Posts tagged video games

Is our children learning???

I had the opportunity to hear Eli Neiburger (author of Gamers… in the Library?) speak at a local library cooperative event yesterday, and he really struck a chord with me. Eli, of course, talks about video games in the library and how they can be used most effectively (which, if you read my archives, you will find is a secondary passion of mine right after anime/manga). The man is full of useful information and really knows how to effectively operate a consistently successful gaming program- I’m hoping that our headquarters branch was listening carefully!

In any case, there were so many similarities between arguements against games and those against manga and anime. Specifically, Eli mentioned the ever nagging library curmudgeon asking, “And what are they learning from that?” Eli’s too, too perfect answer was, “That you give a shit about them.” This is something I have wanted to say far too many times in the last 18 months! I have some wonderful coworkers who work diligently at their jobs who just feel the need to interject when I’m planning an anime marathon and ask what the value is, or feel the need to point out that they don’t “support gaming for the sake of gaming” when I’m running an open gaming day. I typically default to the old non-confrontational standby of, “Well, things are different when you work with teenagers” but I don’t know that I’m doing a good thing by saying that; perhaps I need to be more abrasive about proving the value of anime, manga, and video games- the value of getting the kids in the door.

I think these things bother me more since I am an anime/manga/video game geek; I know for a fact that my friends and I were among the smartest in our grade and that our “lazy” hobbies did not affect our intelligence (Eli makes wonderful arguments about learning capicity and games- for instance the fact that so many 8 year olds can remember all the attributes of over 500 pokemon). But maybe even more so, it bothers me that they don’t see the value in success; yes, it’s awesome that you can fill 3 storytimes a week with 30 kids and be 100% educational. However, you are only getting those kids in because of their parents. And given the fact that a good 3/4 of them stop coming after the age of 7, you’re obviously not doing too much to hook the kids themselves. As a YA librarian, I catch them at the age of 11. They’ve already had a couple of years to think of the library as a boring place with stinky books (Eli aptly points out that we’ve earned that reputation and I wholeheartedly agree). A certain number of them come in to use the computer and spend the day on Myspace when mommy and daddy won’t let them stay on, but they’re at an age where recreational reading does not have broad appeal. However, almost all of them play video games at least sometimes- this means you have an opportunity to pull in any teen that walks into the door. And once you get them to realize that fun things go on at the library, they’ll come back to see what else is happening.

I think with anime and manga, this is two-fold. Nowhere near as many kids are into the otaku scene, but the ones who are also fit the archetype for the teen most likely to come to the library giving you a broad pool to draw from with minimal effort. And when they do come in, they take out stacks of books- manga and otherwise (any public librarian will tell you that their career is judged by two numbers- event attendance and circ stats). There is no question that there is little to no educational value in my monthly anime club. We cosplay, we play Japanese video games, and we do suikawari. I’d say we were exploring Japanese culture if they didn’t teach me more than I teach them. But I fill anime club every single month and I see those kids all month long because they know that I give a shit about them.


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More Ace Attorney manga= 1 happy librarian

When I say I am an otaku, I mean that it all of it’s seedy, sweaty nerd forms (I kid, I kid). I’m a huge video game fan, and in particular I do my otaku best by absolutely loving many different Japanese game series. One of my all-time favorites is the Ace Attorney series, the latest addition of which just came out in Japan (Edgeworth based game, can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait!). For those out of the know——- man you are missing something great——- this is a series of point and click legal adventure games (though it’s a lot more like CSI in game form- you’re doing the investigating and the trials and the characters are incredibly indearing… you have to try it).

Last year, the first Ace Attorney casebook manga was released in NA (and I was lucky enough to score a copy at the New York Anime Festival). The volume was very true to the heart of the video game series, with all the characters we love and the humor we came to expect from any Ace Attorney installment. Well, the good news is that along with the release of the new game comes a weekly manga insallment! Shuukan Young Magazine will be publishing it starting in April, which (hopefully) means we’ll be seeing it stateside (though there is no official release date for the game in NA as of yet).

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GRR! Investigation for gaming in libraries? Srsly?

Man, if this is the case, I’d better get packing.

Librarians buy Rock Band and video themselves using it for YouTube. You’re seriously going to tell me that this warrants an investigation for wasting tax payer money??? These people have 1) obviously never been in a library and 2) obviously have never looked at what libraries in other states are doing. A huge portion of my job involves programming for teenagers. Gaming, when you look at the lifespan of the equipment versus the number of uses, is one of the most cost effective solutions to get people (especially tweens and teens) into the library and keep them entertained.

A full Rock Band set costs about $100, throw an extra guitar in there you’re getting up to $130-150. Okay, lets go full tilt and say you needed the game system to go with it- the game is out on all systems so go with the cheapest model of Xbox (okay, I don’t advocate for anyone to buy the Arcade instead of the slightly better model, but that is a discussion for another day) or the Wii (then you get WiiSports but have to get another remote for the other guitar). Lets say you’re even pushing $350 dollars now, oh no! Oh wait, I’m going to use this system again and again for gaming programs, staff development (we always have bonding sessions off the clock), non-gaming specific programs (anime club, teen advisory board, summer reading party) for years. I’m going to take care of the equipment so the likelihood of it breaking is low. My kids are going to bring in their own games for us to use on game day, like they always do. Say that we even only use this equipment 7 times a year (the number of game days I held last year) for 5 years. 35 events. That’s about 10 dollars an event. How many events can I host that cheap- and no less bring the kids to the library in droves?

Idiots- this investigation is going to run them way more than $350.

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