Hello!! Digital Games and Digital Libraries Before we start… I am not a librarian too… Presentation by John Kirriemuir (no beard!) and “Lucky the dog”
In this presentation • Overview of games and gamers. • Some learning using digital games. • 12 areas of interest to the wider library community. • Online games: World of Warcraft and Second Life. • The attributes of a gamer.
Awareness • Often from own children who play games. • Gamers do things really quickly … pick up objects … aggregate objects … manipulate objects. • If you don’t play digital games, you are less likely to discuss games with your peers.
Digital games and game players What … • Often complex, difficult, involving, thought-provoking, interactive (as opposed to reactive), graphically intense, instantaneously responsive, multi-threaded, multi-interface, social multiplayer games. • Video games have been around for ~30 years. Old enough to be considered no longer a “fad”, more a mainstream entertainment culture. • Things have moved on a bit in those 30 years. Take tennis, for example:
Digital games and game players Who … There are many, many surveys. Most focus on the US games market. Key trends and facts: • About 35% to 45% of digital game players are female. • Average number of years adult gamers have been playing computer or video games: 12 • Frequent game players in 2003: 83 million worldwide • Game play is displacing other media-centric activities, especially watching television. Online game play is a key driver in Internet use and broadband take-up.
More who: social gaming People play against friends, neighbours, work colleagues and family. The top four reasons parents play video games with their children: • 79% Because they’re asked to • 75% It’s fun for the entire family • 71% It’s a good opportunity to socialise with the child • 62% It’s a good opportunity to monitor game content (ESA 2006 survey) • In the US, 32% of heads of households report they play games on wireless devices such as a cell phone or PDA. • Again in the US, 58% online game players are male, 42% of female.
More who: Neilsen entertainment survey According to a Nielsen entertainment survey, men spend more on computer games than they do on music. It also found that games are starting to attract significant numbers of players beyond the core target market of males aged eight to 34. “Almost a quarter of gamers, 24%, are over 40 years, said the report.” It found that 40% of US homes own a PC, game console or handheld gaming device. Almost a quarter of these, 23%, own all three types of gaming gadget and the vast majority of gamers, 89%, do their playing via a console. From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4423365.stm
Digital games and game players Where … • At home. • Friends / relatives homes. • School / college / university. • Travel to school. • Travel to work. • At work. • When “roaming”. • (in the library…?).
Digital games and game players When … • Whenever a person wants to. • (Online mobile games) whenever you are in range of a wifi hotspot so you can play against other people. • Mobile, persistent and online gaming means a player can drop in or out of a game to suit their needs. • Small portable devices with lit screens and increasingly long battery lives mean there are few situations where gaming is not possible (scuba diving?).
Wario Ware and Nintendogs Wario Ware • 200+ mini games in one game • Each mini game lasts 5 seconds • Use the stylus on the screen, or blow into the mic • In the 5 seconds, you must: • Figure out what to do • Do it Nintendogs • You own a dog • Teach it through voice commands • Take it for walks, play with it, feed it
My cousin is off to University… Here’s his electrical items list: • Xbox 360 <- games • Television (to play Xbox on) • Watch <- games • Digital Camera • Ipod • PSP <- games • Laptop computer <- games • Hoover / vacuum cleaner • Mobile phone <- games • Blackberry <- games (soon) (btw whatever happened to “convergence”?)
Digital games and game players How … • Handheld games console e.g. DS, PSP • Games console operated through TV • PC • Video game arcades • Mobile phones • PDAs • Front headseat on a plane • Keyring device e.g. digital pet keeper • … any other devices with a chip inside e.g. Internet-connected fridge
How many sold? • PS2: 106 million by November 2005 • Xbox: 24 million • GameCube: 21 million • Xbox 360: 5.05 million • GameBoy: 70 million • GBA: 75 million • PSP: 20 million • DS: 22 million • 718 video games have sold over 1 million copies each • Super Mario Bros (NES): 41 million copies sold
Digital games and game players Why … A lot of research into this, especially learning psychology. Two (related) oft-said questions: 1. “Why does someone voluntarily do the same repetitive task in a game over and over?” 2. “How can this enthusiasm / keenness / determination / focus be transferred to learning situations?”
