The word has gotten out that gaming is a great way to draw teens (especially boys) into the library, and maybe…just maybe get them hooked on a book. International Games Day @ your library is proof of that. That’s the carrot and stick approach to reading. While I’m sure that approach has had some success, it’s the games themselves that are valuable tools for developing 21st century literacies and learning — something all libraries should be fully supporting.
I personally developed an enthusiasm for digital games as a literacy and learning tool in a Games and Simulations course I took awhile back. That course also gave me the incentive to explore games, and as I began to play, I began to recognize the literacy-rich environments that encompass games. Now, I play games more frequently, and have even encouraged my daughter to play more games (she enjoys Minecraft). I’m pretty sure her problem solving and strategic thinking skills have improved as a result. Problem solving and strategic thinking are broad skills that serve as a foundation for many academic areas, including math, science, critical literacy, and yes, even information literacy.
So, in my opinion, digital games should have a prominent place in every library (public, school and academic), and librarians should encourage gameplay in the same way they have always encouraged reading.
Here are 10 games that I think belong in every library (enjoy exploring them!):
- Portal 2
- Sid Meier’s Civilization
- Colossal Cave Adventure (one of the first text adventure games, now available on iOS and Android)
- Inanimate Alice (transmedia storytelling)
- Ticket to Ride (online adaptation)
- Gone Home
- The Stanley Parable