Super Smash Bros. Tournament this Saturday!!

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This Saturday, February 21st, from 1pm-5pm in the Kay Fox Room of the Keene Public Library we’ll be holding a Super Smash Bros. Tournament!! Register online on the library calendar or register at the event. Snacks and drinks will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there!!

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Meet your new Teen Services Librarian

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Hello everyone! My name is Brantley Palmer and I’m the new Teen Services Librarian here at the Keene Public Library. Sorry this blog hasn’t been updated in so long. I’m going to do my best to keep it updated regularly.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a big Boston sports fan, especially the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, and I actually worked for four years at NESN (New England Sports Network) after graduating from Keene State College in 2008 with my degree in Film. I also worked on a bunch of small independent films down there and also one big one, Moneyball with Brad Pitt.

I love movies, TV shows, comics, books, and video games and already have some fun video gaming programming lined up, including a Super Smash Bros. Tournament on Saturday, February 21st and a Retro Gaming Day which will include a Street Fighter II Tournament on Saturday, March 14th.

The Teen Advisory Group is something I’m trying to start up again too and our first meeting will be one week from today, Saturday, February 14th (Valentine’s Day I know, but it’s just a quick drop-in event to get ideas from teens in the area) from 12:00pm-1:00pm.

In the meantime, if you have any other ideas about programming or collections, please contact me at bpalmer@ci.keene.nh.us and check the library event calendar for updates on programming. I look forward to hearing from everyone!

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

I’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK!

I helped Dan with some letters today. Man that takes a long time — fold, fold, sticker, bookmark, close, fold, fold, sticker, bookmark, close, fold, fold, sticker, bookmark . . . Oh I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to go on and on all day readying piles and piles of letters for teachers. I wanted to be a LUMBERJACK!

Oh, I didn’t want to do this, I didn’t want to hop and skip and sing songs about being a lumberjack and wearing women’s clothing…  I wanted to be a GAMER!!  But, I know that they have a day for that sort of thing right here at our very own Keene Public Library. http://www.ilovelibraries.org/gaming/ Wow!!!

And, while we’re at it, how about some of THIS!

Monday Monday

Oh Monday, Monday.

Anyway.  I got some things done today.  We got a TWITTER account!  Maybe you’re not that excited but Twitterers seem to be slowly taking over The United States, one slightly techno-savvy person at a time.  They might get you too sometime, taking time out of your day to let everyone know what you’re doing at every time that you’re doing or thinking it.  Annoying right?  Well not anymore, we promise only the most outrageous, most informative, most entertaining tweets EVER!

 …ummm, maybe that’s a little too grandiose.  But the library will try to keep you all abreast of what we are doing throughout the day; this twitter thing is new to us too.  You can check out our twitter right over here—————————————————>

On that sidebar, I think you’ll have to scroll up a bit.  Enjoy it.

Also, I’ve started event planning for a few events I’ve been cookin’ up in this ‘ere noggin o’ mine.  Events like 

-Battle of the Bands Rock Band Tournament

-Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament

-Mario Kart Wii Tournament

-Parent Night (Bring your ma, bring your pa, then kick their butts at video games, but please, try to be nice about it- they made you).

-Seniors and Juniors Wii Sports day (a day for senior citizens and youth to come together to play games)

-Chess Tournament

-Video Game Training Day

-Gamer Empowerment and Educational workshop and Roundtable

The Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament will be the first of these events and will be taking place in October; we’ll be starting registration on October 1.  I’ll let you know about our prizes when we feel like it.

Oh yeah nd the Teen Advisory Group met today and kicked butts, go TAG!

Sincerely,

      Michael M. Soldati

We want YOU to volunteer to play games!

Hello Everyone,

Thought I’d do a little end of the week check-in, I didn’t do a post yesterday because breaking down game night took quite a bit, because let me tell you, everyone had a rockin’ good time. We had video games; we had board games; we had magic, we had D&D, and it’s only getting better so come on down to Keene Public Library’s Game Night Every Thursday from 3pm to 8pm. Everything is absolutely FREE!

I sound like a used car salesman. Anyway things went really well yesterday, but it is becoming apparent to me that we need more people to volunteer to play games with kids, I mean, I only have so much time in my day to play games with kids, I need more help. And helping can be as little as playing a round of Ticket to Ride, or a Super Smash Bros. Brawl match, or even creating a character for a D&D campaign. You’re doing it already; why not volunteer to do it. We accept volunteers both young and old, so if you’re a gamer and need some community service hours, or would like to boost your resume, or if you’d like to learn more about gaming and technology then I’m your man. I mean your man to talk to about the opportunity not you know… well… ahem…

There is an established process for accepting volunteers. There is a form for kids under 18  and their parents to fill out. If you are over 18 years old, you will have to have a background check done, and some fingerprinting. This is all done through the city and it takes a little time so now is the time to get it started. Dan and I will be on campus at KSC on Wednesday to try to recruit volunteers. You should swing by and/or let us know if you’d like to volunteer, you can even earn money towards paying your tuition/loans, and often teachers will allow you to earn credit too.

Anyways I’m thinking of doing some DIY- anyone have any ideas?

-Michael M. Soldati

This the Only Post…. For today…

So today I began preparing for tomorrow’s Game Night.  I’m going to start assessing what games are played at different times throughout the event.  I’m also thinking we’ll have a guestbook, probably not tomorrow, but soon-ish, so people can sign in and leave contact info if they like along with their favorite games.  Speaking of games, I signed onto ALA connect today because I finished my class on gaming in the libraries!  I found a number of very interesting games, the likes of which might throw you through a loop.

The first of these is called Passage it’s only about 5 minutes long, but it’s part of a new concept in gaming – video games as art.  The story is essentially about the passage of time and is somewhat of an abstract idea for a game.  Some people hold that all video games are games are active experiences of art as it were.  Kind of cool I think.  Art direction goes a long way in games, but that’s not entirely what they mean by video games as art.

The second game I checked out is called This is the Only Level in which you only play one level – over and over and over again as a tiny elephant.  Now while this might seem boring it is actually quite fun because while the environment and your character don’t change, the game mechanics do.  For example in one level you use arrow keys to guide your elephant through the room, avoiding the spikes, hitting the button that opens the gate so you can get to the end, but in another level you might have to use your mouse, or suddenly the directions are reversed.  It’s kind of an experiment in Metagaming.  Metagaming refers to an aspect of a game that isn’t actually part of the game itself.  It’s kind of like breaking the fourth wall (for all you theatre folks out there).  The game isn’t asking you to come join its world, rather, it’s asking you to think outside of its own world in order to solve the problems it presents.  Basically, it’s using real-world information to solve in-game problems.  Actually, we do this a lot in gaming but typically we aren’t really thinking of it, as we’re so immersed in the game itself, whereas This is the Only Level forces you into thinking outside its own box.

The third game I wanted to talk about I haven’t actually played, but I’m very excited about it.  It’s called 1000 Blank White Cards.  The object of the game is to create a deck of cards of your own design and play a game of your own design using the deck you’ve just made.  The cards themselves can be made from just about anything and the cards’ abilities can be anything.  There are some pretty hilarious cards and a game description (as much as there can be I guess) at Boardgame Geek; the cards even had me laughing out loud.  Also, there is more info at the Wikipedia page (I think the Wikipedia page is more informative, but the pictures as Boardgame geek are just downright hilarious).

Well I can’t wait to see you all tomorrow for our game night. 

Ciao Ciao

-Michael M. Soldati