Thursday, December 1, 2011

Upcoming Games Article

While I included this in my list of resources for my Library 2.011 presentation (recording available), I'd like to separately state that I have had a manuscript approved for publication in Reference Services Review. It may be the first issue of the new year, but as this wasn't very long ago, I'm not sure things get published that fast. The citation I have so far is:

Broussard, M. J. S. (2012, in press). Digital Games in Academic Libraries: A Review of Games and Suggested Best Practices. Reference Services Review.

It lists the online games that I was aware of in August (one was posted on a listserv right after I sent in the manuscript, and I hadn't yet found that Quarantined is once again available to be played online). The main focus is six recommendations for future games. It is not the fancy, expensive games that are the most successful. That's great, because mine have no budget.

I'm in the process of writing a manuscript for a special issue of Library Trends guest edited by Scott Nicholson. It will focus on the outcomes of our annual Harry Potter Night and how such programs fit into academic libraries. I'm having fun diving into the literature on library outreach programs, though finding it difficult to get literature on these non-academic programs.

LemonTree Game at the University of Huddersfield

Two librarians posted a link to information on game called LemonTree. It's not so much a game as it is a reward system on the students' end and a source of data collection on the librarian's end. This is a "flavour of Librarygame(TM)" created for the University of Huddersfield (UK) by a company called Running in the Halls. You get badges and your card gets hotter the more you use it, certain IL sessions and Web instructional materials contain codes for bonus points, you also watch your online tree grow with more use.

One of the librarians will be presenting it at a conference soon and his materials will be available at:

This is an interesting example of gamification in libraries and I can't wait to see how it is received by students. I've also never heard of Librarygame (TM) and will have to look into it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Resources for Introduction to Digital Games-Based Learning presentation for Library 2.011 Conference

  • Beck, J.C. and Wade, M. (2004), Got game? How the gamer generation is reshaping business forever, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
  • Broussard, M. J. S. (in press, 2012). Digital games in academic libraries: A review of games and suggested best practices. Reference Services Review.
  • Gee, J. P. (2003), What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY.
  • Harris, A. and Rice, S.E. (eds.). (2008). Gaming in academic libraries: Collections, marketing, and information literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, Chicago, IL.
  • Lenhart, A., Jones, S., Macgill, A. R. (2008). Video Games: Adults are Players Too, available at:
  • Nichols, J., Scaffer, B., and Shockey, K. (2003), “Changing the Face of Instruction: Is Online or In-class More Effective?” College & Research Libraries, Vol. 64 No. 5, pp. 378–88.
  • Trefry, G. (2010), Casual game design: Designing play for the gamer in all of us, Morgan Kaufmann/Elsevier, Boston, MA.
  • Waelchli, P. (2009), “Gaming in libraries class- Guest Paul Waelchli on information literacy”, available at:

