Our guest post today comes from Devin Burritt, Associate Director at the Jackson Memorial Library in Tenants Harbor, ME. I’ve had the chance to sit down with Devin a few times and talk about games and libraries and I come away from every conversation feeling so inspired. -Justin
Question: why do we ask people “What was the first book you read?” when instead it should be “What was the first story you experienced?” For me, it was Final Fantasy III for the Super Nintendo.
Epiphany. I didn’t hesitate as I had before; I immediately knew it was Final Fantasy VII for the PSX. I played Final Fantasy VII with three of my best friends everyday in the summer between 8th and 9th grade in what can only be called a communal caffeine fueled storytime. The story was the most compelling, and confusing, one I had ever seen in my young life. When my PSX was out of the picture, I bought the PC version to play on my own. When my new copy of Windows XP wouldn’t play it in college, I found a hack that allowed for compatibility. Ever since that summer I played other turn based RPGs with pure abandon, 8-12 hours at a time until the work week starts or it is completed.
This made for an easy transition when I, later in life, discovered kid lit. For those of you unfamiliar with old school turn based rpgs, most of the stories were based on a hero with a humble background making an epic change in the world, –or an anti-hero–, while growing as a person themselves. What better crossover is there than children’s and teen literature, where the protagonist often has low expectations placed on them, is put in a difficult situation and expected to rise to the challenge changing themselves, the community, or the world?