Last year’s Arcade 11 brought an interesting mix of librarians, indie games developers as well as games scholars. Through conversations and exchanges of views, it quickly emerged that libraries required alternative models to make independent games available through their digital collections.
Purchasing born-digital copyrighted materials is a strong and emerging trend in libraries worldwide, but “general public” methods of dissemination do not offer the licensing and technological terms libraries require (Libraries cannot acquire born-digital materials from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon as it contradicts the licensing terms of these systems).
In that sense, the TAG team have set out to devise various prototyping models for the licensing and circulation of independent video games at libraries. The Knight Foundation has funded the creation of a video game console, which the prototype will be devised using over-the-counter inexpensive micro-computer components (with assistance from District 3). We will tap into the pool of graduate studens to build a seed collection of games for libraries as well as articulate some key knowledge points all librarians should know about digital games. Finally, we expect to test whether libraries are open to the idea of having these consoles circulate to users of their library system.