File this under #makeithappen.
We did it, yo.
As you know, 8bitlibrary.com (along with Robin Brenner of noflyingnotights.com) headed up a campaign to create an ALA Comic Book & Graphic Novel Member Initiative Group which would serve to unite all of the different “factions” within the Graphic-Novels-in-Libraries world.
Thanks to all of your help and support in getting the word out, we got all the signatures we needed and on Sunday January 9th 2011, the ALA’s Committee on Organization voted to make this group “official” in the ALA! John Chrastka of the ALA said I could announce the creation as “effective March 15th, 2011” so him, Robin & I, along with our ALA staff liaison Tina Coleman, could work out the deets.
I’ll add everyone who signed already into a list of people who want info on the group. If you didn’t sign but wanna be part of the group, just click here and send me an email using that form letting me know you want to be part of the group! Our first official meeting will be at ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans, so please come out to that (as if you needed another reason to come to NOLA).
SO, what’s next for 8bitlibrary.com‘s #makeithappen initiative? At the ALA Mid-Winter meeting of the Games & Gaming MIG (which was attended by Brandon & I of team 8bit as well as a few members of the Emerging Leaders group on Video Games me & Justin are mentoring), we pretty much decided we’re going to move forward and turn the MIG into The ALA Games & Gaming Round Table. We’ll obviously keep you in the loop.
And one last thing: I’m running for ALA Council. You know I’m all about “make it happen” so I’d love if you gave me & my running mates a “thumbs up”:
…with your awesome assistance…
We in the library <yawn> conference land can gain to learn from the unique panel proposal process at play over at SXSW, sure it takes some coordination and work, but man – does it ever get the community involved, and get people riled up for the conference MONTHS in advance.
Case in point: “They stopped coming?”: Librarians Don’t Cry They Re-View panel proposal
We don’t need to replay all the library X.0 cliches, but we can roughly agree that there are plenty of amazing and radical things about libraries that the public/industry/internet has forgotten about – or at least has slid out of the radar. So here’s an example of taking action in a variety of ways, including cross-pollinating info-related conferences/festivals on the kick-ass-librarian’s agenda. And being good information inseminators, we can bring back the good components to put into play within our own field.
So, go on, take a look at the proposal above – give it a vote if you like it, and toss in a comment about what you’d hope to see, and how you’d like to get involved (they don’t call it INTERACTIVE for nothing). While you’re there, poke around and see what other panel proposals strike your fancy….then we can start ruminating about getting a similar process going within libraryland conferences too – hmmm?
Sooooooo we did get a bit sassy with the write up. If you need some help deciphering, this may help: dating acronyms
Another resource for us gamin’ librarians: Joystiq
- Gaming news, Reviews of games
Walkthroughs to play games
From Joystiq’s About page: But don’t think that lighthearted jabs and an irreverent tone signals the end of serious business: Joystiq strives to maintain accuracy, to dig deeper, to do away with meaningless PR prattle, to gracefully decline luxury popcorn machines (like in the movie theater!), and to ask the awkward questions, all for you.
The Joystiq Network also includes:
Big Download: A fast and free downloads engine coupled with PC gaming news
Massively: Your best source for all the latest news on what’s happening in MMOs
WoW.com: Extensive coverage of the most popular online role-playing game ever, World of Warcraft
I got really excited when I got an email with an 8bitlibrary.com Retro Gaming Day press release in it! Big shouts to our own MaMcGinley & RedheadFangirl for setting this all up. Hope to see some of our readers at the event:
Saturday, September 11, 12 – 4 PM
The 8bitlibrary.com Retro Gaming Day
The first ever Retro Game Day will be conveniently located in central NJ at Piscataway Public Library! Cool panel speakers on retro games, and open play on old school platforms like SNES, Gameboy, Xbox! From Pac-Man to Mario to World of Warcraft, learn and play with the 8bitlibrary.com bloggers and librarians. See you there!
