Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Games

I continue to be fascinated by the idea of "Big Games" as described by Gregory Trefly on the ALA's gaming Web site. The slides and audio are on that site, and the presentation is highly worth listening to. If you really can't listen to the whole thing, fast-forward to slide 45 and about 37 minutes into the audio presentation, but the earlier stuff is very helpful background info. This is where it starts to specifically discuss big games in libraries. Almost all of the big games revolve around four basic games:
  • tag
  • scavenger hunt
  • hide & seek
  • capture the flag
Libraries are great places because they often have many branches (lots of these games are in NYC), have collections, great spaces, content, unique identifiers (call no.'s & bar codes), referees (librarians/staff), tools (computers, copiers, wi-fi, etc.) and a place to display.He listed five undeveloped ideas for games that libraries could do:
  1. Secret Agent - based on the scavenger hunt. It involves secret meeting points, and avoiding detection (no running or disturbing people who aren't playing). Collect codes, and set levels so they know how they're doing when they "level up."
  2. Then/Now - this one interests me the most at the moment. In their example, they had old pictures of places around NYC from the library's archives, and the players have to go around and take pictures of how it looks now. I want to do this around campus.
  3. Rent control - the real real estate game. I don't understand this.
  4. Babel code - using the foreign language materials in the library to break codes
  5. Dewey's Demons - finding codes online or in the stacks to create and take care of creatures. I don't understand the details of this either.

To do one of these big games, look around your everyday world. Give normal activities goals, look for simple ways to track moves. Once you have a plan, run a test play (or he called it playtest) several times until it works, because it never works the first time.This presentation is definitely worth listening to, and I hope we can do the Then/Now thing with freshmen this fall.

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