Michael Rocks Out at the American Library Association

yoke_yalsa_games_08, originally uploaded by yalsa50.

Recently, Michael Soldati attended the Young Adult Library Services event “Games, Gadgets, & Gurus.” Librarians from all across the country got together to discuss gaming programs and library services for teens. Michael will incorporate some of the new ideas during his weekly “Open Play” gaming sessions held each Thursday afternoon at the Keene Public Library.

Seniors join fun at Open Play Game Day

That’s right, some of our local senior citizens come out of the woodwork (actually, they came from the Keene Senior Center) to play Nintendo Wii at our wiikly Open Play Gaming Day.

They had a raucous good time, playing the Wii Sports Bowling Game. Whenever anyone bowled a strike or picked up a tough spare the entire room knew it, perhaps even the entire downstairs knew.Now, while I might consider myself a video game veteran, these veterans of life definitely know how to bowl. In his first sitting, our Keene Senior Center friend Bill got the highest score ever achieved on our Wii Sports Resort Bowling Game – a whopping 183 points. It is a heck of a lot better than I can do on the lanes or on the Wii! One woman, Jeane, after playing the Wii during our training day (we went over to the Keene Senior Center to show them what it was about before they visited us at the library) had so much fun she went out and bought her own. She had her son set it up and now she plays regularly. Sandi, director of the senior center, said that this was perfect for seniors and that it really helped them to get up and get a little physical activity. Plus, it’s fun too. Bill even made his way over to the PS2 Dance Dance Revolution game and tried his luck on one of our mats! Apparently, the “Arrow Dance,” as he called it, was a little fast for him, but he had a great time nonetheless.

Read more about this fun time, online at the Keene Sentinel.

Stay tuned for more as Keene senior citizens take over game day and have a great time doing so.

A Personal History of Video Games

 I thought it would be nice to sit down and reminisce on my long and intimate relationship with video games, one of my greatest loves.

It all started at the tender age of somewhere between three and four. I distinctly recall watching my father through my bedroom window walking out of the driveway through the gate and up into the house with the Nintendo Entertainment System, otherwise known as the NES.  I remember all the games that it had to offer and the game series that I have loved and enjoyed ever since those days, games like Final Fantasy, Mega Man 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and greatest of all was The Legend of Zelda in a gold colored cartridge.  It seemed as though God himself had fashioned it out of the earth just for my enjoyment. Of course there were other’s like Battle Toads, Crystalis, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1-3, Rampage, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Pirates, Adventures of Lolo, Duck Hunt, Metroid, Master Blaster – the list goes on.  And, each game had its own version of the NES’s “impossibility difficulty.” If you could beat an NES game, that was a life achievement – you had accomplished something that no other kid (or adult for that matter) in the area could accomplish. When I look back and attempt an NES game now, I still can’t beat most of those games and I’ve been playing video games for nearly 20 years of my life.

Christmas morning, circa sometime later, maybe 1992, I opened up a large rectangular box to find that not only did I now have a SUPER NES but also Super Mario World and . . . MORTAL KOMBAT!  I recall never quite being able to pull of any fatalities, but Scorpion’s “Get over here!” bladed rope pull was sick, and despite not liking the character, I could only ever win for sure, as Kano.  Unlocking Star Road in SMW was so hard, but fun, and in the end, it changed the entire appearance of the game, which had never been done before.  Noteworthy games include Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Mega Man X 1-3, Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy II & III (American versions), Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, TMNT: Turtles in Time, Yoshi’s Island.  Around this time, we also got a gameboy with Final Fantasy, Mario and Pokémon games, as well as a game gear.  I liked the game gear better.  It ate batteries like a hot dog eating contest, but the graphics were tremendous and it always played Sonic and some other cool RPG game I can’t recall.

Next came an Atari.  That’s right kids; I got an Atari, and played the likes of Frogger, Pong, Plumber Brothers, and Pitfall.  Sorry my memory of the Atari is as obscured as its graphics, before my time anyway.  However, shortly after (or was it the same time) we got a N64.  With such fond memories as Super Mario64, Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, 007: Goldeneye, StarFox 64, Super Smash Bros and . . . . Well umm, that was about it actually.  Killer Instinct was cool for a while I guess.  Then something happened . . . .

The Sony Playstation came out! And it used CDs. That was unheard of.  My little brother and I saved up our pennies from our paper routes way back when I was in the 6th grade.  It must have been 1998.  Then I was introduced to the greatest game (in my opinion) ever created, Final Fantasy VII!  It had a tremendous plot, incredible graphics, and game play that I haven’t seen the likes of since.  For the first time in gaming history, the greatest tragedy before or since, they killed off Aeris, one of the main playable characters on DISC 1 (out of 3 discs).  I was heartbroken . . . . But things got better; I had other games to spend countless sleepless nights playing, most notably: Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy Tactics, Mega Man X 4-7, Chrono Cross, Twisted Metal, Mega Man Legends 1&2, Breath of Fire 3 & 4, Final Fantasy IX, and Metal Gear Solid.

Jump to Christmas 2001 or 2002, my big brother hands over his PS2, the greatest gaming console created to-date, with more games still coming out this holiday season, it will have reached a 10-year lifespan, and has sold 145,ooo,ooo units as of August 18th, 2009.  Games whiz past me, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XII, Twisted Metal Black, Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition, Guitar Hero 1-3, Rock Band, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, X-Men Legends 1&2, Kingdom Hearts 1&2 and I’m sure many other’s than I have forgotten by now.

Then my girlfriend circa 2006 got me a Nintendo DS, played the New Super Mario Bros, Final Fantasy IV (Actually an updated port of the aforementioned Final Fantasy II, I know things got confusing between the American and Japanese versions during the 90’s), Final Fantasy Tactics DS(?), The World Ends with You, Pokémon Pearl.   Then later when we broke up she gave me her old Wii because she claimed it was struck by lightning, and her parents got her a new one while Nintendo was fixing mine.  So, now I have a magic Wii, which most notably of all has been home to Super Smash Bros Brawl- incredible- incredible game! and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Ocarina of Time had a better story, but I liked Twilight Princess’s game play a lot more, with the exception of the actual Ocarina which was muy incredible.) Also, Wild West Guns, Okami, and Paper Mario have been cool.

So that’s my journey through 6 of the 7 generations of video games (Atari- 2nd, NES 3rd, SNES 4th, N64 & PS 5th, PS2 6th, Wii 7th) the first generation was basically Pong more info here on the history of video games.  Of course, I’ve also played Sega Genesis, Game Cube, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PS3, however for the purposes of today I focused solely on those consoles I have spent most time with because I have owned them, though I have not necessarily owned all of these games.

Tell me your story. How long and intimately have you known video games?

Sincerely,

          Michael M. Soldati

Game Night @ your library!

Today our Game Night went superbly!  After having been stuck at 17 patrons, today we shot up to 22! Seventeen players are great but 22 gamers are better.

I think we’re going to need some new TV’s with the amount of Video Gaming going on.

Today some of the biggest Video Games were Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock (PS2), World of Goo (Wii), Mario Kart Wii, and Guitar Hero World Tour

The biggest Table Top Games today were Yu-Gi-Oh Card Game, Jumanji: The Game and a new game Duncan brought in called RoboRally!