Goodbye EGM

I spent the night glued to twitter feeds and message boards last night reading about the UGO buy out of 1up and the cancelation of EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly).  The writers there consistently spoke with a unique voice in video game journalism and I’m sorry to see many of them go.  Their writings, shows, and podcasts were a part of my routine.  Three of their podcasts filled my MP3 player every week for the last two years.  Over that time, people came and went.  Relationships were cultivated.  Trust was built.  I’ve told many people that I spend more time writing and reading about video games than I do playing.  The staff was a large part of my gaming experience.  They will be missed.

EGM was a video game institution.  It was about to enter it’s 20th year with its final issue.  I remember seeing the very first issue of EGM on newsstands as a kid, but it wasn’t until issue number 4 that I became a regular reader.  Even as a middle school kid, I was reading about games from numerous magazines (Nintendo Power, GamePro, EGM,  Computer and Video Games, Computer Gaming World).  One perspective was not good enough even back then… it’s no wonder I’m teaching information literacy.  But EGM stood out above the rest.  Nintendo Power was for the fan in me, Gamepro had a fun kid friendly style with reviews, but EGM felt honest, harsh even at times.  Video games got poor ratings.  And who didn’t wonder who Sushi-X and Quatermann were?

EGM is a part of my gaming history as it is for many video game players.  While the death of EGM and print video game magazines was written on the wall for a while now… the loss is not softened. 

Thank you to all the EGM writers and editors over the years.  Your work has helped video game players question sources, look for additional perspectives, and see their hobby and passion as something more than the electronic “toy” it was back at the start of your run in 1989.

“Multiple Literacies in 2008 Holiday Games”

The January epsoide of Games in Libraries podcast was released today.  The podcast itself is filled with a number of good interviews including one with the Video Game Librarian.  The final segment of the podcast includes a discussion about the multiple literacies being put into practice by some of the bigger games of the holiday 2008 season.  I talk about the traditional, media, visual, and information literacies at work within the following games:

(info links provided by CrispyGamer, if you haven't read some of their freelance content now is the chance

 I had initially hoped to get something posted here discussing of number of these games during the holiday season, but time got away from me.  My segment on the podcast is a condensed version of the possible discussion about the literacies at work within these games.  And that’s a discussion I’d like to come back to during this month. 

But until then… enjoy the podcast and please give me any thoughts or feedback on the connection between the video games discussed and literacy.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

“Welcome Back… Your Dreams are Your Ticket Out”

Over a month and a half since my last post.  I’d like to have some wonderful story to go along with my absence, but the end of a semester at a new institution brought a number of unexpected surprises.  But the end my first semester came with a number of good results too. 

A 100% increase in the number of instruction sessions taught from Fall 07 to Fall 08.  Granted we started with a tiny number compared to what I was doing at the University of Dubuque.  UD’s 450 plus sessions for a student body of 1200 is an amazing number.  But still I managed some good growth and have hopefully laid down a foundation for future semesters

An initial campus assessment of some information literacy skills was conducted during the semester.  888 students from across all four grade levels (an easy 222 class average) answered a series of questions dealing with evaluating sources, identifying keywords, and plagiarism.  The results we mixed, good in some areas and identifying areas of need in others.  This initial round of data gives me numbers to work into conversations with faculty about their students and the benefits of information literacy.

I organized and ran a student study break on the Sunday before finals week.  There were snacks and sodas for the students along with board games and Mario Kart Wii.  We had a very successful night  and ran out of soda within the first 20 minutes.  I hoped for about 100 students and ended up with 192.  Hopeful the good buzz generated by this event will lead to good things this coming semester.

My one disappointment with this semester was the lack of involvement with the general education committee.  They are changing the curriculum and the chair was vocal with me and the library about supporting information literacy.  While I may be disappointed in the progress, it is a committee working toward change – change moves slowly.

My goal and dream for this semester is not only to continue to build on the success of the fall and to push myself and the library with the changes in the general education.  Therein lies my dream.  My ticket out of hit or miss one shot instruction.  A curriculum where information literacy is tied into it.

We’ll see.  But until then… welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.