In Defense of Video Games in the Library

Many of the teens in the Teen Center are passionate about gaming. At first glance video games appear to be the anti-book; the idea of 2-4 teens teaming up behind a glowing television screen to slaughter morphed and mutated humans is not exactly the picture of traditional literacy. However, even something as simple as informally chatting with a teen about a videogame can be an engaging and informative literacy activity in disguise. For instance, the other day one of our teen regulars was telling me how excited he was to go over his friend’s house and play Resident Evil 5, a notoriously scary and violent game. I began by asking “That game sounds cool, what’s the setting?” The teen and I went on to talk about where the game took place, and in which time period it occurred (When do you think it takes place? Do they have cell phones, if so you know it must have been within the past 20ish years because they didn’t have cell phones before that). I went on to discuss the story development, characters and roles, and climax. The teen did not instantly become an expert on story structure; however, our conversation did set the groundwork for future discussions of story structure via a subject that will be both engaging and relatable.

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