Friday, May 27, 2011

DePaul stocks video games for research

For some students at DePaul University and a few other colleges, video games are now part of the curriculum.

DePaul is one of a growing number of university libraries housing video game collections for student research into game design, the school said. Other universities with collections include Illinois, Stanford and Michigan.

The collection was first proposed by Jose Zagal, assistant professor of computing and digital media, who authored the book, “Ludoliteracy: Designing, Understanding and Supporting Games Education.”

Zagal helped assemble a list of titles for the library, including “Little Big Planet 2,” “Halo: Reach,” “Madden NFL 11” and “God of War III.” DePaul’s collection can be played on the three major platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.

“I saw an opportunity to better serve our students,” Zagal said. “I believe video games are a form of culture just like books and songs, so it makes sense for us to have them available in our library.”

Zagal and other faculty require students to research video games as part of the curriculum, the school said. While Zagal’s department has two gaming labs, their hours are limited and games cannot be checked out, he said. Students are allowed to check out video games from the library’s collection, which debuted May 9.

The collection is available in DePaul’s Loop Campus library media room, and the library plans to host a game night in the fall to officially launch it, he said.

James Galbraith, associate director of collections, said DePaul hopes to make a video game collection available at the Richardson Library on the Lincoln Park Campus as well.

M Ryan Hess, coordinator of Web Services at DePaul, helped create the collection. He said the titles selected were influenced largely by a list Zagal provided, created from usage statistics and feedback received in the department’s labs.

“There was interest in acquiring some older games, such as old Atari games, but at this time the library is unable to also purchase the consoles,” Hess said.

Galbraith said library officials are hoping the video game collection will be as popular as a graphic novel collection launched in January 2011.

“The graphic novel collection has a 100 percent circulation rate,” Galbraith said. “Every graphic novel has circulated at least once, and many have multiple times.”

from: Chicago Sun-Times

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