Which Game Console to Buy for Your Library?

December 20, 2006 at 12:39 pm 16 comments

As the holidays are upon us and our purchasing-obsessed minds start thinking of ways to spend money, I am looking for which game system to purchase for the library system. It would be great to say that our teens would be happy with any old game system in the library but, face it, gamers are IT junkies, they want the greatest and latest. Sure, if you brought a Nintendo 64 in for them, they would play it, but it wouldn’t have near the response that a PS3 would.

But is the response worth an extra $500 in limited programming funds?

As I am making my decision, I have done a lot of research and asked a lot of game junkies what their opinions were as well. Here is our assessment of the current available gaming consoles.

Xbox 360- You could definitely look into purchasing this system. It is slightly on the pricey side, but not ridiculous at $400, and its games can be pricey as well. However, Xbox is known for its multiplayer games. This system also has the ability to split multiplayers onto two screens, meaning that opponents can’t see what the other one is doing… which is really, REALLY handy for strategy and fragging games. According to my gaming buddies, it is a lot easier to connect through the Internet with Xbox360 and play your friends online.

Original Xbox- Its dead. If you are set on the Microsoft system, then you have to do the Microsoft thing; buy the upgrade (i.e. 360), which will play regular Xbox games.

PS3- If you have a supersized budget, you could consider it, this thing goes for $600 at the starting price. The system is almost offensively expensive, they are working on pay to play online, and the games can easily run upwards of $70. So, essentially, you are talking ONE system and a limited amount of games that you would likely have to stagger the purchasing of to make sure that you had a fresh, new game to show off to your kids through out the year. I have personally found several reviews for some of their more popular games which say that it is tough to find people playing online right now, a problem which may change with the growing number of buyers, but it is still an unappealing statistic to consider. That said, the PS2 was known for making superior storyboard games and I am sure the PS3 will continue that standard.

PS2- Not dead yet and might not be for awhile. The PS3 sold 400,000 less units than expected in November; that could have serious implications to Sony trying to keep the PS2 lifeline alive (as people don’t seem completely keen on buying the next generation). They are still pumping a lot of money into this console at the moment, however, it will become obsolete… even the PS2 cannot defeat Darwin. However, consider the price, the popularity of its games and the reasonable prices of them, it is still a solid purchase for the moment.

Nintendo Wii- A fresh new look at gaming. As a employee at EB Games said “Nintendo took a look at games like DDR and Guitar Hero and said ‘We should make an entire system built around this kind of interactive gameplay.” In other words, PS3 and Xbox 360 are working on refining the systems they already have, Nintendo went to revolutionize the gaming system. The basic console is $250 and the games peak at $50. Players can make their own Avatars, which they can save in the controller and then bring to their friends house. You can purchase games all the way back to the NES online and play them on the Wii as well. The one starting disadvantage is that you have to purchase the memory card, but hey, it’s an SD and you may already have that in an antiquated PalmPilot or digital camera.

So, what is the best purchase?

Personally, I am going to purchase the Nintendo Wii. I have a feeling that as popular as the system is right now, many of the youth in my library are waiting for someone else to buy it first… so that will be me. I like the idea of an interactive gaming system, games that tend to be designed for both genders and, of course, the price is right for my limited budget, in both console and games. The ability to download some of the classics like Mario Kart and Party is appealing as well as they are games I can have many play at a time and all generally enjoy. And the simplicity of the controllers was a big plus for these games as most times I will bring this out for the kids, they will not have a lot of time to learn 12 button controls and commands.

My EB Games buddies unanimously said the Nintendo Wii for much of the same reasons I did. They emphasized the downloading games, and updating games ability, along with the more physical response of the games themselves… stating that “a good game makes you want to jump out of your seat, but only the Wii requires it.”

But my gaming buddies largely went with Xbox360. They liked the library of games the system had to offer, said they enjoyed the multiplayer aspects of it, and the price was reasonable considering you could play online free. They also take to Halo 2 the way a rat takes to the New York City filth though.

What say you? Anyone else considering a purchase?

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16 Comments

  • 1. George  |  December 20, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    I think the better choice for most libraries is the Wii. But realistically, the only gaming console that makes sense is the PS2.

    The back catalog of games and the precipitous amount of games for general audiences make the PS2 a better choice. Also, most of the games can be bought used at EB or Gamestop.

