Monday, July 23, 2007

Gaming in Academic Libraries: The Why and How

This session is being presented by our friends down the road, Lynn Sutton and Giz Womack from Wake Forest, and Lori Critz from Georgia Tech.

Wake Forest heard about Game Night from Georgia Tech, as a marketing technique to reach freshmen who don't attend library tours. They also wanted to support innovation and creativity. They also see gaming as more than marketing, games were social networks before there were social networks.
Game Night Formats
Open Game Nights:
Two on Fridays in September from 7-11
One on Friday in February from 7-11

Tournament:
Held on a Friday in February from 3-6

Students registered in advance for both formats, they can come without signing up, but can't play

Resources:
Partners- Library IT Team Staff, Resident Technology Advisors (already established relationship)
Equipment- LCD Projectors (got old ones from campus IT), Screens, Students bring systems
Supplies- Food, Extension Cords, Tape and Sharpies (for labeling equipment), RCA connectors, Trophies

Marketing:
Email, flyers, word of mouth, student newspaper, flyers with lollipops attached, You Tube video

Costs:
First one- $425 (rented screens)
Subsequent ones- about $170 (have since purchased screens)

Survey:
Have surveyed students twice
  • Students like the events
  • Students like bringing their own consoles
  • They like both open gaming and tournaments
  • Keep mixing it up

Georgia Tech Gaming

Part of RATS (Recently Acquired Tech Students) Week
Get library staff involved with students
Brand library as center of technology

Marketing:
Facebook, flyers, posters

Planning:
Formed committee with IT and library (IT set up LAN, library handled everything else)

Used Unreal Tournament (1st person shooter)

Also included food, music, DDR, demos, GT improv group, A capella club, Anime Club, etc.

Set-up:
Projection Screen (rented for $500, about 12 feet wide)
Computer Stations- Game loaded on each machine, dusted each machine to limit overheating, headphones added

Tournament:
4-30 minute elimination rounds and finals
64 players per round
Finalists= Top 4 scorers for each round
Gamers could use own controller
Players pre-registered for time slots

Prizes:
Semifinalists won headphones, B&N giftcards, flash drives
Winner won 20 GB hard drives

Clean-up:
Took a lot of time

Gains:
Coolness factor
Face recognition
Partnership with IT
Subtle indoctrination
Clubs see library as good partner
Image boost for staff

Lessons learned:
Unreal Tournament had limited appeal to females and non-gamers
350 estimated hours of labor put in
Expensive
Not possible without volunteers

Today at GT:
Changed date away from fraternity rush (crowd increased to 700!)
Retro gaming (Donkey Kong, Pac Man)
Board games
Poker tournament
Speed dating
Ninja Tag
DDR

My thoughts:
This presentation was great. I enjoyed seeing how other universities do Game Night. I'm glad that our Game Night is very low-key in comparison. We don't do signups anymore, and the LAN tournament just sounds way too labor-intensive for me! Also, our experience with cleanup was vastly different than that at GT. After our first Game Night. I picked up one cup. I think the students so badly wanted us to do it again that they went out of their way to make sure things were picked up. Many of them also stuck around to help us clean up.

Also, I have to echo their emphasis on working with student groups. Our Game Night would be nearly impossible without the help of the Science Fiction Fantasy Federation, Student Government and the Campus Activities Board. SFCubed provides our game systems and does some marketing, SG helps with marketing, and CAB markets and checks IDs at the door. Without their help, we probably couldn't pull it off.

I'm already excited about our next Game Night on September 5!

75 comments:

Giz said...

Hi Amy!
Thanks for the blog post on our presentation!

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