Piscataway Public Library
500 Hoes Ln, Piscataway, NJ
On September 11th, 2010, the East Coast’s contingent of the 8bitlibrary.com Crew will be hosting our first ever Retro Gaming Festival at the Kennedy Branch of the Piscataway NJ Public Library.
While we are still in the planning stages, we will sure to be having nostalgic game demos from some of our favorite video game consoles of all time, high-score competitions, discussions (including 8bitlibrary‘s own RedheadFangirl speaking on being a girl gamer from the 80s-today), D&D and Magic the Gathering Tournies, and “modern classics” like Guitar Hero 1.
What would you like to see at an event like that? Have you run a similar event and would like to share your favorite stories? Are you interested in making the trek out to Central Jersey and attending the event? Leave a comment in the box!
(and for out-of-towners serious about coming to the event, let’s work together on travel & housing arragements to hopefully make it possible for you)
So there’s been some press recently on the concept of video games as a form of “art”.
This debate was inspired by recent comments made by film critic Roger Ebert, who claims that not only are video games not art, but that by their very nature they cannot be art. Ebert cites a TED talk given by the lovely lovely Kellee Santiago, who inverts the film critic’s argument by saying that not only will video games one day become art, but that they already are … art.
At the heels of this online debate, comes the news that the US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case this Fall involving the First Amendment protections of violent video games.
This is not the first time that video games have come under scrutiny for issues relating to free speech. It seems like only yesterday that the ultra-violent video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas came under fire for a secret modification that incorporated a fully nude sex scene into the game. The double standard did not go unnoticed by the media. Here was a game that allowed your character to steal cars, murder cops, and beat prostitutes with a baseball bat. But one scene of completely consensual sex was enough to get the moral guardians in a tizzy. More recently, the game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 became the target of controversy for the inclusion of a mission that allows the player to commit an act of international terrorism on some unsuspecting Russian civilians. (warning, contains really disturbing imagery)
Whether or not video games should be considered “art” is only part of the question. The broader questions are: “Where do video games fall with regard to First Amendment protections?”, and: “Why does it seem that people automatically assume that the only people who play video games are 4 – 12 years old?”. Recent (and even not so recent) studies have already shown us that the average gamer is actually between the ages of 25 – 30, yet public opinion still seems to link “video games” with “kid stuff”. This is why violence in video games has become such a First Amendment issue. Not because they are more violent than your basic Tarantino flick, or that they are more sexually explicit than a Friday-late-night Cinemax movie, but because they’re games; and most people still parse “games” as: “child’s play”.
So where do libraries make the distinction? As self-proclaimed First Amendment warriors, we as librarians have an obligation to preserve the availability of certain materials that others may find objectionable. Yet if we’re hosting game nights for young teens, we might not necessarily want them to orchestrate a terrorist attack on Russian civilians in our children’s section. So how do we reconcile these issues? We can start by recognizing that the medium of video games does not necessarily define the audience; and that not everything with a health bar is family friendly kid stuff. Librarians will defend to the death our right to provide the public with Mapplethorpe, Salinger, and Anne Frank, but that doesn’t mean that we intershelve them with the Doctor Seuss books. ;)
Personally, I would defend video games, even violent ones, as an art form, but only under a very broad definition. Ordinarily, I think of art as something to be enjoyed passively, rather than interactively. In video games, the observer guides the action, and becomes an accomplice in the creation of the art. This does not make video games any less valid than the more discrete forms of art. A masterfully executed level of Tomb Raider can be every bit as beautiful as a perfect game of chess, a Baryshnikov fouetté jeté, a Salvador Dali painting, or a Hendrix solo. But I feel that the interactivity of video games places them into a different sphere of aesthetic appreciation. It is a hybrid of visual art and performance art that defines the participant as collaborator. For this reason, I feel that video games as art form deserve every protection that our Constitution provides. I eagerly wait the foundation of entire galleries devoted to the art of the video game.
Maybe we can get some eccentric billionaire to give us a grant. :)