A.F.).

And won. *does the happy dance* I don't know if AF knew...but I LOVE playing racing games. Rumor has it he's a WOW fan.

It was all about warming up to the Information Services group at the library about and upcoming gaming program that's a pilot for a much bigger project coming around spring break time. Some staff have reservations about kids coming in and playing video games at the library, other praise it for getting more of the intended target audience (middle/high school students) to come into the library.

If you can't tell, I'm in the latter category. I used to run 40+ member LAN parties, I know it's an uphill battle to get buy in, but isn't anything new?

I can see several spinnoffs, depending on how far the library wants to take it. Need for Speed is a racing game, so not only will kids see who can wheel the car the best, but it's a great opportunity too....
  • Promote the library's services, but not by a reference person or a circulation clerk; choose someone who the crowd can relate to and can talk in their language...you mention online databases, the number of books in your collection, loan periods, internet access, you'll loose them. Spin it more like "come get all the movies and CDs you'd ever want free. Wanna read some anime or other graphic novels? We got em. Got current even papers due each week? Let us show you how to get ALL of your articles you'll ever need in under 10 minutes. No cash to print? No biggie. You can email the articles to yourself and have mom and dad supply the paper and ink (hey, it's homework!) or print it at school."
  • It's a racing game, so bring in some local mechanics to talk about what they do. Some kids might find it boring, till they figure out these guys charge 74 bucks and hour, and usually have a 1.5 hour minimum for anything above an oil change or tire rotation. Make sure the mechanics mention what they use to get the grease and lube off their hands too, kids don't like to get dirty these days, but if they find out how much they can make, how much computers can diagnose problems, and how quick they can clean up, you might have a couple automotive engineers.
  • The cars in the game are customized hot rods or import models. Why not have a speed shop come in and talk about what they do to customize cars and some of the latest and greatest things going into cars these days (personally, they need to add some sort of radar/heads up display). Have them talk small scale to boost performance (exhaust, filters, oil changes, etc), to the big and fancy turbo chargers and nitros kits. Please, don't mention "performance sounding exhaust" aka "weed whacker exhaust." :)
  • Lastly, it's a video game, and TV is smattering full of colleges that are opening up degrees in gaming. "Video games" doesn't sound like much of a degree, until you beging adding in terms like Graphic Design, 3D Imaging and Manipulation, Texture Rendering and Particle Effects, Computer Resource Management, Computer Programming, Digital Effects, Historical Research (Gran Turismo 4 for the PS2 is as much a racing game as it is an encylopedia of automobiles throughout history. I can race a Model T if I want too!).
  • It's racing...bring in some local race car drivers who race at local race tracks...I'll lay you odds they'll even bring the car to the library for a little show and tell (not burnouts...trust me, with tires 300 bucks a piece, you'll be lucky if they even turn the car on!). The crowd can learn first hand what it's like to really race cars on the weekend, find out the costs involved, the testing requirements, and learn about what all the technical mumbo jumbo car setup means (stagger, shock/spring ratio, wedge adjustments, spoilers, sway bar, etc.).
  • If anything, the kids are in a safe environment, having fun, off the streets, and they're out being social with friends
This got me thinking though...is it possible to have a wireless server host games? That way, people of all ages who want to bring in their computers to the library, put them in a room with a chair, table, their computer monitor, keyboard/mouse, and headphones (NEVER any speakers at a LAN party, it's a cardinal sin...unless you're displaying a tournament game), let the library create the servers that everyone can access to play a game, and let them have a ball.

*taps his fingertips together like Mr. Burns* yes.......Yes.....

3 comments:

scott said...

nice spin on library services, doctor. you might forward that to the high-and-mightys over there.

Degolar said...

Yes. I was about to say you should share this in email with the YS staff. I bet few have looked at it in these terms.

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