Posted tagged ‘Wii’

Conflicts

May 20, 2009

Tonight at 7 at the Berkshire Athenaeum, I’ll be talking about the current state of video games, and what they have to offer libraries.  Tonight is also the first of Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays for the year.

So for everyone in the Berkshires, forget about spending the evening enjoying the gorgeous weather, the live performances, and supporting the local economy downtown.  Who needs that when you can listen to a fine talk on why video games matter, and then try out the library’s Wii for yourself.  All sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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Target Audiences

May 13, 2009

Busy day today, I got to run two events, a web 2.0 workshop in the morning and then a video game program in the afternoon.  Both went great, with decent turnouts and some very engaged participants.  I particularly liked when our DDR free play turned into an impromptu dance party.

However, the one thing that is becoming aparent is we’re struggling a bit with our varied demographics.  My workshop was attended by a mix of staff and patrons, with somewhat differing levels of comfort with the material.  I’ve been planning my sessions for novices, but I have frequently had to rework things on the fly when they have turned into staff trainings or master classes.  Next week I’m running an evening talk on video games for the library, and have no idea what to expect.

Which brings me to today’s video game program.  We had attendees ranging from about 8 to 18, which made at least one parent a bit nervous about their child.  Now we’ve been trying to keep these programs fairly open, particularly as we’re struggling to have the time to properly devote to these sorts of programs.  We can’t afford to devote the staff time to running more than one of these programs a month, so we’ve opted to leaving them fairly open in order to maximize our audience on those occasions.  But the wide age range does make things a bit awkward sometimes.

Yes!

March 24, 2009

Yesterday was yet another one of our Rock Band nights, but something felt different this time.I think we’ve finally crossed the tipping point.  Turnout was great!  And we were on an off day thanks to being kicked out of the auditorium to make room for our book sale.  A few regulars were absent, but we retained all the new faces from the last one, and picked up more through word of mouth (our advertising really isn’t doing anything).  I particularly liked that we had one group come simply because they were following some of the others to see what was going on, and they stayed for all three hours!  

I think more fun was had by all this time too.  There was tons of socializing, a surprising amount of headbanging (unfortunately literally in one instance), and just a great vibe in the air.  Everyone asked about next time, three people volunteered to bring extra equipment (including an x-box), and one even offered to make a donation.  By the time it was over I felt completely and totally elated (and subsequently had trouble falling asleep, but still managed to wake up at 6 am like usual).

Epic Fail

March 11, 2009

Today was our latest after school DDR event, and I’m pretty much ready to declare it a failure now.  We only had 5 participants today, and while there were some reasons that could have prompted an especially low turnout (first warm afternoon this year on a school day, fewer posters due to a printer failure) the fact remains that we’ve never had much luck with this program.

First of all, we’ve been unable to attract an audience during that time.  Our 5-8 session have done great, but we just can’t get teens to come right after school.  But also DDR has not been the draw that we hoped for.  Even those that came wanting to play quickly got bored and we’ve had to switch over to Rock Band every time.

I know other libraries have done very well with DDR, but I suspect we’ll never be one of them.

Talking About a Revolution

January 20, 2009

The Berkshire Eagle’s article on our DDR event was published today, and I am very pleased.  Not only did we get the first page of the weekly learning section and an above the fold link on the front page, but we got some nice art, a sidebar front and center advertising our video game events through the Spring, and a surprisingly good (yet still punny) headline, “You say you want a revolution”.

I’m impresed with the article too, in a way I’m often not where the Eagle’s concerned.  It’s a decent bit of publicity for us, while still remaining perfectly honest.  One of the attendees is quoted as saying they were just there for the food, while another says it’s nice to see the library finally catching on.  We don’t come off perfectly in the article, but we’re portrayed as an organization that is trying to be better.  I’m good with that.

Gaming Expands

January 15, 2009

Yesterday marked the start of our bi-weekly gaming innitiative.  We’re continuing with our monthly rock band nights, but now we’re trying to add in an after school program as well.  We had no idea what to expect yesterday, partly because of the different time, and partly because it was also the first time we tried hosting a DDR event.

The results were a bit mixed.  We were sort of hoping to attract a younger audience than the one we gained from the evening programs.  Instead we pretty much got some of our Rock Band regulars, that were curious about DDR, but determined pretty quickly that they liked Rock Band a lot better so we switched over.

On the other hand, we gained some publicity for launching the second monthly game day and got a reporter and photographer from the local paper to come out for it.  A number of the teens were interviewed on top of me and my co-conspirator so I can’t wait to see the article.

Speaking of which, I came across this one today for a Wii event elsewhere that I thought was particularly good, although horrendously titled.  Give it a read

Where Are the Gamers?

January 12, 2009

Today I spent a decent amount of time communicating back and forth with another librarian who was looking into purchasing a Wii for their library.  So evidentally I’m now the video game expert for the consortia, which I’m cool with.  But the interesting part of this is while was sending e-mails back and forth one of my co-workers, who just received their MLS, came by and we began discussing games and libraries.

Specifically, she was kind of surprised that gaming wasn’t as wide spread as her coursework, and some of the professional journals, had led her to believe.  The real shock was when she learned that we were reported as being the first Mass. library to hold a game night, and that was just a few months back.  Happily many others quickly followed, but it’s still not exactly the next big thing in libraries that it’s been hyped as being.

So what’s the hold up?  I think it’s that we just don’t have enough librarian gamers.  Most of the successful gaming events I’ve become aware of seem to have one thing in common, someone on staff that feels passionate about bring games into libraries.  Partly it helps to have someone with the technical expertise to set everything up, but more importantly you’ll do a much better job of connecting with your audience if you can relate on their level. 

Hence, library’s need to hire more geeks.