A Weeklong Series at Waypoint Examines Gaming in Prison Libraries

Waypoint (the video game arm of Vice) has announced plans to publish “At Play In the Carceral State,” a series of articles this week about the intersection of gaming and prisons. It’s not a corner of the games culture that you hear much about, and part of their focus will be devoted to the way prison libraries play a role in giving inmates access to games during their incarceration.

Waypoint’s Editor-In-Chief, Austin Walker, laid out their mission for the series in a letter to the site’s readers:

When I’ve explained this series to people, one of the most common responses has been a sort of awkward bewilderment. Games and… prisons? Play and the… ‘carceral state’?

On first blush, they’re an odd pairing, but a closer look reveals that games are a natural locus for this contention. They are concerned with boundaries, limitations, and rules—the hand of cards you’re dealt; the empty energy meter that prevents you from using your powers; the invisible walls and infinite, uncrossable seas which border otherwise vast open worlds. Yet they also enable players to experiment, explore, and defy expectations as they respond to those limits. And it’s that tension where games are at their most powerful—perhaps even their most utopian.

The first article from “At Play In the Carceral State” is Inside the Gaming Library at Gitmo, America’s Controversial Military Prison, a look inside the Detainee Library at Guantanamo Bay by Muira McCammon:

Over the past 15 years, many detainees have requested and read books from the Detainee Library. Journalists have actively documented what titles appear on the shelves, and in recent years, the inventory has grown to include not only DVDs, but also PS3 games.

But the library remains a labyrinth, a facility full of thorny questions. This summer, Waypoint sent me to the Detainee Library, to figure out what happened to the games at Gitmo.

New articles will be added to the series all week.

Pokemon! How Two Libraries Scored Major Points With A Game Craze @ Programming Librarian

pokemongoAre your patrons still crazy for Pokemon Go? If so, then you’ll want to check out “Pokemon! How Two Libraries Scored Major Points With A Game Craze,” a presentation for Programming Librarian recently hosted by Cari Rérat (the Director at Pryor Creek’s Thomas J. Harrison Pryor Public Library) and Darcie Smith (the Community Outreach Librarian at British Columbia’s Prince George Public Library).

During the presentation, they discuss how Pokemon Go has helped bring new patrons to their libraries:

Wondering how you can use your library’s status as a PokeStop or gym to your advantage? Two librarians share how they’re using the excitement around Pokemon Go to revitalize programming and introduce new patrons to the library.


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Even More Programming Ideas For Pokemon Go @ School Library Journal

pokemongoPokemon Go is still incredibly popular with gamers the world over, but the intense furor surrounding the game has cooled considerably since its launch in July. However, Karen Jensen of School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox has pulled together another batch of programming ideas to go along with the app, and they might just get your library patrons “Pokemon-ing” again:

Because Pokemon Go is played by people of all ages, we specifically chose to make this an all ages event, which proved to be a very wise move. We had a lot of families come that were obviously enjoying playing the game together. Our event lasted for 5 hours and we placed a lure (a lure draws Pokemon to your location) every half hour. A lot of people came and stayed the entire time and it was fun to see them sitting around talking and then get up to go somewhere and catch a Pokemon. At one point someone declared that Pikachu was nearby and there was an excited mass exodus. As far as I know no one caught Pikachu that night, but they sure did have a fun time trying.

In addition to some very creative Pokemon-themed decorations, Jensen’s programming ideas include “Pin the Tail On Pikachu,” “Pikachu Ears,” and Pokeball Coloring.”


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Old Issues of Nintendo Power Have Been Added to the Internet Archive

nintendopowerUPDATE: All issues of Nintendo Power have been removed from the Internet Archive.

If you’ve got patrons interested in the history of video games, you may want to point them towards the Internet Archive and their collection of back issues of Nintendo Power. The magazine got its start in the late 80s, and quickly became a very popular publication for readers who wanted to learn more about Nintendo consoles and handhelds.

As of today, the Internet Archive has digitized more than 100 issues of Nintendo Power, which covers more than half of the magazine’s complete 24-year run. So there’s still a few holes, but every issue from Nintendo’s NES-Super NES-Nintendo 64 heyday is just a click away.

Pokemon Go Battle Map for Libraries @ International Games Day Blog

pokemongoPokemon Go has become one of the most popular mobile apps of all time, so it’s not surprising that the American Library Association is making it a big part of this year’s International Games Day @ Your Library.

Over at the ALA’s International Games Day @ Your Library Blog, they’ve created a Pokemon Go Battle Map for Libraries, so librarians can report which of the game’s three teams (Mystic, Valor, or Instinct) currently control the Gym closest to their library:

As part of the fun activities of this year’s IGD, we are hosting a Library Pokemon Battle Map which shows team leadership at gyms at libraries all over the world. Librarians can report which Pokemon Team is in control of their library’s Pokemon Gym using the Pokemon battle form. Once you have entered your library’s information, you will have the option to edit the form to update the information as it changes each day or as often as you would like.

It’s a fun idea to add a little bit more competition to the game, especially on this year’s International Games Day @ Your Library, which will be held on Saturday, November 19.


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How-To Guide for Hosting a Hearthstone Tournament @ International Games Day Blog

hearthstoneHearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a very popular Online Collectible Card Game (CCG) that’s based on Blizzard’s equally popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Like Magic: The Gathering, another popular CCG, Hearthstone is built for tournament play and it’s actually very easy to set up a local tournament in your library.

How easy is it? The ALA’s International Games Day @ Your Library blog recently posted a How-To Guide to help any librarians who are interested in setting up their own tournaments:

Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital collectible card game based on the popular game “World of Warcraft”. The game itself is fairly simple to play but has a lot of strategic depth which has made it quite popular as a competitive game. Running a tournament for Hearthstone may at first seem like a daunting challenge but is actually rather accessible for even the least experienced of tournament organizers and can be done for little to no cost at all.

How to Make Your Library a PokeStop in Pokemon Go

pokemongoWhile many libraries are listed as PokeStops or Gyms in Pokemon Go, not every one is. However, if you want to add your library to the game, developer Niantic has set up a simple procedure to make the request…

1. Go to the Pokemon Go Support page on Niantic’s website.

2. Select “How do I create a new PokeStop or Gym” under the “Submit a Request” drop-down.

3. Fill out the rest of the form with your library’s information.

Due to the overwhelming number of requests that Niantic receives from this form, the option to add a PokeStop or Gym won’t always be available on the Pokemon Go Support page. But keep checking back and eventually you’ll get your chance.

If you want to remove your library as a PokeStop or Gym from the game, or there’s a problem with a PokeStop or Gym near your library, Niantic has set up a separate form on the Pokemon Go Support page.


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Teen Programming Ideas for Pokemon Go @ School Library Journal

pokemongoWhere were you when Pokemon-ia swept through your library? If you’re like Teen Librarian Alanna Graves, you put together a huge number of Pokemon Go Programming Ideas for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox:

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Pokemon Go, the newest app that inspires gamers to GO OUTSIDE! Many libraries have already utilized Pokemon Go as social media content, book display inspiration, and promotional material. Instead of focusing on what Pokemon Go is and how to play, this article is going to focus on doing Pokemon Go themed programs for teens.

There’s a lot of good ideas there including a “Pokemon Safari,” “Pokeball Target Practice,” “Pokemon Theme Song Lip Sync Battle,” and more. Gotta try ’em all!


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