Wednesday, January 8, 2014

#anz23mthings Thing 12 Gaming and Libraries

Gaming and the role of public libraries is something I feel quite ambivalent about. I am not opposed to gaming at all and recognize its benefits for literacy, numeracy, memory, teamwork, social engagement and collaboration - and many more things I am sure. I am just not sure how libraries fit into this.

I am not much of a mobile gamer. I can get hooked on a bit of Spider solitaire on my phone but really that's about it.  In the past I have been quite hooked on various Zynga (and other predecessor) games via Facebook and have spent quite a lot of hours on them.  I know these are not really hard-core games and I have always lost interest in them after a while. And as most of these games were based on Flash they really haven't translated over to my i-mobile environment.

Jane McGonigal's Ted Talk "Gaming can make a better world" mentioned in the summation for this Thing really resonated with me and made me think about this issue again. I have always felt that I wanted to help people be the best they can and I have wanted libraries I have been involved with to assist people in this and have it as their vision. McGonigal talks of how gaming makes us the best person of ourselves, how we confront failure and try and try again, how we get feedback again and again like we don't do in life.

We learn the habits of heroes, she says. And that too resonated with me as did her talk of Herodotos and the origins of gaming in Lydia.  That is a very dramatic story but maybe no more dramatic than issues in our current world. I like her motto: "We want to make the future" and the fact that she and her company are making games such as World without Oil, Superstruct and Evoke that can really translate games into making this happen.

I am not sure what this means for libraries, but it really has made me start to think about the issue again.

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