8BitLibrarian Justin Hoenke


Survival Through Touching by Rick Prelinger


It’s not a video game related piece, but I got a heck of a lot of inspiration out of Survival Through Touching by Rick Prelinger.
His final paragraph really sums it up for me…

In short, what if we embraced hospitality and touch as attributes of modern cultural repositories? Can we actually let users touch unique materials? Can we enable participation not only in the exhibition rooms and galleries, but in the back rooms? We can say no, or we can try to engineer ways to make this possible. Hands-on access to cultural materials, plus the encouragement of tranformative appropriation turns institutions from hermetic repositories into workshops and places of production, a change that I think will be essential to institutional survival.

Let’s let the public into the back of our archives, museums and libraries, and see what happens.


It goes along well with this post I recently wrote over at Tame The Web.  Libraries as a place in the community where people can produce their own video games (amongst other things)?  Let’s make it happen.



Instruction Manuals


I am a fan of instruction manuals.  They’re usually the first thing I check out when I buy a new video game.  I have so many fond memories of going to my local mall and into Babbage’s to buy whatever NES and Sega Genesis tickled my fancy.  After the purchase, I’d hoof it over to the food court and scarf down some bad (actually, good) fast food while perusing the instruction manual.

But oh, times have changed.  The internet gives us all the information the instruction manual and more.  I’m finding out through lending out games that many times the instruction manuals just don’t come back.  What do libraries do after that?  Do we shell out money for a new copy of the booklet and make an already pricey item even pricier?

That’s where I turn to http://www.gamefaqs.com.  Basically, it’s like a library for video game FAQ’s, cheats, instructions, and more.  I simply find a decent FAQ for the game with the missing instruction booklet, and print a sticker with the link on it and place it in the circulating game.  If a patron needs the instruction manual, they could follow the link to the GameFAQs site to find their information.  Maybe when QR codes catch on in the world (have they?  They seem like a novelty to me) putting QR code links to the online Game FAQ’s will be the way to go.

Do you have any methods you use for replacing lost instruction booklets?  Do you think games should still come with instruction manuals?


Zukunftswerkstatt Gaming Roadshow


Recently, I had the opportunity to Skype with Christoph Deeg, Julia Bergmann, and many other amazing librarians in Cologne, Germany about gaming in libraries during the Zukunftswerkstatt Gaming Roadshow event on February 15 and 16.  For the idea behind Zukunftswerkstatt, I’ll pass the mic to Christoph….

The roadshow is a mobile-future-library. The idea behind is to bring future-technologies such as gaming, mobile internet,  and eBooks to the librarians.  In the first step the roadshow is about the world of video games.  Together with their patrons librarians can try out different games.  After this they are asked to discuss the chances and the risks using games and then the possible next steps to integrate games into their daily business. In germany most of the public libraries rent games.
But most of the libararians do not know much about games and the culture behind them. We believe that in the future games and the internet will be the plattforms where cultural and scientific content is imparted/mediated. That means people will learn, play, work and create with video games – and of course they will have a lot of fun. Because of this we believe that libraries should start to think about gaming and develop new services for this.

What really interested me about the Zukunftswerkstatt Gaming Roadshow was the community and discussion aspect.  It brings people together not only to experience the games in libraries but to also encourage discussion on how libraries and patrons can work together to bring gaming into libraries.  Instead of us (librarians) running the show, it gives the power to our patrons and lets their opinion dictate the way we handle video games in the library.  Remember, we are the PUBLIC library, and the Zukunftswerkstatt Gaming Roadshow is showing us just how important our public can be.

Click on me to read the full article at Mashable!

Guitar Hero: RIP


Click on me to read the full article at Mashable!

Good call on Activison’s part.  Guitar Hero sort of faded from the spotlight when Rock Band came out.  The nonstop barrage of Guitar Hero related titles (Band Hero anyone?) also flooded the market with less than awesome crap.  Instead of dragging it out for every penny they could squeeze out of it, Guitar Hero has died an honest death.

Much love to Guitar Hero for (IMHO) starting up the music game trend.  Just think about all the cool things it did for library video game programming.