The Games

  • Information Literacy Game (University of North Carolina at Greensboro):
    • Rice, S. (2008), “Education on a shoestring: Creating an online information literacy game”, in Harris, A. and Rice, S.E. (Eds.), Gaming in academic libraries: Collections, marketing, and information literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, Chicago, IL, pp. 175-188.
  • Defense of Hidgeon: The Plague Years (University of Michigan):  
    • Markey, K. Swanson, F. Jenkins, A. Jennings, B. St. Jean, B. Rosenberg, V. Yao, X. and Frost, R. (2009), “Will undergraduate students play games to learn how to conduct library research?”, Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 303-313.
  • Library Adventure Game (Appalachian State):
  • Bioactive (University of Florida):  
    • Gonzalez, S.R. Davis, V. Dinsmore, C. Frey, C. Newsom, C. and Taylor, L. (2008), “Bioterrorism at UF: Exploring and developing a library instruction game for new students”, in Harris, A. and Rice, S.E. (Eds.), Gaming in academic libraries: Collections, marketing, and information literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, Chicago, IL, pp. 164-174.
  • LibraryCraft (Utah Valley University):  
    • Smith, A.L. and Baker, L.A. (in press, 2011), “Getting a clue: Creating student detectives and dragon slayers in your library”, Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 No. 4. n.p.
  • It’s Alive (Lycoming College):  
    • Broussard, M.J.S. (2011), “It’s alive!”, in McDevitt, T.R. (Ed.), Let the Games Begin! Engaging Students with Field-Tested Interactive Information Literacy Instruction, Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, pp. 25-27.
  • Planet in Peril (Indiana University of Pennsylvania):
    • Sittler, R.L. Sherman, C. Keppel, D.P. Schaeffer, C.E. Hackley, D.C. and Grosik, L.A. (2011), “A planet in peril: Plagiarism: Using digital games to teach information literacy skills” in McDevitt, T.R. (Ed.), Let the Games Begin! Engaging Students with Field-Tested Interactive Information Literacy Instruction, Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, pp. 134-137.
  • Benevolent Blue (University of Calgary)
    • Clyde, J. and Thomas, C. (2008), “Building an information literacy first-person shooter”, Reference Services Review, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 366-380.
  • Quarantined: Axl Wise and the Information Outbreak (Arizona State):
    • Gallegos, B. and Allgood, T. (2008), “The Fletcher Library game project”, in Harris, A. and Rice, S.E. (Eds.), Gaming in academic libraries: Collections, marketing, and information literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, Chicago, IL, pp. 149-163.
  • Librarian or Android (Longwood University):
  • Goblin Threat (Lycoming College):
  • Nightmare on Vine Street (University of Tennessee)
    • Baker, B. Shanley, C. and Wilkinson, L. (2010), “Nightmare on Vine Street: Librarians, Zombies, and Information Literacy”, in McDevitt, T.R. (Ed.), Let the Games Begin! Engaging Students with Field-Tested Interactive Information Literacy Instruction, Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, pp. 30-31.
  • Head Hunt (Ohio State University):  
  • Library Arcade (Within Range and I’ll Get It!) (Carnegie Mellon University):  
    • Beck, D. Callison, R. Fudrow, J. and Hood, D. (2008), “Your library instruction is in another castle: Developing information literacy based videogames at Carnegie Mellon University”, in Harris, A. & Rice, S.E. (Eds.), Gaming in academic libraries: Collections, marketing, and information literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, Chicago, IL, pp. 135-148
  • Dustin King in Locked & Literate, and Searchlight (Champlain College
  • Blood in the Stacks (Trinity University)
    • Donald, J. (2008), “The 'blood on the stacks' ARG: Immersive marketing meets library new student orientation”, in Harris, A. and Rice, S.E. (Eds.), Gaming in academic libraries: Collections, marketing, and information literacy, Association of College and Research Libraries, Chicago, IL, pp. 189-211.
  • Secret Agents in the Library (Lycoming College):  
    • Broussard, M.J.S. (2010), “Secret agents in the library: Integrating virtual and physical games in a small academic library”, College and Undergraduate Libraries, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 20-30.
  • Lyco Map Game (Lycoming College): materials available at  
  • Project Velius (University of Alabama): materials available at
    • Battles, J. Glenn, V. and Shedd, L. (2011), “Rethinking the library game: Creating an alternate reality with social media”, Journal of Web Librarianship, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 114-131.
  • Find the Future (New York Public Library):
  • BiblioBouts (University of Michigan)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Looking for a way to level up

I'm trying to shift gears and look at ways to get to the next level. Or a few levels. I'm not sure if that involves reading more theory, more examples from other libraries, learning more about game mechanics, or learning more impressive software/programming skills. I know I need to find a way to play more games, that's for sure.

This recent NASAGA experience has encouraged me to shift my perception of game development. I have been focusing on the game rather than the experience. This shift intimidates me. When I focus on the actual game, I can accept my limitations. These limitations are great for my online and offline games- time, money, technical ability, software, colleagues with whom I can bounce ideas... But focusing on the experience seems mystical and impossible. I think I've already been doing it to some degree, but not intentionally and not fully.

I am okay with "gamification" and focusing more on the educational end of the education-entertainment spectrum. I have evidence that students enjoy the experience (in most cases, a few games were scrapped), and evidence that they learned something. I see my games as a work in progress, and hope to become more sophisticated in the future. But for now I'll just be looking for a way to get there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back from NASAGA

My experience at NASAGA last week was incredible. I have never experienced such an intellectually-stimulating two and a half days, nor have I ever enjoyed meeting new people as much. Perhaps because this was one of the smaller NASAGA conferences as far as attendance numbers, I got an opportunity to have a meaningful one-on-one conversation with nearly every other attendee. This is normally difficult for me as I am very shy, but the conference is designed to enhance participation and encourage communication, both on a professional and personal level. And while at other conferences I am impressed with some sessions/people and feel others are less than impressive, every session was well worth the time. Indeed, I usually wanted to be at multiple sessions at once, so the chance to talk with others afterwards meant I got a taste of the sessions I couldn’t go to. I really can't rave about it enough.

