International Games Week October 29 – November 4

NGD2009 Video Game Tournaments – Results!

Posted on November 18, 2009

National Gaming Day keeps getting bigger and better on gtsystem!

The Rock Band High Score contest included 14 events on or around National Gaming Day and 70 performances were scored. This year, most libraries included the song that each band played, allowing for per-song leaderboards! The top ten included bands from Skokie Public Library (IL), Hunterdon County Library (NJ), Pittsfield Public Library (MA), Aurora Public Library (CO), and gtsystem's home team in Ann Arbor, MI.

The online Super Smash Brothers Brawl tournament featured 42 libraries from across the US attempting to connect and play each other online. While gtsystem held up like a champ this year, many libraries were knocked out by firewall problems or had to quit as their libraries closed. However, Giles County Public Library (Pulaski, TN), Turtle Lake Public Library (Turtle Lake, WI), Detroit Public Library (Detroit, MI), Bondurant Community Library (Bondurant, IA), Madrid Public Library (Madrid, IA), Sanger Public Library(Sanger, TX), Garland County Library (Hot Springs, AR), Ann Arbor District Library (Ann Arbor, MI) and Bondurant Community Library (Bondurant, IA) all advanced to the quarterfinals before the momentum was stymied by connection trouble and short time. However, players across the country still had fun being a part of something big.

Next year, the Brawl bracket will be back for another iteration with a simpler structure, more connection testing, and a different approach to making it happen in 4 time zones at once. You can see some of the event recorded on gtsystem's ustream page at, although be forewarned there is quite a bit of downtime in the video as we were trying to get matches together. Regardless, this idea is still an exciting one to players and staff alike, and the challenges of coordination and connectivity just make it that much more important to do it more often!

See you all in the bracket on November 13, 2010!

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    1. ALA coordinates many national initiatives, some of which are not aimed solely at literacy, such as National Library Week, Teen Tech Week, and Banned Books Week. The goals for National Gaming Day include promoting awareness of the wide variety of library services, encouraging social interactions between diverse groups of people that don’t happen elsewhere in the community, and showing that it’s okay to play in the library. Recreational reading in the library is okay, as is recreational computer use. Games are no different.

      LaVerne, if you’d like to be more involved in ALA’s gaming and literacy programs (such as the Gaming, Libraries, and Literacy grant), I can put you in touch with Dale Lipschultz, ALA’s Literacy Officer.


    2. Big whoop. Now what? Where’s the momentum? What’s the follow-up plan?

      A toys & games manufacturer whose overseas suppliers pay its factory workers 112$/month and shortchanges laid-off workers their severance pay can afford to generously donate its products. 300K “free” games? Those were paid for – in sweat, tears, fear, labor violations, violent riots, and international investigations.

      Such is lamentable, not laudable.

      The magnanimous sponsoring entertainment entity (having garnered young, captive US libraries audience just in time for its upcoming Discovery TV Channel programming network venture) can now re-calculate [after losing its position of strength in a Disney/Mattel deal] its speculated share of revenue in
      the lucrative 5.7B$ branded-licensing market. Think not that the NGD2009 surveys of those 1,365 libraries won’t tally in that final count. And did its host -the ALA- even reap facilities rental fees for pre-view marketing access to its captive patrons? 300K “free” games? Somebody’s paying for that, too: in staffing payroll, utilities, equipment, broadband, security, administrative, maintenance, lost taxes (these are, after all, donations to a non-profit), and other costs.

      That’s 300K too many.

      But that’s not a fault of Hasbro; it’s a share-holding corporation. It fully comprehends on what side of the desk it sits; it understands its raison d’être. I daresay that ALA’s Gaming contingent seem to have forgotten, or quite possibly mis-perceived itself from inception. However loosely defined, libraries are
      primarily in the business of knowledge enterprise. Before anything else, the principal mandate is to serve information needs, render professional research assistance, augment educational services, supplement scholastic endeavors, and samesuch, in the pursuit of knowledge. ALA’s stated mission “is
      to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” But, NGD 2009 -as conceived and carried out- rendered its librarians as nothing more than Romper Room co-hosts (do recall the RR controversies of the 1960s), reduced to serving as GameStop clerks. Let parents, babysitters, and nannies execute playdates. Recreation and leisure should have been deemed secondary or even tertiary aims of the events. NGD devalued the profession and ALA promoted not improvement but inanity, and that on a national scale.

      ALA’s NGD initiative missed the mark, misunderstood its mandate, mis-conveyed its mission, mis-directed its energies, squandered its resources, misled the public, mis-guided the masses, and -all-in-all- mis-apprehneds its place along the value proposition.

