Library adding video games to their collection

by: Sean Colleli -
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Here's the kind of story that makes me proud of my hobby. The Mississippi Jackson-George regional library is adding $13,000 in video games to their circulation. The collection spans 50 titles, and patrons will be able to check out two different games for a week. They're doing it to draw in the kids, and if it gets kids reading something besides Twitter feeds I'm all for it. I'm a little disappointed that they're only supporting current consoles, but they can't depend on all their patrons owning old consoles. I'm interested to see what games they'll offer, and I hope they include some good ones--Kane and Lynch or Ninjabread Man don't exactly belong in the same building with Huckleberry Finn.

On the other hand, Mass Effect and Zelda Twilight Princess have cultural significance, and at the very least they tell stories just as good as many works of literary fiction. Games like Eternal Darkess even make huge references back to the literature of Poe and Lovecraft. Of course the library will only be stocking E and T rated games at first, but it's definitely a start.

This is a big step toward games being perceived as valuable cultural artifacts and being preserved like treasured books, plays and films. I've always thought a dedicated game library was a good idea, for preserving old consoles and timeless classics. Every generation deserves to experience Metal Gear Solid and Ocarina of Time, Yar's Revenge and Star Raiders. As the technology gets older it's good that these classics can be emulated on newer hardware, but there's something special about playing a game in its original form. Who knows, maybe some day people will be able to walk into a library, borrow an Atari 800 and an N64 and play those old games their grandparents always talk about. The Jackson-George library is certainly opening up the possibility.
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