National Games Day was started by Jenny Levine and Scott Nicholson in 2007. This free event grew out of an idea to attempt to set a world’s record for the number of people playing the same game at the same time at libraries around the world. National Games Day became International Games Day (IGD) in 2012 and has grown to include events on all seven continents. Even today, it is still raising awareness of games and gaming in libraries to publishers and the public. This event has become a valuable way for libraries and their communities to join together and engage in play on or near the third Saturday of November each year.
On this day each year libraries from around the world participate in local and international gaming activities. One of these libraries, the Ann Arbor District Library, has volunteered their expertise to lead digital game tournaments for IGD each year. Over the years they have hosted a Rock Band contest, Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Mario Kart tournaments, and Minecraft Hunger Games. In 2012, Global Gossip Game was introduced to libraries around the world. In this game a phrase is passed from library to library. Traditionally, this game starts in the St. Kilda Library in Melbourne, Australia, and it is then passed through libraries on all seven continents before it ended at the Homer Public Library in Homer, Alaska.
Each year, game publishers donate tabletop games and access to videos games to hundreds of libraries for this event. These generous donations have often been the first items in a library’s game collection. In 2008, this event had only two sponsors in the United States, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. However, the number of sponsors have steadily increased and in 2014, there were eleven sponsors with donations for libraries around the world.
In the past 7 years:
- We've had 151,011 confirmed individual participants, and we think around 260,000 actual participants.
- 8677 libraries have registered to participate (and given that they often include multiple libraries under a single registration, we think the actual number of libraries is around 15% higher).
- Of those, 333 have been outside the US; 192 of those happened last year alone. (This doesn't include most participants of Nordic Game Day, which had its own registration process, and last year included another 90 libraries.)
- 380 libraries have participated in videogame tournaments.
- 2073 people at 174 libraries have participated in the Global Gossip Game.
- IGD has been celebrated in 53 countries and territories on all 7 continents: Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Laos, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Northern Mariana Islands (a Commonwealth within the USA), Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.