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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

Breakout the Seedcakes and Blackberry Tarts: Celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Tolkien’s Birth!

6 Jan

January 3 is the 125th birth anniversary of J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien who was born in 1892 in what is now South Africa in Bloemfontein.  Tolkien’s hobbits celebrated their byrding days (birthdays) by giving gifts to others rather than simply receiving gifts themselves.  Tolkien has clearly gifted the world with his writing; his work has been translated into over 60 languages as well as having been adapted as movies and even video games.  This is the perfect time to come in and check some out some of his writing and works he inspired today.

The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again

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The first and perhaps the most accessible of Tolkien’s novels set in middle earth, The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit whose life is changed when Gandalf the Wizard transforms his safe ordinary life into one of adventure.  My first encounter with it was the cartoon from the late 1970’s, which is available at some BCCLS libraries.  Also available to check out is Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings published as three volumes (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) which continue to be influential on many contemporary writers and is the archetype of High Fantasy.  If you would like to start listening to them right now visit Hoopla for digital audiobook copies.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Films Directed by Peter Jackson

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You can borrow several of the ambitious films that Peter Jackson directed including The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from HPL.  I saw The Lord of the Rings trilogy with my father who was overjoyed with the special effects laden and visually stunning adaptations of books he had loved as a teenager.  The Hobbit movies were a bit controversial with some fans due to the addition of new characters and plot lines to allow for three films; check them out and see what you think.

Video Games Set in Middle Earth

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Not satisfied with merely reading or watching about Middle Earth, immerse yourself in the epic battles with Lego The Lord of the Rings for the Xbox 360 or PS3.  The game allows you to unlock over 80 playable Lego versions of Middle Earth characters.   This game is rated E 10+.  For those looking for a more adult game check out Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor for the PS3, PS4, Xbox One, or Xbox 360 rated M; you play as Talion, a Ranger of the Black Gate and is set prior to the events in Lord of the Rings.  Also available is the rated M game The Lord of the Rings. War in the North for Xbox 360.

The Story of Kullervo

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If you are already a fan of Tolkien and looking for something new then you might be intrigued by The Story of Kullervo.  Although only recently published, The Story of Kullervo is an early short story from circa 1915, which is based on part of the Finnish epic Kalevala.   Also included are transcripts of Tolkien’s talks on Kalevala.

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

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Tolkien was part of a literary club in 1932 called the Inklings, who first met at Oxford University. The Inklings critiqued each other’s works and debated the hot topics of the time.  The Fellowship focuses on four of the groups most famous members and it is an interesting look at some of the forces that shaped Tolkien and his work.  Looking for more in-depth insight into Tolkien’s work?  You can also borrow from HPL The Tolkien Companion by J. E. A. Tyler and Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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