February 22, 2007

Libraries Check Out Games

by Nick Montfort · , 3:49 pm

I was delighted to read about two recent developments which involved one of my most beloved institutions, the library, working to preserve and provide access to one of my favorite forms of expressive, aesthetic media: the video game.

I learned from Jason R. Finley that UIUC’s undergrad library now offers video games. You can visit their gaming collection site, read all about their mission and use policies, and even suggest titles to buy. (I presume that suggestions from UIUC affiliates are weighted more highly.) The consoles listed are ones that are on the market today, but the library also boasts “a selection of retro/vintage games for use in-library only (including NES, Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, etc.).”

And, in the UK, Loughborough University in Leicestershire is advertising a full-time studentship (Ph.D.) in the preservation of computer games, “To investigate perceptions of the cultural, educational and social value of games amongst researchers and preservation institutions; To assess if and how computer games are currently being preserved and identify any barriers to preservation, if appropriate; To identify possible approaches to overcoming barriers to preservation, if appropriate.” Deadline is March 14.

UC Santa Cruz also has console/game kits as part of the library’s circuulating collection, too, as I heard long before these two news items.