Games are a powerful to engage people with ideas and with each other. They are a way to learn new skills, and to interact with other people. This interaction can be with other people in the same room or with people online. Games are fun. This is obvious, but sometimes it can become forgotten about in the discussion. In research in 2011 by Bond University for the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association * pcs are in 98% of game households with 62% of game households using a pc for games. Game consoles are in 63% of game households, dedicated handheld consoles in 13%. Mobile phones are used to play games in 43% of game households, tablet computers in 13% * 43% of people aged 51 or over are garners
* most garners play between half an hour and an hour at a time and most play every other day 59% play for up to an hour at one time and just 3% play for five or more hours in one sitting 57% of all gamers play either daily or every other day. * 83% of parents play video games. (1)
Comparable statistics are not available for board, tabletop and card games. This is unfortunate as, from word of mouth, board games are very popular. The German, or European, style games have strong appeal for adults. Games in this category include Settlers of Catan (2) and Carcassone. (3) Board games can be used as part of an education program exploring games, game design, history, and strategy. They could also be used to introduce adults to games they did not play when they were growing up--and that is just the start of what is possible. Find the future
New York Public Library received much coverage for its 2011 game Find the future (10) which ran as part of their centenary celebrations as a way for people to discover and explore the collection. The game was deliberately designed with an education focus. The first night of the game was run as an event for five hundred people. After this people could play this game at their own pace and in their own time, at the library. Changing thinking about games
There is still reluctance, despite the overwhelming statistics, for many libraries to admit how many of the adults who use their collections and services probably play games. Earlier this year Heikki Holmas, the new Norwegian minister for international development, was given media coverage because of his public statements about his own playing of Dungeons and Dragons, and how skills are learned in games which have real world applications. This means that his tabletop games skills will help him in parliament. (11) Adam Grimm highlights some of the skills and attributes gained or developed by playing Dungeons and Dragons which include imagination, structure, performance and problem solving. (12) People like Heikki Holmas and Adam Grimm are using our libraries and we are rarely giving them a way to engage--or may be guilty of making judgments about them because of the games they play. The Central Arkansas Library System ran programming for adults teaching people about playing World of Warcraft. This may seem an unusual game to be part of a library education program. However, the aim of this education program was social inclusion, and it was thought that playing a game like World of Warcraft may be one way to assist in this locally. Library staff were pleased with the outcomes. (13,14) There are many opportunities in libraries using games for education Some of these can be done by showing how exciting games can be and by having people realise that the boardgames they may have played as children, or even have played with their children have developed and new possibilities target adult players. Playing Carcassonne could be used as part of an adult education program on medieval history, so people could be discussing the history they are reading, but also play a game constructing a medieval town and so apply the ideas they have learned from reading or hearing about the medieval world. Games can allow a different angle on creativity in education programming....
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