The Beauty of Halo


Head on over to Just a Bald Man… to read his excellent post “THE BEAUTY OF HALO”

For those parents who believe that video games have no redeeming educational value, I simply ask you to sit down and watch your child for a while – not just once for a few minutes, but over a period of time. If we take the time to really pay attention – to put down our iPhones, step away from the TV, lay aside our book – and really watch them, we can see some amazing things. Some of those things are obvious. The can learn about history, art, music, adventure, and a wide array of other things that virtually all parent views as “beneficial learning.”

Save the Date: National Library Unconference Day ’11




  • Save the date: May 2nd, 2011, 1pm EST. More info to follow this month.


  • At your library for a staff development day. Or an unconference for a regional library cooperative. Maybe something hosted at a state library? Or hosted by your state or regional library association. A great place to hold an uncon for National Library Unconference Day ’11 is at an LIS school. It’s totally up to you!



We’ll be streaming a free keynote session to all participating librarians, libraries and library organizations. Our confirmed speakers so far include:


  • Soon enough, we’ll have a link up for you to sign up your unconference to receive the FREE keynote lightning talks webinar. For now, mark your calendars, organize your group, and get ready to change the world. Once you sign up, we’re imaging you’d use a computer + a projector to screen the keynote to your local participants, then you’d get to your individual unconference. We’ll have a constant digital conversation on Twitter via hashtag #libuncon. And we’re hoping people share what they learned and accomplished via blog posts and youtube videos!

MARK THOSE CALENDARS NOW, and #makeithappen! signed, JP & the 8bitlibrary.com team.

Most downloaded iPhone app Bubble Ball created at a public library


From John Kirriemuir over at his most excellent blog Use Libraries and Learn Stuff:

Where do you go to find help and information that enables you to make a game which is downloaded over two million times in two weeks, gets rave reviews and becomes more popular than Angry Birds?

When you are 14 years old.

The public library, of course. In this particular case, Spanish Fork Public Library in Utah.

Things I’m reading (January 13 2011)


Who Wins?  Playing Games With Kids takes a look at playing games and parenting.  What really blew my mind was the whole cooperative game play theme the entire post presents to the reader.  Gaming isn’t about winning…it’s about the experience, something that we here at 8BitLibrary have been saying for quite some time.

Download Free Kaplan Educational Textbooks for eReaders: As a teen librarian, how could I not be excited about this?  Sure, the teen has to have something to read eBooks on (which, from my experience, most do not) but in any case, this offer could help out some people in need.  Lasts through January 17, 2011.

Moss Rug: The living bathroom mat goes on sale File this under neato.  Basically, it’s a rug for your bathroom created out of moss.  The humidity from the air and the water drops from your shower/bathtub water the rug, and in turn, you get this really cool, organic feeling when you step out of the shower.

Buy India a Library


From the minds of Jan Holmquist (representing Denmark), Andromeda Yelton (representing the USA), and Ned Potter (representing the UK)…

Click here to go to the Buy India a Library blog!

…comes Buy India a Library, a project started by librarians to fund a library in India via Twitter.  Head on over to their blog for more information on the project and learn about how you can help them accomplish their awesome goal!

What an awesome project and a wonderful team.  I’ve been lucky to meet in person with Andromeda a few times and have many great discussions with Jan and Ned online.  Kudos to them for making it happen!


REVIEW: Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition


WHAT? To celebrate Mario’s 25th birthday, Nintendo has cobbled together this collection of Mario history.  The package includes a direct port of the Super Nintendo game Super Mario All Stars (which includes Super Mario Brothers 1-2-3 and the Lost Levels), a music CD of musical selections and sound FX from the Mario catalog, and a small book with Mario artwork and insight from the creators.

WHY? Libraries should be purchasing this game for the simple fact that it gives patrons who own the Nintendo Wii a chance to enjoy 4 wonderful games.  The only other way to get these games is to download them through the Wii shop channel.  The addition of a music CD and history booklet also adds to the appeal of this package and will give patrons a good example of the rich (and still greatly underappreciated IMHO) history of video games.

My biggest beef with this set is that IT COULD’VE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER.  Add Super Mario World into the mix as well as more cuts from Mario’s musical history and right there is a better package.  Oh well.  That’s just coming from a hardcore Mario fan like me.  Your patrons won’t notice the difference.

WHO? Anyone with a Wii and an interesting in discovering their video gaming roots should check this out.  It also might be a good purchase for educators looking to use Super Mario in the classroom (HINT HINT PLUG PLUG CLICK ME)

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