Welcome to The Video Game Librarian

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The Video Game Librarian is a site for librarians that will offer 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. Continue reading

This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 29, 2015

New Retail Releases
vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week is Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, Xbox One), the finale of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham. Following up on the critically-acclaimed (and very popular) Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, Arkham Knight follows Batman as he battles an army of supervillains led by Scarecrow.

Other New Retail Releases

New Release Round-Up For Downloadable Games

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This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 22, 2015

The video game industry’s annual showcase of what’s next, the E3 Expo, took place last week in Los Angeles. Be sure to continue reading for the inside scoop on everything that’s in the works at all the major (and minor) game producers… organized alphabetically by title.

New Retail Releases
vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week is Payday 2: Crimewave Edition (PS4, Xbox One), more or less by default. Game publishers typically avoid releasing new titles during the E3 Expo and Overkill’s cooperative heist sim was this week’s only retail release. That said, its gotten great reviews and is a good choice for players looking for something different from the Call of Duty/Halo crowd.

New Release Round-Up For Downloadable Games

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This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 15, 2015

New Retail Releases
vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week is Lego Jurassic World (3DS, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One), a game adaptation of the four Jurassic Park films using Lego bricks. The “Lego _____” series has produced hit-after-hit and they’re popular with kids, families, and adults. Not only are the games in the series easy to pick up, but they’re often very funny too. The new film broke all sorts of box office records and I’ve got equally high hopes for the game.

Other New Retail Releases

New Release Round-Up For Downloadable Games

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This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 8, 2015

New Retail Releases

New Release Round-Up For Downloadable Games

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Get to Know the ESRB Ratings

Regardless of what some people think, not all video games are appropriate for players of all ages. Some games are actually designed solely for adults and children should most definitely NOT be playing them. So when choosing a video game (or helping a patron choose a game), it’s important to check the ESRB rating of the game to determine if it is age-appropriate for the person who will be playing it.

ESRB ratings work very similar to the MPAA ratings given to movies. In fact, the ESRB originally approached the MPAA about sharing the familiar G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 ratings, but the MPAA said no. Instead, games are rated by a panel of full-time ESRN raters who judge video footage of games supplied by publishers or developers that is supposed to include a general overview of the game including the storyline and any hidden areas.

The ESRB rating will appear on the front cover of every game and on the back cover along with additional “Content Descriptors” that describe events that will occur in a game. The rating of any game (along with more information on the ESRB as an organization, the complete rating process, and details of enforcement) can be found online at ESRB.org.

Below, you’ll find a quick rundown of each rating. Continue reading

This Week’s New Releases + Game News: June 1, 2015

New Retail Releases
vgl-pickThe Video Game Librarian Pick of the Week is Splatoon (Wii U), Nintendo’s entry into the team-based shooter category. But instead of gruff military guys, Splatoon is populated by kids who have the ability to transform into squids. They use this power to literally paint the map and the object isn’t to get the most kills (though you can still do that), but to cover more of the floor with your team’s color.

Other New Retail Releases
ArcaniA: The Complete Tale (PS4)

New Release Round-Up For Downloadable Games

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VGL Classic: Interview With David Carter, Librarian at Michigan Game Archive

This article is from the first edition of The Video Game Librarian website I published between 2008 and 2010. It was originally written on November 7, 2008.

When it comes to scholarly research and preservation, video games are not usually at the top of the list for librarians. After books and music and movies and about a hundred other things, there’s not much attention left over for games. But some people out there are attempting to change that. One of those people is David Carter, a librarian at the newly opened University of Michigan Computer and Video Game Archive.

Michigan’s Game Archive is a “usable archive” that allows students and professors the chance to come in and sit down with a variety of video games, both retro and modern titles alike. The archive is currently in preview mode with shortened hours, but the big Grand Opening has been scheduled for November 17. I recently had a chance to talk to David about what the archive is doing, what their plans for the future are, the challenges of running a game archive and what people have been playing (you’ll be surprised).

So hit the “Read Full Post” link for the lengthy interview. Continue reading