The Top Ten Best Games Ever @ Library Journal

M. Brandon Robbins has decided to step down as the author behind Library Journal’s monthly “Games, Gamers, & Gaming” column. But before he left, Robbins published a retrospective look back at his personal picks for the “Top Ten Best Games Ever.”

So head over to the Library Journal‘s site to see why he picked what he picked…

For five years, I’ve been honored to talk to LJ’s readers about games, the people who play them, and how bringing gaming into the library can help connect with patrons. Now, the time has come to pass the joystick to others. For my final play, this is the article I’ve been wanting to write since the beginning: my picks for the top ten greatest video games ever made.

10. Frogger
9. Tetris
8. Super Mario Bros.
7. Halo: Combat Evolved
6. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
5. Batman: Arkham Asylum
4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3. Half-Life 2
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
1. [SPOILERS! YOU’LL HAVE TO READ THE ARTICLE TO FIND OUT]

It’s a good selection of games. Tetris is a tad too low for my taste, but definitely a good list.

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.

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 “Continue Reading” link for the lengthy interview. Continue reading