Welcome to The Video Game Librarian


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 site will also host a weekly roundup of the latest game releases and industry news, as well as a catalog of game-related books to help your patrons dive deeper into the history of games. And, of course, information on what other librarians are doing with games and upcoming conferences. Continue reading

A Report from ALA’s Games and Gaming Round Table About the 2016 ALA Conference


The American Library Association hosted the ALA Annual Conference this weekend in Orlando, and Brian Mayer, the incoming President of the ALA’s Games and Gaming Round Table, provided a quick wrap-up of the event at ALA Connect:

Two big things that we will be working on is this coming year is consolidating the voice of the GameRT, providing a central outreach to membership and publishers that speaks to all of the ways that they can be involved. The second is increasing our outreach and communication with the membership, creating conversational spaces and resources where members and interests are. So look for GameRT communities to pop up in Steam, BGG, and more.

Mayer also quickly covered ALAPlay, the Gaming Lounge, and a number of events and panels that were held over the weekend.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Novel Series Will Begin This August

masseffectandromedainitiationEA and BioWare will help produce a quartet of novels that will bridge the gap between the events of Mass Effect 3, and those of its upcoming sequel, Mass Effect: Andromeda.

The novels were outed by a “Rights Guide” from Titan Books, and the first, Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation, will be written by N.K. Jemisin and released this August. Jemisin is an award-winning fantasy author, and her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, was nominated for a Hugo, a Nebula, and a World Fantasy Award.

Titan plans to sell the novel series to readers by promising to “answer the many questions fans have been asking”:

While earlier Mass Effect games focused on the defense of the Milky Way galaxy, with humans pitted against a race of ruthless mechanical invaders known as the Reapers, the new story will take the game in a dramatic new direction and is set in a new region of space, with a new and deadly enemy.

The novels will act as prequel and sequels to the events in the games and will become part of the overarching Mass Effect saga. They will focus on key characters and answer the many questions fans have been asking.

The series will continue with Novel 2 in March 2017 and Novel 3 in September 2017, though an author wasn’t announced for either book. The concluding volume, Novel 4, will be written by BioWare’s Mac Walters, and will be published in March 2018.

This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 27, 2016

vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week is a tie between two Nintendo-published titles: Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE and Mario & Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE is an RPG for the Wii U that drops the medieval adventurers from a Fire Emblem-like adventure into a present-day version of Tokyo inspired by the Persona series. Developed by Atlus, it’s a unique title that’ll to a lot of people, and especially to fans of Japanese RPGs.

Meanwhile, Mario & Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games makes its Wii U debut a few weeks ahead of the actual Games, and it offers the usual mix of Olympic sports and mascot competition.

Also of note this week is Mighty No. 9 (PS4, Wii U, Xbox One), a new side-scrolling platformer from Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega Man. Famously funded through Kickstarter a few years ago, Mighty No. 9 has been delayed several times, but retro gaming fans are very curious to see how Inafune’s return to the genre turned out.

All Links in “This Week’s New Releases + Game News” are Provided by Warp Zoned.

New Release Round-Up

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This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 20, 2016

vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week is Minecraft: Wii U Edition and Ori and the Blind Forest.

Most game publishers won’t release new games during E3 week, so the appearance of Minecraft: Wii U Edition on store shelves is great for librarians looking to fill out their Wii U collection with a title they know everyone will love. Minecraft’s Wii U Edition is the same virtual playground that we all know and love, but it also includes the Super Mario Mash-up Pack expansion, which adds Mario-themed characters, textures, and music to the game.

Also available this week is Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition, an enhanced and expanded version of the well-received “MetroidVania” for the PC and Xbox One. Players will still be able to guide young Ori through the forest of Nibel, but the Definitive Edition will add new areas, new abilities, more story sequences, and multiple difficulty modes to the game.

All Links in “This Week’s New Releases + Game News” are Provided by Warp Zoned.

New Release Round-Up

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International Games Day 2016 Registration is Now Open

internationalgamesday2016The American Library Association has announced that registration for the 2016 International Games Day @ Your Library is now open:

This year many donations will be managed through this blog. You can subscribe to the blog to receive updates about donations, resources, and information on running a successful event.

You must register to be eligible for donations. Donations are available while supplies last.

A Press Kit to help you plan your IGD@YL event is also available.

Journey: Collector’s Edition Review @ School Library Journal

journeycollectorseditionVideo games fans have been waiting patiently for the next project from ThatGameCompany for several years now. But while we continue to wait, the developer has repackaged its slightly abstract catalog (Flow, Flower, and Journey) in a PS3 and PS4 compilation known as Journey: Collector’s Edition.

Journey: Collector’s Edition was released in 2012, but Teen Librarian Alanna Graves recently reviewed it for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox. And she found it as magical as many other video game fans have:

Journey has all the right elements to make it a staple in the gaming industry: breath taking graphics, an excellent soundtrack, an intimate feeling when playing with other players, and a strong emotional response. I highly recommend this title for circulating library collections, as well as teachers/librarians trying to use it for programs!

The PS3 version of Journey: Collector’s Edition was released on a Blu-ray disc, but the PS4 version of the game is only available as a download through the PlayStation Store.

This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 13, 2016

vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week is, believe it or not, a three-fer.

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is a first-person action game from DICE, the same team responsible for Star Wars: Battlefront. Available for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is a prequel/reboot to 2008’s Mirror’s Edge, which was a cult favorite among gamers for its focus on acrobatic wallrunning over gunplay. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst will appeal to fans of the favorite, as well as anyone looking for something different from the first-person genre.

Kirby: Planet Robobot is the latest side-scrolling platformer in Nintendo’s Kirby franchise. This time, the pink puffball has to stop an alien invasion using his copy abilities… but he’ll also pilot a giant mech to bring the fight directly to the extraterrestrials. Kirby: Planet Robobot is an all ages title that should appeal to fans of platformer games and Nintendo-published titles.

Finally, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir (PS4, PS3, Vita) is a high definition remaster of Odin Sphere, a side-scrolling RPG originally released for the PS2 in 2007. Developed by Vanillaware and published by Atlus, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir draws on Norse mythology for its storyline and features beautiful hand-drawn graphics. RPG fans will definitely enjoy this one.

All Links in “This Week’s New Releases + Game News” are Provided by Warp Zoned.

New Release Round-Up

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Superhot: The VGL Review

superhotSuperhot is an amazing puzzle-based first person shooter that was recently released for the PC and Xbox One. Trapped in a VR world, players have to carefully plan their shots to take out a group of rapidly approaching Red Guys, but the twist is that time only moves when you do.

Superhot’s only available as a digital download right now, so it would be hard to add to a circulating collection, but here’s a review of the game I wrote for Warp Zoned:

“Time Moves Only When You Move.”

The developers behind Superhot know exactly what their minimalist first-person shooter is all about, and this succinct summation of the game’s hook is the perfect way to describe it to anyone unfamiliar with the game. It also tells prospective players that Superhot isn’t just a fast-paced arcade shooter (though it can be). Instead, it’s a deliberately-paced puzzle game where methodically figuring out the correct series of actions to complete each level is the only way to move forward. Even if you’ve never played a first person shooter before, it’s possible to pick up Superhot and understand what the game’s devilish AI has in store for you.