The Edge – Our New Teen Center

Check out my library’s new Teen Center! A little more about it: “The Edge, our new Teen Center, has opened! What can you do at The Edge? Well… lots: meet with friends, play games, read, study, do stuff on the web, watch movies, and listen to music. We also hope to have live performances by garage bands, Guitar Hero competitions and crazy karaoke.”

Read more about it here. Kudos to my library for building something that’s pretty cool.

New Song & Video: Hi-fi Sci-fi Library

You HAVE to watch the amazing cool music video Michael Porter and I made!!! Here it is:

And go to Michael’s account for a larger version of the video. Want the MP3? Find it here and at

Go read Michael’s post for the nitty-gritty details (and this post for the lyrics and credits). Here are some song details…

This was a really fun song to write and record. I honestly wasn’t sure Michael’s idea would work when he first suggested it to me, but then I’m game for just about anything, so thought “let’s try it and see what happens!” And Michael’s a great friend and writing partner (we write the Public Libraries Magazine column “Internet Spotlight” together), so if everything else went down the tubes, I knew we would at least have a fun time of it. But as we started writing the lyrics, rhythms and melody lines started bouncing around in my head… and I realized this would be easy to pull off.

Other details:

  • The music is a mix of GarageBand instruments, my own guitar playing, and three samples of theremins and other whistle-like sounds.
  • And Michael Porter and I sang/rapped the thing
  • recorded and mixed in Garageband, in my basement

Samples used:

Gadgets and Gaming at Computers in Libraries 2008!

If you’re going to be at Computers in Libraries 2008 on Sunday (April 6!!!), then stop by this cool new event (swiped from Aaron’s blog):

What: Gaming (& Gadgets!) Night
Where: CIL 2008, Jefferson Room
When: Sunday, April 6th, 5:30-8:00 pm
How much: FREE
Who: You and other people interested in gaming

Jenny Levine and I have given a few gaming workshops at past Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian conferences. After the sessions we’ve opened up the room to anyone interested in playing some games and/or learning about gaming. It’s proven to be a popular and really fun time, so this year Information Today has turned the post-workshop gameplay into a featured event. With refreshments even!


Go read the full post here. I plan on being there!

SXSWi2008, Day 4: Closing Remarks

Title: Alternate Realities

Speaker: Jane McGonigal

Showed “The Lost Ring” – video preview of a game – you can find hundreds of screenshots of this video in flickr, looking for hidden clues

She focused on the game designer’s perspective on the future of happiness

Question – are you in the happiness business?

Our primary product soon will be happiness… (think experience)

Happiness is the new capital

four key principles of happiness:
1 satisfying work to do
2. experience of being good at something
3. time spent with people we like
4. chance to be a part of something bigger

Multiplayer games are the ultimate happiness engine

We can be good at something (in games) that we can’t do in real life

Games give you instant feedback (you never get a “great job at speaking – you gained one speaking experience point”)

better feedback all the time in games – we know how we’re doing

better community – we feel part of something

Quality of Life – for many gamers today, their gaming life is better than their real life.

Bad News:
multiplayer games – it’s like we invented the written word, and we decided to only create books – why are we chaining the game to a PC or console? Why not free it into the real world?

Real world game examples:
Chore Wars – you do household chores, you gain points
Zyked – video games are fun, excersising not so fun – they give points for excercise
Serios – give work mates points for doing stuff at work – helps you set priorities. And you can see where the virtual money is being spent… it shows connections

Citizen Logistics – what if life were like a team activity? Treating everyday reality like a game by doing stuff in the real world

all these are in beta/alpha

to imagine the future, always look backwards

Soap analogy:
1931 – soap kills germs… it took many thousands of years to figure this out! Games are kind of like soap – we should be installing them everywhere. Instead of killing germs, we are killing boredom

Games kill alienation – for people who are socially challenged

games can kill depression by giving you community and a sense of purpose

She’s making the point that it’s not alternative reality – it’s alternate reality – still real, just alternate – another way of experiencing existence

World Without Oil as example – live your real life like this statement was true. People actually converted their cars to non-gas power and made videos of it. It sounds like a social activist kind of thing – figure out how this works, and attempt to do it. It lasted for 32 weeks.

It was alternate reality in real life

10 skills/terms in gaming that help amplify happiness…?

