Monday, January 31, 2011

Top Games - Week of January 24th

Here are our top games from last week, with both copies of Melee still making the list:

1. Fifa Soccer 11
2. Halo: Reach
3. (tie) Super Smash Bros. Melee (our copy)
3. (tie) Starcraft II
5. (tie) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
5. (tie) NBA 2K11
7. (tie) Sam and Max: Season 1
7. (tie) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
9. (tie) Super Smash Bros. Melee (belongs to one of our regulars)
10. (tie) NCAA Football 11

Friday, January 28, 2011

Carmen Sandiego & Its Influence On Our Worldview

Some of you may remember playing some version of the Carmen Sandiego series of computer and video games that were popular in the 80s and 90s. Others might better remember the PBS tv show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?", if not for the content, then for introducing the world to Rockapella. Well, depending on your opinion of Facebook games, I have either good or bad news for you. Game developer Blue Fang announced on Wednesday that it is putting out Facebook versions of two of the most memorable edutainment games ever: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail.

On the heels of this announcement, Alexis Madrigal, a blogger on The Atlantic's web site, wrote an interesting piece asking what seems at first to be a simple question: what effect did playing games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego have on children's view of the world? Much like the author, there are probably a large number of children of the 80s and 90s who remember obscure geographic facts (like San Marino's economic dependence on postage stamps) because of this game. Madrigal points out, however, that these games likely had a larger influence beyond trivia recall. Just like textbooks, filmstrips, and other primers used in classrooms, these games influenced children's education. And while plenty of studies have been done about the ways textbooks and primers influence students' views, to Madrigal's knowledge, nothing similar has been done for video games. This could be a fertile field for researchers to mine, but the clock is ticking. As older computer formats become harder and harder (or impossible to access), the time we have remaining to look at these primary sources for children's education is running out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top Games - Week of January 17th

Here are the top 10 games played in the archive this past week:

1. Fifa Soccer 11
2. Starcraft II  
3. Halo: Reach  
4. (tie) Super Smash Bros. Melee (our copy of the game)
4. (tie) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
6. NCAA Football 11
7. (tie) Battlefield: Bad Company 2
7. (tie) NBA 2K11
9. Super Smash Bros. Melee (belonging to one of our regulars)
10. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

For those of you who don't know, people are allowed to bring in their own copies of games as long as they clear it with us. The guy who brought in his own copy of Melee really wanted Melee to be higher on this list, so he got his wish. Our copy is number 4, AND his copy made the list. Way to be dedicated.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Top Games: Week of January 10th

It was our first week back, and the archive was busy as ever as everyone got used to more game stations and a bigger room. The top ten games played in the archive last week were the usual contenders:

1. Fifa Soccer 11
2. Starcraft II
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
4. (tie) Super Smash Bros. Melee
4. (tie) Halo: Reach
6. NCAA Football 11
7. (tie) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
7. (tie) Battlefield: Bad Company 2
9. (tie) NBA 2K11
9. (tie) Assassin's Creed 2

Friday, January 14, 2011


Books? Yeah, we've got them too...

Recently we've started to add novels, comics and art books related to video games to the collection. Like Warcraft and Halo novels, The Art of... books, and the like. These books will be in the regular AAEL books collection (i.e. not kept down in the archive room) so you can check them out and read them like any other book in the library.

The books also have their own New Books feed:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Use Policies

Now that we're mostly moved in, we thought we'd take the time to post our new use policies here. Major changes include keeping coats and backpacks by the entrance, and checking out games so that we can track them more easily.

The use policies are as follows:

1.       Choosing and Checking Out a Game: After deciding which game to play, leave the case on the wall and tell the attendant the title and system of the game. S/he will check out the game disk to you using your library account and Mcard for 4 hours. When you're finished, alert the attendant or return the game disk in its sleeve to the service desk. Items not returned after 4 hours will be subject to late fees.

2.       Do Not Leave the Archive with Games /Equipment: Games and equipment belonging to the archive must remain in the archive, regardless of whether they are checked out to you. You may bring in your own games, consoles, or peripherals if you alert the attendant. Personal hard drives may not be used in our consoles unless you are working on an archive-related project that requires it.

3.       Food, Drink, and Other Belongings: NO FOOD is allowed in the archive, and all drinks must be in securely closed containers. We strongly encourage you to place backpacks on the racks located at the entrance. When leaving, please take all trash and belongings with you. Any belongings left behind will be removed from the game station and placed in the lost & found at the Library Reserve desk.

4.       Time/Game Limits: Each person or group will be limited to using one game at a time, and may use a particular station for up to one hour. If someone else would like to use it at that time or beyond, the person or group will be asked to vacate it. Each person is permitted to use the archive for up to 4 hours per day. Exceptions may be made for students working on archive-related projects.

5.       Use the Archive Courteously: Please be courteous to others in the archive as well as online users while using the archive. Refrain from excessive profanity and noise levels, disturbing other users while they are playing, or trying to rush someone into vacating a station before their time limit is up. Users who demonstrate repeated problem behavior may be asked to leave.

6.       No Personal Accounts: Please do not add personal on- or offline accounts to our consoles, such as Xbox Live accounts. Any unauthorized profiles added to one of our Xbox 360 consoles are subject to deletion and will not be recovered. Similarly, please do not add friends to any of our consoles.

7.       Saved Games and Game Settings: Please ask an attendant before overwriting saved games, and don't play a saved game that is not yours. If you adjust game settings while playing, please reset them before you leave to the way they were when you arrived.

8.      Technical Problems: If you experience any technical problems with the equipment, please alert a staff member to assist you. Do not attempt to rearrange cords and consoles yourself.

9.       Handle Equipment with Care: Please handle games and equipment with respect, refraining from button-mashing, dropping/tossing controllers, or intentionally engaging in behavior that may damage the games or equipment. The archive reserves the right the charge patrons engaged in such behavior with replacement fees. Also, please handle game disks only at the edges, and do not disturb consoles that are in use in order to prevent scratching CDs as they are being played.

For the most up-to-date copy of our use policies, as well as a myriad of other information about the archive, check out our libguide.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bibliobouts launched for classroom use

The game Bibliobouts, created by SI students from the University of Michigan, is getting more press as they prepare to be released for classroom use for the Winter 2011 and Fall 2011 semesters. Bibliobouts is "an online social activity that teaches players the skills they need to research academic papers," and can be used across disciplines.

Read more about it here, or check out the demo here by entering as the email address and "demo" as the password.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CVGA opening in new location on Monday (probably)

We will most like be opening the CVGA in our new location on Monday Jan 10 at Noon. This of course assumes that things go mostly as planned over the next several days (There is still painting and electrical work left to be done...)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Memories: Awesome PhotoSynth of the old CVGA room

While you are waiting for the new CVGA room to open, relive your times spent in the old with this awesome panoramic PhotoSynth of the old CVGA room.

(You'll need Microsoft's Silverlight extension installed in your browser.)

Follow this link for a bigger version on the PhotoSynth site.