International Games Day @ your library Game on November 15, 2014!

UK IGD@yl report

Posted on November 24, 2014

Here's the report from the University of Kentucky's IGD event - ironically, despite happening after everyone else's IGD, it's coming out before the official report on the day! We're still busily collating the information that's coming in via the survey - which you should fill in at http://bit.ly/igd14survey if you haven't already - and as usual will have a final report for you in the next week or two. But meanwhile, here's part 2 of UK's coverage of their entirely apropos use of IGD as a way to welcome international travellers to their community.

Approximately 60 students from different countries participated in International Games Day at the University of Kentucky. The day had a different twist as it was designed to bring students from different parts of the world together to play games. The goal was to provide a place where students from different countries could interact in a social environment and have fun.

The event was held in the Hub of the William T. Young Library in the multipurpose room. The room was set up into 5 areas: food (popcorn and soft drinks); video games; card and board games; bean bag toss; Mexican Bingo and Jeopardy. A quartet playing music from different parts of the world on traditional instruments provided live music (all from the Center for English as a Second Language).

The music and the smell of the fresh-popped popcorn drew the students in and several of them texted their friends to join them. There was a nice mix of students playing in all areas. The finale of the event was “International Jeopardy” where the participants divided up into two teams and tried to supply the answers to the questions.  All seemed to have a good time trying to provide the questions to answers supplied by other students.

All in all, the day was a success, as we had students from a number of countries interacting with one another.  The event generated interest on campus and the student newspaper wrote two articles on the event.  The cost to put on the event was minimal (less than $200) and all the units involved agreed that it was something to consider building on for next year.

Games folks on libraries: Richard Garfield

Posted on November 18, 2014

Sorry to post again so soon after the last one - which you should read if you haven't, as it contains a reminder to fill out the survey for this year's event! (Plus other interesting tidbits.)

In fact, strictly speaking I should probably hold this next interview off until next year. But this is too good to sit on, so consider it a post-IGD present!

We are joined for a surprise final "Games folks on libraries" interview by Richard Garfield. (Yes, feel free to use the definite article!) Dr Garfield is among the handful of folks in recent decades - or in history, really - to have successfully kicked off an entirely new cultural form, the trading card game; certainly he is one of the very few whose status as foundational innovator is so clear. Even more impressive, his original creation, Magic: the Gathering, is still growing in both audience and new content after 21 years! Since then he has also published a number of other games (including RoboRally, profiled on this blog in September) and a book that shares some small measure of his encyclopaedic knowledge and understanding of games. (The book is linked in his bio below, and highly recommended to anyone interested in the form - and to all libraries, as it's both a definitive work on the topic of games and one of the best textbooks I've read on any subject, with not only abundant and well-organised reference material, but well-designed exercises to encourage readers to apply and integrate what they've learned.) As a student and aficionado of games, not to mention a Magic player since it first reached Oz in 1994, it's been an honour and a pleasure to have corresponded with Dr Garfield to bring you this interview - I hope my fellow gamers gain a similar buzz from reading it!

Richard Garfield designed the first trading card game, Magic: the Gathering, in 1993. At the time he was a math professor, but the success of Magic led to him leaving academics and going into game design full time. Since then he has published half a dozen other trading card game designs, as well as a number of board and card games. Since 2001 he has been consulting on game design with companies including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and the Pokemon Company. His recent games include King of Tokyo and King of New York (board games) and Spectromancer (PC & iOS). He coauthored a book, Characteristics of Games, which was published by MIT press in 2012.

Richard, thanks so much for joining us! Please tell us about your history with/past experience of libraries.

Libraries were an important part of my youth - I believe in ways more significant than the simple access to books. The books were amazing, and important - but I think what really affected me was the sense that the world of ideas was eternal, and open to all. Not only that, a library was a concrete piece of evidence that the culture I was a part of  valued this intellectual world. I believe this is part of the reason I went into academics.

What is your sense of where libraries are now, both in relation to games and in general?

My mother is a librarian, so I am not totally out of touch, but at the same time really don't think I know what is going on in the world of libraries. A lot seems to have changed. And really - how could libraries not be different? The electronic world puts so much of what a library was at everyone's fingertips. Libraries seem to have many more community programs than when I was growing up, probably at least in part in an attempt to refocus in recognition of this changing informational landscape. I am also not sure of where games are in libraries - but they are certainly long overdue if they aren't there!

Where do you see this going, and where could it go?

Despite this wide access to knowledge - that could be perceived as undermining a library's purpose - libraries have an important role in making sure the world of ideas is available to all, and making sure that people know this is important to human culture.  I am sure all these things are being done already, but some natural direction for the future would include:

  • Making sure that this electronic world of knowledge is open to all. Just like no one in the 60s should have been deprived of an encyclopedia, no one today should be deprived of the internet.
  • Acting as an organizer for the world of ideas. The more content is available at your fingertips the harder it is to organize it, and unorganized content is just noise.
  • Expanding what is part of this world of ideas. Games would be an example of something that is important to our culture - more now than ever - which wasn't really a part of the library when I was growing up.

