GAMERT (Gaming) Round Table

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The mission of the Games and Gaming Round Table is to provide the following:
  • A forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns surrounding games in libraries;
  • Resources to the library community to support the building and maintaining of library game collections;
  • A force for initiating and supporting game programming in libraries;
  • Create an awareness of, and need for, the support of the value of gaming and play in libraries, schools, and related learning communities.
  • Create an awareness of the value of games and gaming in library outreach and community engagement plans.
  • A professional and social forum for networking among librarians and non-librarians interested in games and gaming.
  • 1.  Do Videogames Belong in the Library?

    Posted Feb 06, 2013 12:54 AM
    Okay, apparently at Midwinter, there were ALA members at RT discussions pushing the perspective that libraries shouldn't be purchasing videogames in the first place and citing violence. They went into the mechanics of a videogame teaching someone how to fire a gun. We know that videogames sharpen fine motor skills, but it's a stretch to say it teaches someone to fire a gun. Handbooks on firing a gun teaches someone to fire a gun too. We'd come to the defense of a textbook in a heartbeat, but how come we'd hesitate when it comes to videogames? I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir. We've all harnessed the power of videogames and believe in it's ability to teach, that's why we're here in this group. I want to understand why, in the face of budget cuts, videogames are the first to go for most library. Music cds can arguably do less, yet there's little to suggest that their budgets have been cut. I don't know the answer. Maybe we can start talking about it. Thanks.

  • 2.  RE: Do Videogames Belong in the Library?

    Posted Feb 06, 2013 11:04 AM

    I don't even know where to begin to respond to such a position. Video games are as much a learning and entertainment media as any other audiovisual materials such as television and film. It is also such a varied media that to say "videogames are violent" is equivolent to saying "films are violent". Are some violent, sure, but such a sweeping statement smacks of ignorance to that fact that videogames are containers for content. It is the content, and specific content at that, which is or is not an issue, and any argument should be framed as such. 

    Even most studies on so called "violent" videogames are inconclusive at best:

    A helpful reminder: Video Game Consumption is not correlated to gun violence - Boing Boing 1/18/13

    From Halo to Hot Sauce : What 25 Years of Violence Video Game Research Looks Like - Kotaku 1/17/13

    Again, its too sweeping a statement to make that does not consider additional factors that could contribute to "violence" such as other environmental stimulus (of which a thousand different factors could be considered as well as genetic predispositions ( a little more controversial, but nonetheless a possibility). 

    For that matter, when we throw the word "violence" around, what it is we are we really referring to?Are we referring to violent acts, violent tendencies, violent behaviors? If either of the latter, what is our measurement and definition of these and how do we measure the impact of "violent" videogames on those measures?

    For that matter, how exactly do we define a "violent" video game

    All Games Are (In a Sense) Violent - TechCrunch 12/22/12

    Also, what about the many videogames (web based, PC, console, mobile, etC) that are not violent? When we talk about videogames being violent and such sweeping statements, it is easy to sweep that many other genres of videogames available that are not "inherently" violent. Even the definition of violent for a videogame, I believe, is more subjective that many would lead on.

    As to the question of why videogames may be first on the chopping block, my suspicious, which is only that, lies in the fact that this medium is still one that is not considered in the same intellectual way as music and moving image collections. There are many articles written both pro and con about whether videogames (in this case, certain games such as Journey or Shadow of the Colossus) can be considered 'art'.

    MOMA enthusiastically endorses video games as art, why?

    Video Games : 14 in the Collection for Starters - MoMa blog 11/29/12

    Sorry MoMa, Video Games are not Art - The Guardian 12/30/12

    Video Games Can Never Be Art - Chicago Sun Times (Roger Ebert) 4/16/10

    The fact that this is still a "debatable" issue is indicative of why the medium is not taken as seriously by the library community and public at large even today. The focus still lies on the container, and not the content. If it was a content only argument, in my opinion, there would not really be one.

    This was more of a rant than I anticipated, but I am really irked when people make such sweeping generalizations about any content media, which is just an easy way to make a point without having to deal the nuance and complexities of an issue. 

  • 3.  RE: Do Videogames Belong in the Library?

    Posted Feb 07, 2013 12:36 PM

    Doug, thank you for your thoughtful remarks and your helpful links.  I am nodding in agreement with you.  How can people attack the container? If you're okay with it, I would like to save your articles as reference documents for the resolution we're writing.  I think it's important that we as an association reaffirm videogames as a valid medium and protected speech.  They have been in existence for more than 50 years and not at all a passing "fad."  Patrick Sweeney has valiantly taken up our cause. And I know that FTRF has been fighting the legal battles in defense of videogames.  I'll try to copy them here. And I will do everything I can to help.

  • 4.  RE: Do Videogames Belong in the Library?

    Posted Feb 07, 2013 01:41 PM

    That would be perfectly fine Ann, and I truly hope the resolution is able to pass. Even more so I hope we are able to move to a day when this category of media is given its due credit and consideration in the larger context of its overall contribution to both popular and intellectual culture.