Why Video Games Are a Good Fit for the Library



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Row of video games on shelfReposted from the Natrona County Library blog

The three pillars of the Natrona County Library are advocating for literacy, education, and a thriving community. One collection you might not realize does all three of those things is video games.

How can the virtual worlds of video games promote literacy? Younger or hesitant readers can build confidence and learn new vocabulary in both a visual and audio setting when dialog is shown on screen. Instruction screens encourage young readers to practice so that they know how to play a game or where to go without help. Adventure or role playing games usually have many types of text-based documents hidden throughout the game that will come together to form the overarching storyline or help fill in the details of the player’s quest.

Learning valuable skills while having fun has a greater chance of the lessons sticking. Players can be taught how to use maps and compasses, inventory management, time management, and judgement on buying now or saving up for a better quality item. Logic and environmental puzzles are a common feature in current games. Sports games teach new players the rules of the game, and dance games teach moves without the embarrassment of peers watching. They also refine hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Some games are richly enhanced with history and have players immersed in a world filled with historical buildings, people, and events. There are several spelling or math-based games that can sharpen skills without the boring repetition. There are also many games that allow the player to create and build their own characters, buildings, or worlds ranging from simple customization of avatars to basic coding and complex construction of realms.

Although video games are not often considered when trying to create a thriving community, they can play an important role if implemented correctly. Simple games such as the Pokémon Go app can bring people together in real life that might not otherwise meet, all while highlighting local landmarks. Co-op and multiplayer games require players to acquire and refine essential community skills, such as cooperation and communication across all age and skill levels.

Many Wyoming libraries carry video game collections. Search your local library’s collection in WYLDCat.

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