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The Video Game Librarian is a site for librarians that offers tips and resources on how games can be integrated into your library. You’ve come to the right place if you’ve ever wondered how the ESRB works, wanted help building a core collection, or need to know how to put on a game tournament.

The Video Game Librarian will also host a weekly roundup of news about the latest game releases, as well as information on what other librarians are doing with games, and a catalog of game-related books to help your patrons dive deeper into the history of games. Continue reading

Max Brooks’s Minecraft: The Island Novel is Now Available

Mojang teamed up with Max Brooks (the author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide) to create the first official tie-in novel based on Minecraft. Titled Minecraft: The Island, the book is targeted at a younger audience and it’s available on store shelves today.

When writing Minecraft: The Island, Brooks found inspiration in classics like Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe to tell his own tale of survival and mystery:

Washed up on a beach, the lone castaway looks around the shore. Where am I? Who am I? And why is everything made of blocks? But there isn’t much time to soak up the sun. It’s getting dark, and there’s a strange new world to explore!

The top priority is finding food. The next is not becoming food. Because there are others out there on the island… like the horde of zombies that appear after night falls. Crafting a way out of this mess is a challenge like no other. Who could build a home while running from exploding creepers, armed skeletons, and an unstoppable tide of hot lava? Especially with no help except for a few makeshift tools and sage advice from an unlikely friend: a cow.

In this world, the rules don’t always make sense, but courage and creativity go a long way. There are forests to explore, hidden underground tunnels to loot, and undead mobs to defeat. Only then will the secrets of the island be revealed.

You can read the first chapter right now at the novel’s official website.

Best of E3 2017 Winners Selected by Game Critics Awards

e3Every year, the Game Critics Awards, a collection of editors from more than 40 major publications that cover the video game industry, get together to choose the best games at the E3 Expo.

While all of these titles are still in development, you should keep them in mind when you add games to your collection this Fall and into 2018.

Super Mario Odyssey was named “Best of Show,” and the full list of winners and nominees can be found below. Continue reading

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: The VGL Review

I’m sure you’re already very familiar with Mario Kart 8, especially if your library has a publicly-available Wii U console or a circulating collection of Wii U games. But Nintendo has decided to fill out the Switch’s launch window with an enhanced and updated version of the game known as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

I recently reviewed Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Warp Zoned, and it’s safe to say the game is just as essential the second time around:

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers all of the same options as its original Wii U incarnation from 2014. Recognizing that many players who purchase Deluxe also owned it on the Wii U, Nintendo has unlocked all characters and courses from the get-go, as well as the 200cc Class and Mirror Mode. All the DLC content, even the Mercedes Benz Pack, is also included at the start, and Nintendo added more than a dozen new kart parts and five new characters (Splatoon‘s Inklings, King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr.).

But all of this is just a prelude to the return of Battle Mode. Yes, Mario Kart 8 technically had a Battle Mode, but the jousting-style minigame was a huge disappointment, and I’m still baffled as to why Nintendo decided to do that to one of the franchise’s signature features. Thankfully, the Battle Mode in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe erases that horrible memory with multiple match types, all of which are exciting in their own way.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an all-caps MUST HAVE for all collections, and it’s now available for the Nintendo Switch.

This Week’s New Releases + Game News: May 29, 2017

vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week includes a trio of re-releases and a beautiful puzzle platformer.

Leading things off, Capcom released Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers for the Switch on Friday, May 26. The publisher is hoping that this re-release will introduce the arcade classic to an entirely new generation, but it also includes a brand new first-person minigame, new color variations for all characters, and two new fighters (Evil Ryu and Violent Ken).

Another re-release that made its way to the Switch this week was courtesy of NIS America. The import house launched Disgaea 5 Complete on Nintendo’s console, which includes the original strategy RPG and all of its downloadable content.

THQ Nordic also brought the original Darksiders to the Wii U as Darksiders: Warmastered Edition. This new version of the action/adventure game include enhanced visuals and redone graphical effects, and was previously released for the PS4 and Xbox One.

But if you’re looking for new and never-before-seen games this week, Tequila Works brought their puzzle platformer Rime to the PS4 and Xbox One. Featuring a unique and moody graphical style, the exploration game should offer an interesting change of pace.

More “New Retail Releases” can be found at Warp Zoned, and this week’s “News Headlines” are available after the break. Continue reading

Splatoon Manga Will be Released in Fall 2017

CoroCoro Comics published a manga series based on Nintendo’s Splatoon in Japan after the game’s launch in 2015. Serialized in CoroCoro magazine, the series, which was written and illustrated by Sankichi Hinodeya, was eventually compiled in two volumes.

This weekend, Viz Media announced (via Twitter) that they’re translating it into English for a North American release this Fall.

Fans will also get the chance to dive back into the world of Splatoon this July when Splatoon 2 launches for the Nintendo Switch.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review @ School Library Journal

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has absolutely captivated gamers across the world since its launch on March 3. I’ve even seen some commentators go so far as to say that it’ll change the way we think about video games. But even if you haven’t upgraded to a Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s newest console, you can still give the sprawling RPG adventure a shot on the Wii U.

Teen Librarian Alanna Graves recently played through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as part of a review for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox, and she agrees that it’s something special:

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the launch game that was simultaneously released with Nintendo’s newest console, Nintendo Switch, which came out in mid-March. In my opinion, Breath of the Wild is by far the best game in 2017, although I have been playing it on my Wii U, not the Switch. I still am not wholly convinced to spend $330-$400 on a Switch, but I’ll keep you posted if I ever cave.

I recommend this game to teens and adults who are fans of Zelda games, because I think it’s one of the best Zelda games in the last 10 years.

After putting a few dozen hours into the game myself, I agree that exploring Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an almost magical experience, and should be a requirement for all circulating collections.

Udon Will Publish a Shovel Knight: Official Design Works Artbook in August

We’re still waiting patiently for the release of those children’s books based on Shovel Knight (they’re currently scheduled to arrive in stores on April 18), but it looks like you’ll be able to purchase yet another tome featuring the titular knight later this Summer.

According to a new listing on Amazon, Udon Entertainment will publish Shovel Knight: Official Design Works on August 29. The artbook will include 184 pages of images from the game, as well as new information about Shovel Knight from the development team at Yacht Club Games:

Shovel Knight: Official Design Works collects the fun and original artwork behind this landmark title. Inside you’ll find key art, character concepts, enemy designs, sprite sheets, unused ideas, and an all-new Shovel Knight tribute art gallery! This epic tome is also packed with creator commentary, as well as exclusive interview with the Yacht Club Games team.

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment, the newest expansion to Shovel Knight’s side-scrolling adventure, will be available to download for the PC beginning tomorrow. If missed its Nintendo Switch launch last month, you might not know that it’s an AMAZING addition to the franchise.