I got a ton of ideas. A few I will share here include:
  • Games are an experience more than a thing
  • Games should strive to empower players
  • Debriefing is CRITICAL
  • Collective intelligence is infinitely better than individual intelligence
  • We should strive to promote oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) in the brain, not cortisol (anger, stress hormone)
  • Got some ideas for pirating other people's games for work purposes
More to come as I continue to make sense of what I learned there.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chronicle of Higher Education Post

ProfHacker's blog, part of the Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting post today on games in the classroom. It's just the first part of a series. I look forward to the related upcoming posts. I also want to read Kurt Squire's new book that is referenced. I've read several of his articles and he is often cited in the articles I read.

I took advantage of the last few weeks of summer to write an article on online games in libraries. I included most of the links in the previous post. I asked for more on two library listservs and got one more good one to add to the article. I have submitted it to Reference Services Review, so please cross your fingers for me!

I recently learned that I got a scholarship to NASAGA this year. That covers registration. It's just over a month away and I can't wait. I may be going with a friend from high school who teaches game studies or game design (got to figure out which!). She recently moved to the broader region and is only an hour away from the conference. It's funny (and humbling) to "see" our primitive library games through her eyes.

I think I will be presenting at NASAGA, though that's not 100% sure yet. I will also be presenting at ALA in June. Pauline Shostack spent a sabbatical looking at games in libraries (not just online games) and asked if I would co-present with her and possibly one other person. It's hard to turn down such a great opportunity, and again I'm taking advantage of a professional conference to see some family I haven't seen in a while.

Now I just have to finalize the second game for NASAGA. It's the big game for our bicentennial. I'm meeting with the Web developer at our college to see if there's a simple way to use a single online map and smart phones for teams to compete to fill in a map of the present and past buildings on campus. We've even got a student worker hunting for cornerstones and plaques that show the years the present buildings were built.

I love that I get to do such fun things at my job.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Comprehensive List?

I have created a fairly comprehensive list of the ONLINE library games mentioned in the literature and thought I would share them. I may post this list on one of the library listservs to see what I'm missing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Library ARG using Social Media sites

I just read a really good article from the University of Alabama on how they used social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to create an alternate reality game that would require players to use the library resources. The citation is:

Battles, J., Glenn, V., & Shedd, L. (2011). Rethinking the library game: Creating an alternate reality with social media. Journal of Web Librarianship, 5(2), 114-131.

These people really did their research before designing their game and their assessment felt honest (a few articles I have read included more enthusiasm by the authors than the project seemed to merit). I hope they continue to do such projects. It sounds fascinating and I'm glad they shared their experiences with us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Online Games

I'm working my way slowly through Casual Game Design by Gregory Trefry. I'm a big fan of Trefry after listening to his presentation at ALA Techsource on Big Games in libraries. I'm about halfway through and so far, this is a fantastic book. I'm really interested in literature that focuses specifically on casual games, and I'm not finding much in the scholarly databases. But I think these will be the most successful types of online games in libraries when ones like Michigan's and Arizona's aren't successful.

One of the most useful (and distracting!) pieces of this book are the example games that are mentioned briefly or discussed in-depth. I wanted to share the online ones, some of which I have been sampling. Some are easily available without signing up or downloading anything, but many require you to download a trial version. I will include a brief note on why it was mentioned in the book.

  • Peggle- plays Bethoven's 9th Symphony at the end of each level with stars and rainbows and glitter, gives the player a feeling of accomplishment

  • Bloons- fun game on computer, but doesn't translate well to mobile phones as player must use finger, which blocks view

  • Plants vs. Zombies- they made the zombies almost as cute as the plants to keep the game light (I'm totally addicted to this one, it's a nice balance of strategy and action)

  • 4 minutes and 33 seconds of Uniqueness- an art game where the point of the game is to just be the only person in the world playing it for that long

  • Cooking Mama and Snapshot Adventures- turning everyday activities into a game

  • Mystery Case Files- Huntsville - I don't remember why this was mentioned, but I enjoyed it and it has potential for a new library game

