I’ve never really been into video games, except for a mild obsession with Super Mario Bros when I bought a Nintendo back in middle school, but after attending the AASL Game (Gaming as Meaningful Education) Conference, I’m excited about video games!
Thomas Knowlton, Creator of NYPLarcade and an Outreach Librarin for NYPL gave a fast paced and engaging presentation at GAME that had the audience frantically scribbling notes and left them wishing there were demos of the video games set up in the conference room next door. In addition to the 10 fantastic games he shared, Knowlton also explained the three criteria he uses for selecting games: Availability (budget, platform required and time), Playability (is it: dynamic, watchable, age level appropriate, and quick), and Intertexuality (can it be connected to a book or another game, can it be discussed). Two of the five games that Knowlton recommended for teens: Gone Home, a first person walking simulator video game by Fullbright and 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, a choice driven, adventure narrative video game by iNK Stories, interested me the most and I thought could best be incorporated into a curriculum.
Gone Home Knowlton gave the example of using this game with an English class, discussing: following character threads, writing narrative threads, or using the artifacts in the story to start discussions on different topics. I can see this being used with a creative writing class.
1979 Revolution : Black Friday Knowlton shared the how this video game might be tied to the graphic novel Persepolis as they both deal with the 1979 Iranian revolution. I also think both the game and the book could be brought into a discussion in a geography, history, or global studies course.
Use the link from Knowlton’s tweet to see the presentation and his list of 10 Video Games Every Librarian Should Play
Now, in addition to working with teachers to share the idea of these games fitting into the curriculum, I need to work on creating a space in the library where select video games can be available for students. Ideally, this would be a weekly event during lunch, allowing the students a chance to relax, make connections, discuss, play or just watch. As with the NYPLarcade – we can think of these gaming sessions as
“book discussions but for video games.”
Time to GAME!