The University collection should open in March of 2011, and will include game content ranging from the Atari all the way up through the XBox 360 and the Wii. Signing out games will be as easy as signing out books, and the library will also be adding enclosed multimedia rooms where faculty and students can join forces for intellectually stimulating games of Rock Band.
Librarian Jerremie Clyde believes the new games collection will help reduce the “academic stigma” that exists regarding video games – something I’ve experienced first hand during my tenure studying games and culture over the years. However, as Clyde tells the Calgary Herald, things are rapidly changing for the better:
Now we’re getting a generation of faculty and graduate students who grew up with video games as part of their media landscape… There’s a whole new generation of academics coming in who have been playing video games their whole life.
As insinuated in this statement, familiarity leads to acceptance, and when objects like video games become accepted as archive worthy, or accepted as targets of research, the breadth and history of their social impact and current importance becomes clear. This is a great addition to efforts to promote digital games as culturally significant artifacts and hopefully game collections will become more common at research institutions and public libraries in the near future.