2010 has been a pretty erratic year for gaming. The mobile and downloadable market has shown that you don’t have to create an triple-A title to be great, or to capture the hearts and wallets of people who don’t even consider themselves gamers. Whoda thunk that with new Mario, StarCraft, and Call of Duty titles, so much of our game time would be spent on Angry Birds? Along with all that’s occurring in screen-based gaming, board games seem to be enjoying a renaissance. At MPOW’s National Gaming Day event, the number of people looking wanting to play non-video games was exponentially larger than those looking to jam out on Rock Band. In the wake of all this change, the one thing we must never lose sight of is the ability for a game to surprise, and the titles chosen by 8BitLibrary writers are no exception.
The following are selections for our fave-rave games of the year. These aren’t meant to be consensus picks, nor should this be mistaken for a definitive list. I just asked people to submit their choices, along with their justifications. Beg to differ? Have something else to add? You know what to do.
- Fallout: New Vegas (Erin Mischak)
- Just Dance (Laverne Mann)
- Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Justin Hoenke)
- Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX (Toby Greenwalt)
- Red Dead Redemption (Chris Murray)
- Rock Band 3 (JP Porcaro)
See the full reviews after the jump.
Just wanted to let our readers know that we have a twitter, @8bitlibrary!
Almost all of the content on our twitter is independent of the stuff you will get when you subscribe to our RSS or fan us on Facebook. While 8bitlibrary.com is all about gaming and new-media advocacy for schools & libraries, @8bitlibrary will keep librarians and educators updated on the latest breaking new stories from the video game community. We follow all the hot video game sources so you don’t have to.
So, be sure to subscribe/follow/fan, and thanks for your continued support! You all have made this little blog the hottest new edulib source around!
I LOVE following Boing Boing when it comes to gaming because they seem to find all the interesting games that happen to slip under the radar (Spelunky and Every Day The Same Dream come to mind). The excellent games on their lists focus on wonderful game play and problem solving, two elements that are KEY to gaming.
(via Boing Boing 01/292010)
Here’s some thoughts on the iPad from the 8bitlibrary.com team:
Erin aka LibraryMafia:
Always unsurprised to see Apple unveiling the next new “must-have” gadget — and will be interested to see yet again how this one makes everything similar on the market obsolete. How long before Amazon abandons the Kindle? Probably can clock it with an egg timer. Of course, no matter how much prices may come down over time, technology like this will always be out of the reach of so many — which is why libraries are so critical, whether we’re providing books printed on paper or on touch screens.
The library community is so terrific about embracing open information. Technology wise, this is why there are so many open-source advocates in the library world. I personally think the iPad as a concept is great. (Apologies to the Apple fanboys, but) I think that the iPad is the opposite of open-source, and I mean that in a negative way. The DRM-laden closed source business that Apple runs is an expensive monopoly on “cool gadgets”. They have the market on selling cool, but Apple is in no way ACTUALLY cool; they sell overpriced machines and libraries are having budget crises all over the USA.
What I think 8bitlibrary.com readers can take away from the iPad hype is how game-friendly it is; just another example of why libraries need to get on board the game-train. Steve Jobs spent a good amount of time talking about the gaming aspect of the iPad.
Bringing those two ideas together, I think Apple could really help libraries by donating machines in a Gates-grant style. Imagine the possibilities of the gaming community coming together at their library, over iPads…
Andy Woodworth aka @wawoodworth:
No multitasking (again!), no camera (front or back), no Flash (seriously? everyone uses flash) and for ebooks, it’s still a computer screen for reading (no E-Ink!). It’s the same size as a Kindle DX with better offering and unlocked so you can buy any data plan, so it has that going for it. It gets my vote for “OOOO SHINY”, but not my money for what I want out of that kind of device. It’s a touchscreen netbook without some of the good features of a netbook.