  • Solitaire- first casual computer game, most widely played casual game, example of a sorting game

  • What to Wear- a Facebook game that uses opinions of many players for score

  • Snood, and Luxor- Matching/sorting games

  • Memory- object game

  • Bejeweled- object/matching game, very simple but fun

  • Tetris- object game, sorting game

  • Diner Dash- little role-playing (in comparison to Dungeons and Dragons, which is lots of role-playing

  • Azada- lots of mini-games, different types of puzzles, has created a developed world with beautiful graphics and story

  • Lego Fever- he talks about being involved in its development and how not having enough rules doesn't work

  • PuzzleQuest- matching and role-playing

  • Drop 7, Scrabble, Bookworm, Wurdle- sorting games

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two local game conferences coming up

I'm diving back into work after three wonderful weeks of, spent with my parents in Georgia, and 8 days in Paris/French Riviera with my former host family.

A post from Scott Nicholson on the ILI listserv is asking for proposals for the NASAGA annual conference, which is to be held in Valley Forge, PA, only 3 hours from here. I definitely plan to submit a proposal and am considering paying for at least one day myself. This looks like it's so focused on my interests, it would be so nice to meet some of the people attending.

The NASAGA (free to join, just did) Web site also pointed me to another local game conference, this one is next week in Harrisburg. That organization is called LEEF. They have an option to pay just $50 for the Friday afternoon teaser, which is tempting.

I've got lots of other things I should be doing, but I started working on a new game for our college's bicentennial and I really want to get back to that. And reading. It has been such a busy academic year I'm eager to get back to the fun stuff this summer!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Games books

I'm finding some games books that look not only interesting, but very practical. I haven't read any of these yet, but hope to do a lot of work on games later this summer (after my vacation!). The titles are:

  • Game On: Energize your Business with Social Media Games

  • Games-Based Marketing

  • The Gamification Handbook

  • Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success

  • Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

  • Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Haunted House Games

I decided to look for some Haunted House games after looking at Hidden Spirits on the History Channel's page. It made me think this genre might be good for a game on the spaces within the library (we recently had students do a video on this) or for the campus history archives game. Here are two of the good ones I found:

Haunted House game sponsored by K-Mart
Haunt the House

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Educational Games

I have found some new online games that have inspiration potential. I am currently looking for some ideas (online and real-world) for an archives game for our Scholar's Program during the college's bicentennial celebration next year. The goal is to use college history and archival materials (esp. pictures) to create a fun game.

The first I found is a state puzzle game called Place the State, where there are three modes of playing. In the beginner model, it's a puzzle where the player must drag the states into their correct location on a silhouette map of the US and once a state is placed it sticks. In the intermediate mode, the placed states disappear. In the advanced mode, the states disappear AND you have to name the capital of the state. Everything is timed. I'm thinking this could be adapted to college history where we give students an old map of the campus and they have to place buildings that don't exist anymore, and maybe answer a question about them.

The second game is called State that Plate. The player has a tray of state names and then license plates appear on a conveyor belt and you have to drag the state name to the right plate before it runs off the screen. You have up to 10 misses to get points. We could have archival pictures scroll by and students have to match a label or name to the picture.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Still alive

I have great intentions for getting back to this blog soon. My almost-nine-month-old is keeping me busy, as is being down a librarian at work. I have so much gaming material to post from ACRL, which has given me a boost of creative energy and excitement about games, though I wish I could also get some time to process what I learned and try out some new ideas as well. I can't complain, the baby is wonderful and I still love my job. I just saw this post from the Swiss Army Librarian about gamifying overdue fines, just as Sweden is starting to gamify speed limits. I like the idea of turning something as dull as overdue fines or speed limits into a simple game. I think a lot of insurance companies are doing this for good drivers and while it's not game-like fun, I still enjoy my $50 check each year. One other thing I've been thinking about as a new mom... I'm looking forward to becoming more familiar with children's games as Patrick gets older. It will be great to start out with the really simple games and see if they can be applied to library instruction. He's already into at least one game, but I haven't yet figured out how to use peek-a-boo in the classroom. I just don't think 18-22-year-olds will think it is near as hysterical as a baby does. And just because I have mentioned Patrick, and because it's my first post since he has been born, here's a totally gratuitous picture. I have no intention of turning this into a mommy blog, but reserve the right to mention him as it does relate to games.