A few months ago, Patrick Jagoda, LUIGI's faculty advisor, informed us that the University of Chicago Library would be funding the purchase of video games to be added to the university's circulating materials. Over spring break, I opened up a Google spreadsheet and began making a list of the games I thought were worthy of inclusion. I shared this spreadsheet with the good folks of LUIGI, and within a matter of days, my original list — consisting only of a small and unfocused selection of titles — had been expanded, with the help of other students, into a carefully curated list of over 300 games.
This list was used by library staff to purchase the 230+ titles that now make up the university's game collection, housed in the Mansueto library.
My university now joins a growing number of institutions carrying video games that can be checked out. Both UCSC and[ the other U of C], for example, already include games in their catalogs. While these universities house their game collections in "media labs," UChicago's collection consists entirely of titles that can be checked out and taken home for a regular loan period of ten weeks.
To show off the new collection, LUIGI put together a reception in theLogan Center, showing off 30 different games on three screens over a period of six hours. I arrived during the ninth mini-session of the day (titled "My God, It's Full of Projectiles: Moving through Space in the Shooter") which focused on variations of the on-rails shooter. I clumsily fired my way through a couple levels of Rez HD (fascinating, but devilishly difficult compared to the demo of the original I remembered playing as a teenager) and watched as others took turns with Panzer Dragoon II Zwei and Axelay.
During the final hours of the showcase, we fired up the big projector screen, and with a quick vote, picked the three games we most desired to see in big screen glory: Fez, Super Mario Galaxy,and the title I had most anticipated seeing projected, Shadow of the Colossus. SotC has always made me feel small in comparison to its over-sized and empty landscape, and playing the game on a wall-sized screen magnified the effect.
However, more exciting than any particular game experience was the number of attendees we didn't recognize, including students from as far away as UIUC and Northwestern. While LUIGI is already somewhat diverse in its inclusion of students of both game studies and game design, as well as its mixed undergrad and graduate constituency, I'm hoping this trend continues for future events.
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