1. mobbability – ability to collaborate on large scales. Think crowd conrtol

2. cooperation radar – who would make good collaborators

3. ping quotient – ability to reach out to others in a network, easy to resspond to them

4. influency – adapt your persuasive abilities to different environments

5. multi capitalism – somem people want money, some want social capital, etc – different types of currency and how can you trade amongst the groups

6. protovation – rapid, fearless innovation – not worried about failing because you’re still learning

7. open authorship – think blogging. comfort with giving content away and knowing it will be changed. Also a design skill – knowing it won’t be broken when people change it

8. signal noise management – they hear lots of signals, and can sort it out

9. longbroading – ability to think in much broader systems

10 emergensight – spot patterns as they pop up

[aside – interestingly, these are all business-related skills or team-building skills with a game-based name…]

how do we start?

start with twitter

nike ipod – it gives you feedback, challenges by friends

sniff collars for dogs – the collar measures speed, “dog friends” etc in real life

Prius – “my car is a video game”

trackstick – records your gps locatin every 5 seconds

new brain scanner thing that shows when you’re tired, angry, etc while in a game

the important stuff:
– most of us in this room will be in the happiness business
– game designers have a huge head start (think experience in gaming, in web, in real life)
– important because they signal the desire, need and opportunity for all of us to redesign reality for real quality of life


Q on how much is good. some people are breaking their broken reality with gaming. Also – some have perfectly happy, normal lives. We won’t replace face-to-face – no online story. It’s about real life stuff.

IL2007, Day 3: Blurring Boundaries

Liz Lawley did the closing keynote, and had a bunch of good stuff to say.

TerraNova – blog on virtual worlds

TarrorNova – WoW guild made up of people involved with TerraNova

showed a pic of a library science professor who plays WoW

How can we make the real world more like games?

Make tasks delight us!

make us want to get up at 7am to play

collecting: you want to get stuff

points: we want to collect points and get more points than others

feedback: how do we know we’re doing the right thing?

exchanges: implicit and explicit communicative exchanges


Then she gave two live demos – the “first 5 minutes” of WoW and Second Life

1st 5 Minutes of World of Warcraft:

  • you can get a 10-day free trial online
  • cool music plays
  • create a character – very easy
  • can choose randomize and pick the one that looks best to you or go through individual options
  • click enter world – get put into the game, get an introductory narration
  • go talk to non player characters with big yellow exclamation points over their heads
  • help windows pop up when you seem to need them
  • the game developers set up the game for multiple successes in the first five minutes of play

First 5 Minutes of Second Life:

  • aside – her first five minutes wasn’t at all my first five minutes – she had some type of orientation task list, while I went to orientation island and walked through the steps….
  • she flew
  • a tutorial popped up
  • the orientation was pretty lacking – it wasn’t set up to succeed.
  • Aside again – of course, this isn’t really a game, and they aren’t really selling it….

Why does Liz like WoW better?

  • no reason for her to be in Second Life
  • not much for her to do there – no need or desire; for her, it’s a solution in search of a problem
  • her 13 year old son loves Second Life – it’s a powerful tool for him. He can build – she doesn’t want to
  • she can play with her son in WoW – she can’t in Second Life
  • there are whole families that play WoW together

Nick Yee’s MMU Player Stages:

  • entry: newcomer euphoria, playing with someone
  • practice: ramping up, progression, solo to group
  • mastery: staying for friends, casual guilds, high end content, social/community leadership, competition
  • burnout: grind burnout (grind = having to do tasks thousands of times to move to the next level), social/raiding burnout, restarts, nothing left to do
  • recovery: end-game casual, some do come back

Real World Games:

Tupperware – sales rewards)Super Sleuth: solve a weekly puzzle at a school, get a reward of some type

Summer Reading programs: after reading so many words/books, you get a rewardebay feedback – sort of like collecting points

myspace, linkedin, etc – collecting friends, customizing

PageRank – trying to raise your rank. She did a Google Smackdown between her name and Karen Schneider

Games that blur boundaries:passively multiplayer onlien games – sidebar in firefox, get points and rewards for browsing the web…

Sometimes, the game can be the things we really need to do

chorewars – create quests, get points, gain experience, redeem points for prizes! Huge motivation to clean up your house!

Seriosity: get currency, sending emails cost you and you have limited funds – so your email words start to matter more

social genious – helps learn people’s names, social, so you are trying to get more points than your colleagues

How can you make the library a game? Make it so people want to come back..

Raph (missed Raph’s last name) wrote “Theory of Fun for Game Design”