Archive for the ‘video games’ Category

Video Gaming and Information Literacy

Here is a short presentation I put together to fill in for my absence during the information literacy workshop at the ULS.  I apologize immensely but hope that everyone takes something promising away.

Feel free to post any comments or questions to this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

**Note:  The embedded video isn’t working in WordPress for me at the moment.  Here is the direct link.


Lessons for libraries from Blizzard


Reading this fun article about the 11 Innovation Lessons from Creators of World of Warcraft, I was impelled to draw parallels between libraries and game designers.

Designing ambitious and popular games isn’t too far removed from outlining and implementing efficient library services. Many of the concepts that have made the World of Warcraft so successful, may well be useful to librarians looking for ways to shake up their possibly “dusty” services. Though detailed by Blizzard executives in the original article, here are the 11 points:

  1. Rely on Critics
  2. Use Your Own Product (Meaning try what you give to users for yourself)
  3. Make Continual Improvements
  4. Go Back to the Drawing Board
  5. Design for Different Kinds of Customers
  6. The Importance of Frequent Failures
  7. Move Quickly, In Pieces
  8. Statistics Bolster Experience
  9. Demand Excellence or You’ll Get Mediocrity
  10. Create a New Type of Product (Or to me, don’t be afraid to do so.)
  11. Offer Employees Something Extra

I know I may be a bit biased due to my fascination with Warcraft, but watching the game evolve around the players seems on par with the more modern “user centered” library mantras.

“Inside Innovation with Colin Stewart » Blog Archive » 11 Innovation Lessons from Creators of World of Warcraft – OCRegister.Com.” (accessed 4/7/2008, 2008).

Literacy as Play

01/11/2008 1 comment

Child Drawing

Though we have seen several games made by libraries to teach information literacy (see related post) the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University has partnered with the Carnegie Public Library of Pittsburgh (with the support of a Grable Foundation Grant,) to create a program that allows children to create their own illustrated story.

Using a simple drag-and-drop interface, the young authors can easily select background settings, scenery objects, and featured characters. The brilliance of this program comes in the nearly limitless avenues through which their stories can progress. By making the system come with all the pieces, the targeted 2nd and 3rd grade audience will be able to let their imaginations run wild.

As there are many branches to the Carnegie Public Library System in the Pittsburgh area, the goal is to make this system accessible to multiple branches. This not only exposes a larger community to the creative tools, but allows the saved stories to be shared amongst a wide range of areas. In short, the students are learning the value of sharing information and creative works.

I am excited to see how this program will fit in to the excellent children’s programming at the CLP. It is easy to see how such a game would provide a seamless transition from such other games as My Sims, Runescape, or Animal Crossing.

I really love the idea of having tools at our fingertips that can produce simple yet effective outlets for our creative thoughts. I recently tried my hand at making a Comic Strip through a Facebook Application called My Comic Slideshows. With any photos you have at hand, you can create multi-panel comic strips complete with voice annotation if you wish. There is something fun about being able to create your own funny pages, but then you realize just how hard it is to be funny. 🙂

How’s your Second Life going?


I will be the first to admit that I barely have enough time in my 1st life to even consider investing many spare moments in Second Life. But recent discussions with friends and colleagues have made me think of what may lay ahead.

A recent article on talked about the developments by IBM and others in creating means for visually impaired users to interact with the virtual worlds so many more are flocking to daily. The same article cited a figure that said nearly 80% of active internet users will be involved in a virtual world within the next four years. That may seem less than interesting to some, but that number could factor into many changes and developments concerning online interfaces.

A colleague of mine posed the question as to whether there was a possibility of a viable Third Life, or users developing another assumed identity or virtual business within Second Life. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to say; but the concept did intrigue me. There are already multiple RPG activities within Second Life and many entrepenurial types setting up shop all over, but what about those who start to develop the world within the world?

When I look at what could drive these possibilities I reflected on what drives me to play games and be online. Maybe my earliest drives toward games, was to just play. The bright flashing lights, fun sounds, and addictive game play left little room for my young psyche not to be immediately engaged. As I got older the games got more complicated and the challenge often wasn’t just to play but to solve. RPG‘s and tactical games made it important to think acutely about the actions I was taking in the games. Many of the other games were multiple player games, and that brings me to what I like about many modern games. There is a social aspect to participating in an action that can be found in sports as well as digital games. Even with single player games like Final Fantasy VII, my friends and I were constantly sharing tips and tricks, revealing enemy weaknesses, and sometimes literally showing one another by playing as example.

In the realm of MMORPG‘s this practice has gone one step further. Most of these games feature an inherent “grouping” feature. Whether this be a party list, friends list, clan or guild list, or even an alliance list (which is a grouping of guild groups found in the game Guild Wars). These groups share tips, help each other solve in game problems, and going so far as to create their own wikis and forum sites. These games aren’t just a flip of the switch to play Pong, they require a sizable investment in time and often money. Click here to read the entire post