Final call: It’s looks like Andre the Giant’s iPhone.(JP’s note: this was the second Andre the Giant reference in this blog in the last month. 80′s nostalgia FTW)
I’m viewing the iPad as a “netbook/e-reader/e-newspaper/game system”. Basically, they’re rolling everything minus the phone all together and selling it to us…and I couldn’t be happier. I see it as the ultimate in portable devices. It is small enough to carry around (great for reference on the go) and large enough that it really can be useful (goodbye squinting at small phone screens).
These few features really stand out to me:
- Keyboard dock available
- Access to iTunes Store apps
As far as gaming goes, you already have access to all the wonderful games in the iTunes store PLUS everything else the iPad offers. Nintendo and Sony. This is a call out to you. Your next generation systems should not just be all about gaming.
The netbook/e-reader/handheld gaming wars just got a bit more interesting.
Laverne Mann aka RedheadFangirl:
It was rumored to be at least a $700 starting price, so at $499 for a 16G, that’s more within the range of tech adopters. As a one month iTouch owner, I can see how valuable and easy I’ve incorporated it into my life. It bleeds into my professional librarian life with apps for chess (run a chess club), spanish (to work with patrons), and of course Twitter, FB, mail for prof correspondence. Erin, you are so right, those Xmas kindles are already out of date. The iBooks app is going to drive a lot of users to the ePub format of books.
I want one!
What are your thoughts?
While the M2 Study has been burning up the tweets among librarians (and how much time youths are spending on phones and TV entertainment), very little focus has been placed on the gaming aspect of the study.
You can draw the conclusions you want from the study, but here are some gaming figures:
- 50% of Generation M2 has a video game console in their room. 87% own a console somewhere in the house.
- Generation M2 owns an average of 2.3 video game consoles (that means many studied owned a Wii, PS3, AND Xbox 360).
- 5% of media time was dedicated to console gaming (and with more time broken down gaming on the computer or phone, a total of about 11% of media consumption is from gaming).
- The numbers are deceiving, because they are averages. There are more youths gaming now than 10 years ago, and they are spending more time doing it. A large reason for the increase in gaming is phones and handhelds (think Nintendo DS and PSP). For those who game on a console, they spend 90 minutes a day.
- Males spend about 4X the amount of time console gaming than females, but males and females are about even when it comes to gaming across any platform. As a point of comparison, though, males are larger media consumers than females.
- Hispanic and African Americans spend more time gaming than White youth.
- The youngest demographics in the study are gaming the most, probably due to the increase in sophistication of games.
- Youths are texting & listening to music while console gaming.
- Most of the games 8bitlibrary.com suggests for collection development are the games the youths spend the most time playing!
Here’s the link to the Kaiser Report: Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds
This highly inspiring article comes to us from Liz Danforth at Library Journal. Great stuff here. I’m feeling particulary inspired by number five on her list “WE DON’T BROADEN THE EXPERIENCE”
One simple thing that I’ve found that really works is to provide users at a gaming program with a collection of strategy guides. When they’re not playing, they’ll be reading and analyzing strategies for a game. Make sure you advertise your gaming strategy guides collection well and the users will flock to it. This pulls them into the library and will introduce them to an even bigger world of things for them to discover…
JP’s $500 Gaming Start Up
This is probably the question I get asked the most: “I want to have gaming in my library, but I have a limited budget and don’t know where to start”.
Well, here’s my answer regarding how to spend your $$$:
Wii console, $200
Wii Play (+”free” remote), $50
Wii Sports Resort (+”free” Wii Motion Plus attachment), $50
Mario Kart Wii, $50
2 extra Wii remotes, $80
3 extra Wii Motion Plus attachments, $60
8 pack of rechargeable AA batteries, $10
You will be equiped with four 4-player capable games, Wii Sports, Wii Play, Wii Sports Resort, and Mario Kart Wii, as well as have rechargable batteries, cases, and a console. You probably can’t get more bang for your buck as far as basic library programming goes.
Once you’ve got your program going and you are looking to expand your game library, check out JP & Justin’s Top 5 Games Every Library Should Own.