Thanks once again to Dr Garfield, and to all our respondents for the "Games folks" and "Book folks" series!

Initial reportback – and request: Please fill out the surveys!

Posted on November 18, 2014

Hi everyone! Just some initial feedback on the day - final numbers and such to come once we get our surveys back from you all. You should all have received the link via email, or else should receive it soon, but given our problems with spam filters this year, I'm going to post the link here as well.

Please fill out your surveys at http://bit.ly/igd14survey!

It helps us hugely in talking to potential donors, journalists, other library bodies, and administrators. (Plus it makes all your achievements in making IGD happen in your local community visible to more people - to each other and to the rest of the world!)

However, even before that's posted, I can say that signs point to IGD being hugely successful this year!

 

Library numbers

After a reasonably thorough attempt to remove duplicate registrations, junk/test/partial registrations,  and so on, we're left with a little over 1250 valid, unique registrations (1257 to be precise).

The thing is, it's become clear to me that in Australia at least there are several library services that have used a single registration while actually running IGD at several branches! Just through local Melbourne word of mouth I know of about a dozen libraries that participated but didn't register. I'm happy calling this as around 1300 libraries in IGD this year.

Add to that the fact that only 25 libraries registered with IGD from Scandinavian countries, whereas 115 were registered with our partner event Nordic Game Day, and that's another 90 libraries playing along with us last Saturday.

So, all things considered, I'm comfortable bumping our ballpark total for the year to

1400 libraries celebrating International Games Day!

(Pretty good for a volunteer-run event!)

 

 

Locations

OK, so we didn't get Antarctica again this year, or that other interesting travelling library I was hoping to get. But we did reach every settled continent once again! Here's our breakdown of where those registered libraries were located:

Argentina (3), Australia (75), Bangladesh (1), Belarus (1), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1), Canada (26), China (2), Croatia (1), Cuba (1), Denmark (10, or 30 NGD), Finland (3, or 34 NGD), Germany (7), Greenland [Denmark] (1, included in above), Honduras (1), Iceland (2, or 4 NGD), India (1), Indonesia (1), Iran (1), Ireland (1), Italy (10), Japan (3), Kosovo (1), Nigeria (1), Northern Mariana Islands (1), Norway (5, or 35 NGD), Paraguay (2), Philippines (3), Portugal (2), Romania (1), Russian Federation (1), Serbia (1), South Africa (1), Sweden (5, or 12 NGD), UK (16), USA (1151).

 

Global Gossip Game

The GGG was successful again this year, despite a slight increase in numbers (80 slots, 79 libraries), a reasonable jump in complexity (4 official branches, more international transfers and libraries with special communications requirements), and a couple more glitches on the day than last year. It ran for a total of 26 hours, 30 minutes, starting in Scoresby, Victoria, Australia and finishing in Clinton, WI, USA. I'll be publishing a final report as soon as I can (once I get back all the Gossip logs) and will link to it from here.

 

International Minecraft Hunger Games

In case you missed the last post, we have a winner! Congratulations to Denver Public Library, Grafton Library, Providence Community Library, and Stadtbücherei Münster for their regional victories; to Rexalicious of Munster for achieving runner-up status; and to CadyBrun of Providence, Rhode Island, for the final victory in the inaugural International Minecraft Hunger Games! See AADL's post for details.

 

Otherwise, I'm holding off on proper thanks as the full final report is still to come - but thanks again to all of you for joining and making all this possible! Hope you had fun, and keep reading - after this post there's ANOTHER surprise on the way! And if what I'm hearing is any indication, the final report should - as usual - be chock-full of terrific stories.

Cheers everyone!

International Minecraft Hunger Games – THE VICTOR!

Posted on November 17, 2014

GTSYSTEM
SALUTES THE TRIBUTES
of the
2014 INTERNATIONAL
MINECRAFT HUNGER GAMES

 

There were legends. Legends of a time when The Brothers of Super Smash Brawled across the Nation, delighting libraries of all types. With GT SYSTEM the glue that knitted cultures together, Libraries sent their bravest warriors into battle, with only one Library standing at the end of each November.

But one day, that all came to an end. Nintendo shut down the Brawl Servers, and the International Gaming Day Faithful looked to Michigan, wondering what could possibly come next, to fill the void left by this epic event that, since 2008, had held happy fighters at libraries across the nation.

Out of the ashes of a vanished server infrastructure arose a new opportunity; taking players not only from across the country but around the world into the worlds of Minecraft, trapping them in arenas, and forcing them to fight. To the death. Just like in the book!