…and here’s why (question 1) • Because games are difficult. • In addition to completing the game, there is the challenge of figuring out what to do and how to do it i.e. mastering the game. • They present a challenge (like crosswords, sudoko). • They appeal to the curiosity of people. • Often a game presents instant feedback to the player on his or her actions. • The learning curve of a good digital game is: • not too easy (will get bored) • not too hard (will get frustrated) • something that opens up new parts of the game (and provide other “rewards”) in return for in-game skill development. • encouraging a sense of “just one more go” in the player.
Learning …using digital games
Interest JISC Strategy 2004-2006: “In the home, set-top boxes together with digital television and games consoles are increasing the proportion of the population with access to online interactive services and may offer new opportunities for learning to reach more people.”
Resistance to widespread use • “Violence” : players become psychopaths • “Addiction” : how much play is too much • “Accuracy” : of content • “Relevance” : to the curriculum • The difficulty in identifying those games which are suitable (explicitly fit in with the curriculum)
(More) resistance to widespread use • “If learning is fun then it cannot be learning”. “Learning wasn’t fun in my day.” • Effects on the younger generation e.g. (from earlier in Ticer event): “Young people will lose the ability to hold paper”
Digital games in learning: how? “Games are widely used as educational tools, not just for pilots, soldiers and surgeons, but also in schools and businesses…. Games require players to construct hypotheses, solve problems, develop strategies, learn the rules of the in-game world through trial and error. Gamers must also be able to juggle several different tasks, evaluate risks and make quick decisions…. Playing games is, thus, an ideal form of preparation for the workplace of the 21st century, as some forward-thinking firms are already starting to realise.” The Economist, August 4, 2005
The body of research • Huge amount of research into the use of digital games in learning, teaching and education. • Older research primarily in the psychology and sociology fields; more recent (1998+) in education fields. Problems • Unfortunately rather less research is based in actual learning situations. • “Violent video games” get all the media headlines, making implementation much more difficult. • Very complex issues at the learning and skill enhancement levels. • Measuring their effectiveness (i.e. “do they work?”).
Digital games in learning: where • Major part of the UK sector. Software market for schools = 130,000,000 pounds per year (core market). • Large numbers of digital games developed with curriculum relevance in mind: • Audited against national curriculum • Tested by teachers and educators • Mainly in primary schools (age 4 to 12) but increasingly in secondary • Smaller number of schools (less than 500) use COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) games such as Zoo Tycoon for cross-curricular learning.
Digital games in education Examples of use: • Historical simulations • Planning and architecture • Problem solving (instant response) • Economics and financial management • Literacy (major success with Myst) • Physics (gravity, vectors, acceleration) • Chemistry • Cultural studies and religion Cross-curricula games very popular
Zoo Tycoon • Build a zoo and populate it with animals • Stay on budget • Pay for feed, staff, animals, vets bills Used in schools for: • Maths • Economics and finance • Biome • Ethics (should animals be caged?) • Planning and design
Digital games in health Examples of use: • Pain relief and distraction • Rehabilitation • Surgery skill increase • Diabetes awareness • Easing carpal tunnel syndrome • Mental health and sharpness (Brain Train!) • Acting out domestic and social situations • Social and communication development www.gamesforhealth.org
Digital games in getting fit! • Dance Dance Revolution and similar installed in many schools and colleges in the US e.g. every school in West Virginia. Results are very clear, but only work best in school environment with e.g. healthy food. • In UK, school resistance to games has meant lone teachers have done their own thing. Martyn Thompson, head of P.E. at Groby Community College (14 to 19 year olds), Leicestershire, UK (pictures authorised by same). Lunchtime and after-school optional classes.
