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Game On or Game Over?: Video Gaming Documentaries Available from Kanopy

30 May

My video gaming is mostly confined to using Pokémon Go as a way to entertain myself during my walk to and from work;  I like AR (Augmented Reality) games since they can make everyday reality a bit more fun.  My husband is more of a traditional console gamer and recently has gotten into VR (Virtual Reality) gaming on the Oculus (you can check out the VR experience for yourself during our Makerspace Mondays).  My son is part of the new generation who enjoys watching let’s play videos of game run throughs and gaming tournaments as much as playing the games himself.  The many ways we enjoy gaming continues to expand.  Kanopy has a variety of thought provoking documentaries that offer both positive and critical views of games and gaming culture that are available for you to stream.

State of Play: The World of South-Korean Professional Video Gamers
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all images in this post from kanopy.com

Could someday professional video game tournaments replace the Super Bowl or the World Cup?  Thousands of Koreans attend the Proleague in Korea every year. The documentary State of Play follows three Korean gamers specializing in Starcraft, who are at different stages of their video game careers.  The documentary is also available from Hoopla.  If you enjoy this documentary you can also check out A Gamer’s Life: The Lives of Professional Video Game Players.

GTFO: Get the F**k Out – Women in Gaming
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GTFO was an Official Selection at the SXSW Film Festival; it looks at misogyny in the realm of professional gamers, game designers, and players online.  The film captures a variety of experiences of those who have felt discriminated against or harassed.  The documentary was interesting, though I would have liked to have seen more men interviewed to give more insight into why the behavior is so often occurring and why it is seen as OK by those who are the perpetrators.

Gaming in Color: The Queer Side of Gaming
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Much like GTFO, Gaming in Color examines the discrimination faced by some gamers, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, but it also looks at some of the positive experiences that queer gamers have had as well.  It briefly shows a few of the games which have begun to incorporate same sex relationships and visits GaymerX, which seeks to be an inclusive video game convention.  Gaming in Color is also available from Hoopla.

Besides these three documentaries you can find ones on topics like violence in video games with Returning Fire: Interventions in Video Game Culture and Joystick Warriors: Video Games, Violence & the Culture of Militarism; the impact of gaming on education in Mind Games – The Power of Video Gaming; and even the marketing potential of Virtual Reality in Infinite Reality with Jeremy Bailenson (part of the Stanford Executive Briefings Series).

If you are looking for historical perspectives on gaming than click over to Hoopla where you can learn about the history of gaming with the documentary Gameplay: The Story Of The Videogame Revolution.  Learn if the myth of the buried ET games is true and about the demise of Atari with Atari: Game Over.

Whether you agree or disagree with the perspectives in these documentaries, they open up important conversations about the future of gaming and how it will impact our lives.

And if you want to check out a new game, stop by the Hoboken Public Library where you can borrow everything from Super Mario Maker for the Wii U to Call of Duty WWII and God of War for the Playstation 4.

Written by
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Documentaries to Check Out in Honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance

2 Dec

Transgender Day of Remembrance, occurs each year on November 20.  It is a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence frequently directed toward the transgender community.  It was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.  Rita was a part of the transgender community in Boston where she worked toward education around transgender issues.

Because of this day, the week from the November 14-20 is considered Transgender Awareness Week by GLAAD and other organizations and some groups also celebrate the whole month of November as Transgender Awareness Month.  Below are documentaries Hoboken and other BCCLS patrons can check out any time from Hoopla!

What’s the T?

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The T in LGBT stands for transgender and the award winning documentary, What’s the T? looks at the lives of five women whose lives began as boys.  They are a diverse group including an actress, a student, a dancer, an activist, and a nurse.  The film was shown at numerous film festivals and was praised for capturing the compelling lives of its subjects.

Growing Up Trans

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The PBS documentary Growing Up Trans looks at transgender children and their families who are exploring what it means to grow up being transgender.  It includes an interesting look at how medical advances are allowing them to make the transition before puberty and how this impacts their lives.

Out Late

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On the other side of the age spectrum the documentary Out Late features five people who came out as lesbian, gay, or transgender, after the age of 55. LeAnna, who served in the military as a man, became a woman at age 60.  The documentary looks at why they chose to come out later in life and what being out meant to them.  Those featured come from a diverse cross section of North America including Canada, Florida, and Kansas.

I Am the Queen

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In the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago, the Vida/Sida Cacica Pageant brings together the Puerto Rican community to celebrate its transgender participants. I Am the Queen follows Bianca, Julissa and Jolizza as they prepare for the pageant. The women share stories of their transition, their relatives’ reactions, and how they find support in the community.

Do you have other documentaries or transgender resources to recommend?  Let us know in our comment section!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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