 

Library districts arose across the Globe. Eventually 94 Districts organized themselves, 70 from what some would call Panem, 11 from the mysterious Old World of Europe, and 14 from the dangerous coasts of Australia. Each District chose a number and a specialty, and promised two Tributes, one Boy, and one Girl, to fight for their honor on International Games Day.

With a Minecraft Hunger Games server made available to each District, Reapings began in the week leading up to the day itself, as Libraries sent their young Minecrafters into battle to determine which among them possessed the skill, the knowledge, and the spirit to become a Victor.

 

With all in readiness, the Regional Semifinals swept across the globe with the night, beginning with the Australian Regionals. The Arena welcomed Tributes from Districts like District 79, Ivanhoe Library: The Art Deco Clock District, and District 150 in Monash, the Surprisingly Good Takeaway District. Eventually the two young Tributes from District 246, the Grafton Library in Grafton, NSW, survived to become the Australian Victors, ready to represent their Nation in the International Minecraft Hunger Games. GTSYSTEM Salutes the Tributes from all the Australian Districts, who fought with bravery and honor in the Arena, only to perish at the hands of the Tributes from Grafton.

 

Then the wave of battle reached Europe, and Tributes from Germany and Scandanavia met at the Server of the University library "Svetozar Markovic" in Belgrade, Serbia, the Science District. When the cannon had roared for the last time, the Tributes from District 447 at Stadtbücherei Münster in Germany, the Surviving You district, had indeed survived and claimed the right to represent all of the old world against the roiling masses of Minecraft Enthusiasts to be found across the Atlantic.

 

At last it was time for the 70 North American Districts to fight for supremacy. The Arena swelled with Tributes, leading to a quick split into two Arenas; one for the densely-districted East Coast, and another for the rest of what had once been North America. After much Minecraft Mayhem, the Tributes from District 708 in Providence, Rhode Island, the Advanced Wizardry District, had become Victors of the East, while the Tributes from District 303 at Denver Public Library, the Hatching Schemes District, had won out the west. Many Tributes lay where they had fallen, often for full seconds, before jumping up and joining other Arenas to play for "fun".

 

There was no hope for the Tributes. 8 skilled young players had fought their way to Victory and a place in the International Minecraft Hunger Games finals, but only one would survive. The Tributes found themselves in a small arena with few places to hide and even fewer chests to find weapons or sustenance. Before long, only two Tributes still lived; Rexalicious from StaBüMü in Germany, and CadyBrun from Providence. They charged at each other, bringing the week of competition to an intense climax. When the pixelly dust had settled Rex had fallen... and CadyBrun had survived.

 

CadyBrun, the Tribute from District 708 in Providence Rhode Island, playing at the Providence Community Library, had won the 2014 International Minecraft Hunger Games for International Gaming Day. With thousands of matches played throughout the week, and more than 50 Minecraft servers operating at once, the event had been a resounding success, leaving only one question:

 

What will the Gamemakers at GTSYSTEM, a service of Ann Arbor District Library, come up with next year?

.

.

IGD isn’t over yet! – a Special Guest Post from UK

Posted on November 16, 2014

Hi everyone! While the official date has been and gone, one of the core tenets of IGD is that any library that wants to host it should be able to make it work for their particular interests and needs - and that extends to the date of your local event. To highlight this, and to give us a little additional content for our week after, we'll be posting a couple of guest posts from the University of Kentucky, also known as UK, who are running an IGD event this coming week: one introducing their plans for the event and the second reporting on how it all went.

International Games Day at UK

The University of Kentucky (UK) will be hosting an international games day as part of its International Education Week activities. UK Libraries is partnering with the Media Depot (Analytics and Technology) and the Robert E. Hemenway Writing Center (College of Arts and Sciences) to host the event on Wednesday, November 19th. This date was chosen because it was in the middle of International Education Week and a peak day for students to be in the library, so there would be more of an opportunity to foster interaction among students from different countries. A number of ideas were explored, including hooking up with a group in another part of the world, but the date and time did not provide the opportunity to make that connection.

The event is still evolving but current plans are to have four gaming areas. There will be card games, board games, and video games available. In order to promote global awareness, a “Jeopardy” game has been developed and incorporates questions solicited from the international student population. To create a festive atmosphere there will be fresh popped popcorn and soft drinks available.

Students have been involved in a large part of planning. Undergraduate student interns developed and executed the public relations plan, students from the International Conversation Hour provided “Jeopardy” questions about their countries, and an undergraduate student intern designed the Jeopardy Powerpoint. The event will be held in “the Hub @ W.T.’s.” (also known as Willie T’s by the student population) in the William T. Young Library from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The goal of the event is to promote cultural awareness among our students by providing a venue for our foreign and domestic students to come together in an unstructured social atmosphere. This is the first time such an event has been hosted, but if successful, it could be an annual event as part of International Education Week.

Thanks to the good folks from UK for sharing this! It's a great use of games as a way to build community in a low-pressure, friendly context. I look forward to hearing - and sharing - how it all went!