Posts tagged Retro Gamer
Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to the realization that I’m first and foremost a retro gamer. When it comes to the latest and greatest games out there, I haven’t played about 99% of them. I rely on video gaming blogs and magazines to keep me up to date when it comes to the present. For most of the time, however, I live in the past. And that’s not a bad thing. I grew up with these games. That’s the big reason why they are still a huge part of my life. With my video gaming history firmly in place mixed with the librarian thinking part of my brain comes a barrage of ideas on how libraries can use retro gaming to attract and educate patrons.
Retro gaming programming at your library is a great way to let the public know that video games have a HISTORY. 8BitLibrary and Piscataway Public Library teamed up and had a Retro Gaming Event in 2010 (Click here or here for pics). These programs are designed to turn your library into a makeshift museum of video game history. What does this history do? Like classic books, it will show your community that gaming has a rich background. Games like Minecraft which encourage players to build and create their own world have their roots in games like Sim City. Librarians can find and show these connections to their community. These connections in video game history will create a rich tapestry of games which we can then use to educate our patrons about the rich possibilities gaming has to offer.
Yesterday’s release of Nintendo’s new handheld 3D gaming system the Nintendo 3DS gives libraries who have the system a chance to offer up the device for testing within the library. It’s a simple idea…set up some systems for your patrons to play and teach them about the technology. So where does retro gaming come into the picture? Nintendo’s tried 3D gaming before with the Virtual Boy. It didn’t really work out that well and the Virtual Boy died off rather quickly less than 1 year after it was released. Most people haven’t ever heard of the system and look at you in disbelief when you tell them about it (“why in the hell would they have released that?” is my favorite question I get when I tell them about the specifics of the Virtual Boy.) Giving patrons a chance to play the Virtual Boy at the library will create a unique experience which they’ll most likely not get anywhere else. It will also open up a lot of discussion on 3D gaming and how this new technology will impact our culture.
Which brings me to my final point…can anyone give me a good reason why we shouldn’t lend out retro games and systems to our patrons? I’ve talked about this topic once before and the more and more I think about it this option seems like a no brainer. As libraries are squished out from viable eBook lending options and all that other stuff, what does the mission of the library become? I’m an advocate of giving our patrons experiences over just giving them stuff. Lending out retro games and systems like the Sega Saturn above gives our community a chance to experience something that they may not have a chance to experience elsewhere. My recent ongoing affair with X-Men: Children of the Atom for the Sega Saturn was only made possible by the fact that my mother and myself are pack rats who saved every single piece of video gaming history I collected. While I do enjoy the time I spend playing this game at home by myself (my wife won’t play with me) it would be a lot cooler if I could share this experience with others.