This week we are focusing on online gaming and virtual worlds. Growing up, my family had various gaming systems which I played. However, as I got older I played less and less and read more and more. My siblings kept on gaming, so I have peripheral first-hand experience with the later systems, but I never really got into the more complicated games myself.
With respect to online gaming, I have never played any MMORPGs, like World of Warcraft, but I understand their appeal. I personally like RPGs and see the concept of a fantasy world that changes due to the actions of individuals all over the world as being quite interesting. A webseries I enjoy is The Guild, which follows a bunch of gamers as they play a game like WoW.
But a virtual world I can never comprehend is Second Life. Okay, it’s a virtual world. You can create things within it and communicate with others. But to what purpose? You create an avatar and spend money on clothes and interact with others. I’m sorry, but this just seems a bit too pathetic to me. The focus on it within our profession seems to me to just be another excuse for overly shy gaming nerds to stay indoors. “I don’t need to speak to others, since I can do a reference interview in Second Life! Isn’t that wonderful?!”…..ummm no…. go to work and talk to someone.
I see gaming as an area where public libraries can supplement their collection. Having books or cheat guides to games is an aspect of collection development in the teen section. Libraries can even collect games for various systems and allow them to circulate or allow users to play them in the library. The library I work at (Lambton County Library) sends a system and games to the branches for “teen game nights.”
So in the spirit of this week’s assignment I tried out Alan Wake on Xbox 360. It’s kind of like if Stephen King created a game, this would be it. My brother is a hardcore gamer and this is one of his favourites, so I decided to try. I enjoyed the plot and graphics, but the learning curve is very difficult. I find the concept of running around and moving my head with the joystick difficult, not to mention actually fighting the baddies. When the intense music starts and the controller starts to vibrate I cannot handle the stress. So, basically I tried it but then passed the controlled to my brother and watched him play it.
I can see the appeal of gaming and think that libraries should look to this aspect of their collections to attract and retain teen users.