Posted by: markfender | August 6, 2014

Video Games at the Library

My local library rents video games.

libraryI’m of two minds about this. On one hand, I think it’s stupid. While there are certainly things that are educational about video games, I wouldn’t classify them as educational tools (But then, lending out Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t really educational either). I’m not sure the library credo is to provide access to pop culture detritus, but that does seem to be the way they’re going. On the other hand, I’m a cheap bastard and would totally get a game from the library.

My particular complaint actually derives from the shelf life of video games. A book is gonna last a long time. Even the popular DVD will last quite awhile (assuming it gets occasionally resurfaced – people treat things from the library like shit). But all those 360 games? Or the extensive collection of PS2 titles? Game consoles seem to get replaced sooner than some other forms of entertainment and then the library is left with a lot of stuff that no one will be able to access anymore. And while their books on tape and videocassette collections are now gathering dust in the basement, I would think that it took a longer period of time for those to disappear from the shelves than a PS3 game will.

Some libraries run video game events in an attempt to attract teenagers. I suppose that’s fine, too, even if I’m not entirely sure why they want to attract teenagers. To “trick” them into maybe browsing the shelves and reading a book? To check off a box with the number of teenagers they get in so the city council will give them money? I’m not entirely certain.

Vaguely related thought: I was at the library the other day browsing the magazines and man, there are a lot of specialist magazines still around. Old West magazine? Macrame? With the death of the magazine market, I find it odd that so many super-niche magazines are somehow still holding on. And yet, the video game magazine has completely collapsed. Weird.

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