Two models of teaching Typical assumption is that every student would use an individual copy of the game, working in isolation. No! Most effective models of teaching require great social interaction. Both models require: • communication-based participation by all participants. • the teacher and game being the axis on which the lesson runs.
1. Teacher as guide The teacher has control of the game, and leads the class through appropriate scenarios. The class have to tackle the appropriate scenario before moving on. Game control is passed around, or the teacher retains it for the duration of the exercise. Usually uses one computer and a projector.
2. Teacher as referee The class is split into different teams. The teams collaborate internally, and use the game to “compete” against each other e.g. which team can develop the most economically stable city using an urban planning simulator. The teacher sets the task, answers queries, helps the teams to an appropriate extent, adjudicates, and leads the class debriefing.
Impact 12 areas where libraries and digital games collide…
1. Preservation “Here at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France we deal with legal deposits of video games. Since 1992, video games are part of patrimonial collections. Every video game distributed in France must send in two copies to the French national library. Our missions are based on exhaustively collecting these kinds of documents as we do with others, cataloguing, and preserving in order to ensure long term access for researchers. We work closely to the game community to defend the game as a document and an object for scientific research.” Relatively problematic; needs a lot of resources.
2. Keep kids quiet in public libraries “I don't know if this counts, but at my library we're just starting to have video games in our After-School Zone. Kids and teens can go in from 3:15 until 5:00 every day and get a small snack, study or play games. We get a lot of latchkey kids, and we figured that if we entertain them, they're less likely to get into trouble, and they'll be less likely to clump up on the public computers. Originally we'd wanted to buy a set of laptops for the After-School Zone, but we couldn't work out the computer issues. The video games were a second-best solution.” Allison Angell, Head Youth Services Librarian Benicia (California) Public Library
3. Get people into the (public) library “Check out our newest public library branch in South Carolina – called the Carvers Bay Branch Library. We opened the library two weeks ago with 10 Xbox 360s and 8 gaming PCs, and we plan to use them to persuade young people to register for library cards and to read: the games will serve as the hook for more library usage. The library is located right in front of a high school and middle school campus in the poorest, rural area of our county where illiteracy is currently 30% and library card registration is only 2%.” Dwight McInvaill Director, Georgetown County Library
4. Circulating games • A small but growing number of public libraries loan out games. Issues include: • budget • age ratings • formats • identifying the best games to stock • John Scalzo, librarian, ran a game loan scheme for a year: “…at the end of the first year, having games in a library has been a complete success. They are popular with adults, children and teens and I've only heard the faintest of grumblings (mostly from older patrons) questioning why a library would carry, scoff, games. They are an accepted part of the collection now and it's hard to ask for anything more than that.”
5. Circulating support materials When people play digital games, they use a wide variety of materials. This is a little-researched area i.e. the effects on literacy through games support. Materials include: • magazines and newspapers (print, online) • walk-throughs (print, online) • cheats e.g. codes you type in (print, online) • maps (print, online) • interactive guides (online) • game forums (online) • blogs and websites (online) • tips from friends (online, social) • team-based playing/support (online, social)
6. (Ab)using the library network • Problem in UK universities. Halls of residence networks where students have a network point in each room becoming choked with Xbox Live traffic. • Wireless hotspots around campus could be taken up by Internet-based mobile or online gaming (Laptop, PSP, DS). • Playing a digital game has a different timeframe to searching a library catalogue: • library catalogue search: 20 seconds to 2 minutes • flash, shockwave, Java game: typically a few minutes • PSP/DS game: 10 minutes to an hour • PC game e.g. simulation: 20 minutes to a few hours • Online RPG game e.g. World of Warcraft: 6 hours+ common
Wireless hotspot in your library “Visitors to the British Library will be able to get wireless internet access alongside the extensive information available in its famous reading rooms. A study revealed that 86% of visitors to the Library carried laptops. The technology has been on trial since May (2004) and usage levels make the Library London's most active public hotspot.” BBC News website, November 18th 2004