      Not one event was directly aimed to ensure that the 2009 Verizon Libraries, Literacy, and Gaming grants were justified and would deserve re-funding in 2010. These events could have readily tied in with and complemented the Department of Education’s Race-To-The-Top Awards, its SFSF Invest In What Works competition & Innovation Funds, E2T2 grants, and the National Science Foundation’s Math Partnership Program and its Innovative Technology for Students & Teachers testing and educational grants (and thereby, could have drawn from the more than 50B$ in stimulus funding). Despite all of the hype and hoopla, not one announced program among the 1,365 registered libraries highlighted learner and academic outcomes in STEM (science, tech, engineering, maths) gaming. Not one NGD2009 outcome survey addressed or enumerated the place of gaming vis-à-vis these US Department of Education’s
      Institute of Educational Sciences NCES statistics on performance and achievement gaps:

      …”However, the reading score of 12th-graders was 6 points lower in 2005 than in 1992”. […]

      “The percentage of 12th-graders performing at or above Basic (Basic achievement level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Assessment) was lower in 2005 than in 1992 (73 vs. 80 percent), as was the percentage of 12th-graders performing at or above Proficient (35 vs. 40 percent)”.

      Did NGD distinctly demonstrate that any students’ assessment scores could be upped? It could have, if not so heavily invested in frivolity.

      “Students in grade 12 scored 6 points lower on the reading assessment in 2005 (the last year 12th- graders were assessed in reading)than in 1992, but their 2005 score was not measurably different from their 2002 score…” (which means that when they weren’t doing worse, they were doing no better).

      Which Hasbro game addressed the matter of students’ international comparisons of mathematics literacy?

      “The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003 reports: U.S. 15-year-olds performed below the international average of 29 industrialized countries in both mathematics literacy and problem
      solving in 2003”.

      “U.S. 15-year-olds, on average, scored below the international average for participating OECD countries in combined mathematics literacy, specific mathematics skill areas (space and shape, change and
      relationships, quantity, and uncertainty), and problem solving (see table 17-1). In combined mathematics literacy, students in 20 OECD countries and 3 non-OECD countries outperformed U.S. students, while U.S. students outperformed students in 5 OECD countries and 6 non-OECD countries. In problem solving, students in 22 OECD countries and 3 non-OECD countries outperformed U.S. students, while U.S. students outperformed students in 3 OECD countries and 5 non-OECD countries”.

      Incompetence is not “darned cool”.

      Did the Super Smash Brothers Brawl (which I viewed) tackle the following scholastic challenge?:

      “The OECD average score of males was greater than that of females in combined mathematics literacy and in each of the four mathematics subscales in 2003 (see table 17-2). Males outperformed females in two-thirds of the participating countries in combined mathematics literacy; Iceland was the only country where females outperformed males. In the United States, males outperformed females in both combined mathematics literacy and the space and shape subscale.”

      “The cutoff scores for both the top and bottom 10 percent of U.S. students (the highest and lowest achievers) in combined mathematics literacy were lower than the overall OECD cutoff scores for these percentiles, respectively (see table 17-3)”.

      Did NGD incorporate STEM gaming as a desired NEEDED public service to its patrons, because according to NCED’s International Comparisons of Science Literacy:

      ” […] The 2006 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA 2006) reports on the science literacy
      of 15-year-olds in 57 educational jurisdictions, including the 30 member countries of the Organization
      for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and 27 non-OECD countries and sub-national education systems.

      “The average U.S. science literacy score was below the average of the 30 OECD-member countries. U.S. students had a lower average score than students in 16 OECD-member countries and a higher average score than students in 5 OECD-member countries”.

      “On specific scientific skill subscales measured in PISA 2006, the average score of U.S. students was below the OECD average in explaining phenomena scientifically and in using scientific evidence”.

      And it’s not as though the ALA Gaming contigent had no knowledge of or access to pertinent products that could aim towards addressing these deficits.

      “Science performance of students at grades 4, 8, and 12:

      “In 2005, the average science score of students was higher at grade 4 than in previous assessment years,
      was not measurably different at grade 8, and was lower at grade 12 than in 1996. Achievement levels (Basic, Proficient, and Advanced), which identify what students should know and be able to do at each grade, provide another measure of student performance”.

      Ineptitude sucks; it decidedly does not rock.

      “International Trends in Science Report:

      “The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), conducted in 2007, assessed students’ science scale average scores.” “The four countries with higher TISS science scale average scores grade 4) than the United States were Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), and Japan”. “The nine countries with higher (grade 8) average scores than the United States were Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Republic of Korea, England, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and the Russian Federation”.

      “The average science scores in 2007 for both U.S. 4th- and 8th-grade students were not measurably different from those in 1995 (see tables A-16-3 and A-16-4)”. (That is, no better, no worse…)

      And fecklessness is not a virtue. Stop touting and trumpeting it as such.

      ALA’s gaming program is disjunctive, disjointed, and wholly disconnected from anything meaningfully
      measureable. “Where the rubber meets the road” with your mis-guided ilk at the helm has led to a mindless descent towards a steep decline in sense and usefulness.

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