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.

  3 comments for “In Defense of Video Games in the Library

  1. gregory
    May 8, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    The non-linear structure of many games is important, too. Take Roblox and Minecraft: these games have modes where players can build their own levels and create their own landscapes with no goal other than constructing an environment from their imagination. Often, these players participate in an online community who work together to build something grander reinforcing good teamwork, communication, and creativity skills.

    Sometimes building 21st Century skills requires 21st Century activities and video games are a great example of this.

    • May 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      I’ve been super into trying to get some sort of Minecraft or Roblox program together since seeing them at the Village Hotspot.

      I’m also super into the fact that they really are a digital playground in which you can build around the narratives/stories you generate in play.

      Kinda got me tinkering on those Kindle Fires we scavenged from LEAP, after wiping them and installing a new version of android Minecraft Pocket Edition works!

      Going forward I wonder how we can run programs with it, will it be generated from story, a building challenge, some sort of design exercise, redstone circuitry, or just freeplay?

  2. bobby
    May 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Really great points, thanks!

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