Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Top 10: Gaming in the Library

The first Saturday in November is now reserved for International Games Day, and I happen to love it.  I know it may tweak some librarians (IT’S NOT READING!!!!) but gaming is literacy if you know what to look for, and it’s an important tool in the 40 Developmental Aspects for Teens (and for younger kids as well).  I’ve had teens that wouldn’t talk to each other work together on video games and puzzles, and those that weren’t joiners crow after winning a difficult round of Monopoly.  So, for International Games Day, I’ve compiled a list of my Top Ten, both in books and games.  (and Happy Birthday to Karen!!)

For The Win by Cory Doctorow.  Struggling to make a living in the video game world, teens from across the world combine to fight the battle not only in the video game world but in real life….

Monopoly.  My tweens and teens love ANY version of Monopoly that I can get my hands on, and a game will go on for 5-6 hours.  We play by house rules:  any money from taxes goes into Free Parking, and they can make alliances, trade properties, etc.  Your house rules may be a bit different, but teens definitely get into the game.

Super Smash Bros Brawl by Nintendo.  It’s been on a variety of the Nintendo platforms, and currently is available on the Wii, and kids of all ages love playing it.  I have really good success having tournaments, and I know that for Game Day libraries across the country have set up cross-country battles.  I always think it’s funny because I’m pretty good at it, and my teens will get someone unsuspecting to play, and I’ll be the Princess, and go to town with an umbrella or an onion.

Unidentified by Rae Mariz.  When Katey’s attempt at self-thought brings her the attention of the sponsors, will it be her big break, or selling out to the corporations in control?

Zombie Fluxx by Looney Labs.  The rules and goals are ever changing, so you have to read VERY carefully and pay attention in order to win this very challenging game.  And watch out for Larry!

Little Big Planet 1 & 2.  My kids really like going through the different levels available, and those that play solo have discovered the challenges of designing their own courses, and then having their friends play through.  We’ve even had a teen night where one set will be designing their course, and then the second half will play through and they’ll vote on the best level.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  When gamer Wade stumbles onto a clue that may take him to the end of the puzzle and the fortune, his world is turned upside down.  Can he solve the riddles before the game gets to him?

Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot by Playroom Entertainment.  The most RANDOM game in the free world, and the best because there is not a clear winner until the end.  You go through killing everyone else’s bunnies, and buying up themed carrots, then at the end, there is one SPECIFIC carrot that is the winner.  TA DA!  CHAOS (and the teenage years) personified.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe by Midway Games and DC Comics.  My teens love having tournaments, and I make sure I have the key fighting combinations printed out and lying around so that those who aren’t playing can study them ahead of time.  When we have after hours gaming, often times they’ll go through story mode on different difficulties, unlocking the characters for later.
Halo by Bungie and Microsoft Studios.  This actually counts for gaming and books, because teens who love the games DEVOUR the books that I have in the library, and not just the graphic novel adaptations, either.  They’ve gone through the full science fiction story lines by Greg Bear and Karen Traviss over and over, and are always asking when we’re getting more in.  And they’re always up for tournament play.  We’re lucky in that I have a computer lab next to my little library, and so I can load up the Halo Trial (which does not need permission slips as it’s not rated anything more than teen), and run a tournament in our lab without bothering other patrons.  The only cost to me is time, and a few small prizes.
You can download the poster at http://www.box.com/s/duxk17uo59eveyip5ut1
So what are your favorite gaming books or games that you’ve done in your library?  Share in the comments below!

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