Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Electronic Revelation

One of our regulars, Grace Lieb, wrote an article about the CVGA for LEAD Magazine, which never got to be published before she left the magazine. So here is the article, in its entirety. Thanks, Grace! 

SUBTITLE:  A Gamer’s Dreamland Awaits at the Most Well-Kept Secret on North Campus
BY: Grace Lieb

To Central Campus-Goers: you never thought that it was worth while paying a visit to North Campus, eh? You never thought that the monotonous, mind-numbing 15 minute bus ride would lead to anything significant, eh? Well listen, and listen good, because this next part is not going to be easy for me. I am about to sacrifice my oath of confidentiality to tell you about the grandest, most precious jewel on North Campus. Because I know that once I tell you, this technological treasure trove will never be the same calm, hushed reprieve again. Ok, here it goes: there’s a video game archive here. Yeah, a VIDEO GAME ARCHIVE. Sure, there are video games in the Union, but you have to cough up the cash for those. THIS IS FREE. 

Tucked away in the basement of the Art, Architecture, and Engineering Library in the Duderstadt Center, the Computer and Video Game Archive has every console ever created since the birth of gaming. From the NES to Playstation 3, from classic games like the Super Mario Bros. series to the newest, cutting-edge games like Assassin’s Creed II, there’s a niche for every kind of gamer. I don’t want to give away all the titles, though. After all, there are just too many to name in this meek article. 1,508, in fact.

So, how did this neat little fantasy become such a big reality? The Archive is the brainchild of David Carter, a librarian here at U of M. It launched in 2008 as an educational center for observing media effects, art design, and programming, but since then has become more than a sort of laboratory; it’s a center for fun. Walking into the Archive and feasting your eyes upon the giant wall adorned with video games is like walking into a room with an all-you-can-eat buffet: your senses overwhelm you; your mind whirls; you don’t know what to grab first because it all looks so good. The added bonus is the environment is serene and quiet (due to the provided headphones next to each gaming station), so you can play in peace.

Still not convinced this whole thing is worth your while? “It’s a place where you can go and have fun,” states School of Engineering freshman Lanxin Liu, “It’s just really cool how you can come here and relax.” Simply put, it’s a place to game your stresses away. Need a break from 24/7 studying? Clear your head with your favorite game. Want to hang out with friends? Round them up and play Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Whatever mood you’re in or motive you have, it’s just an enjoyable, friendly place to hang out. To sum it up, Elizabeth Caliman, an LSA junior who commutes frequently from Central to the Archive, observes, “It’s got a wide variety [of games], it’s free, it’s open 6 days a week, and the staff is great.” ‘Nuff said.

For the full video game catalog, hours, and phone number, visit http://www.lib.umich.edu/computer-video-game-archive.

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