    I have a 360 at home (and a DS, GameCube and Xbox) and the games are a lot more mature on the 360. There aren’t many games that teens can play–at least in a public setting. Most of the great multiplayer titles are T or MA (like Gears of War).

    I am looking at getting the local Gamestop to donate a used PS2 for Guitar Hero…

    Which begs the question…can we let someone who is 12 play a game that is rated T for Teens?

  • 2. George  |  December 20, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    I think the better choice for most libraries is the Wii. But realistically, the only gaming console that makes sense is the PS2.

    The back catalog of games and the precipitous amount of games for general audiences make the PS2 a better choice. Also, most of the games can be bought used at EB or Gamestop.

    I have a 360 at home (and a DS, GameCube and Xbox) and the games are a lot more mature on the 360. There aren’t many games that teens can play–at least in a public setting. Most of the great multiplayer titles are T or MA (like Gears of War).

    I am looking at getting the local Gamestop to donate a used PS2 for Guitar Hero…

    Which begs the question…can we let someone who is 12 play a game that is rated T for Teens?

  • 3. Tyler Rousseau  |  December 20, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Good Question. I think there are two things to consider:

    First, what are the general policies of your library with other rating systems? You may want to consider a permission slip if it is for a tournament. If you are talking about borrowing, then the question is whether or not you allow a 12 year old to check out a pg-13 film.

    Second, what is it rated Teen for? Song lyrics are one thing, running over pedestrians and exploding this and thats are another.

  • 4. Tyler Rousseau  |  December 20, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Good Question. I think there are two things to consider:

    First, what are the general policies of your library with other rating systems? You may want to consider a permission slip if it is for a tournament. If you are talking about borrowing, then the question is whether or not you allow a 12 year old to check out a pg-13 film.

    Second, what is it rated Teen for? Song lyrics are one thing, running over pedestrians and exploding this and thats are another.

  • 5. Seth Stephens  |  December 21, 2006 at 10:25 am

    Maybe I am being a curmudgeon, but isn’t the first question to ask “why”? Over the last week I’ve been reading about game systems and their use in public and academic libraries and I am convinced that too often, libraries get into gaming as a part of their service program, without asking why they are doing it. Also, in many cases, there is not a lot of thought given to the desired results. I fear that without asking why? and defining success and failure many programs become “legacy” programs whose reason for being is that we’ve always done that.

  • 6. Seth Stephens  |  December 21, 2006 at 10:25 am

    Maybe I am being a curmudgeon, but isn’t the first question to ask “why”? Over the last week I’ve been reading about game systems and their use in public and academic libraries and I am convinced that too often, libraries get into gaming as a part of their service program, without asking why they are doing it. Also, in many cases, there is not a lot of thought given to the desired results. I fear that without asking why? and defining success and failure many programs become “legacy” programs whose reason for being is that we’ve always done that.

  • 7. Tyler Rousseau  |  December 21, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Is the question why do we offer gaming in libraries or what should the desired result of gaming in libraries be?

    I think the simple reason for why we offer it is because it is something to get the kids into the library in the first place. It is something to make them look at the library differently than traditional terms and more of a comfortable place to kickback, relax, study and have a little fun.

    As for desired outcomes, it fights the stigmata that gaming is an anti-social pasttime. Gamers are very social creatures and they enjoy the chance to come out of their home and show their stuff. Gaming in libraries bring social opportunities to our teen patrons, sometimes ones who wouldn’t even look at eachother at school.

    It also allows the librarian a chance to push circulation of materials; movies, music, books… whatever. If they do a gaming event right, there can be stations of entertainment which spotlight materials the patrons would find interesting. They look at them, check them out and up the circulation statistics therefore making the incredibly strong argument of just how valuable libraries are to communities.

  • 8. Tyler Rousseau  |  December 21, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Is the question why do we offer gaming in libraries or what should the desired result of gaming in libraries be?

    I think the simple reason for why we offer it is because it is something to get the kids into the library in the first place. It is something to make them look at the library differently than traditional terms and more of a comfortable place to kickback, relax, study and have a little fun.

    As for desired outcomes, it fights the stigmata that gaming is an anti-social pasttime. Gamers are very social creatures and they enjoy the chance to come out of their home and show their stuff. Gaming in libraries bring social opportunities to our teen patrons, sometimes ones who wouldn’t even look at eachother at school.

    It also allows the librarian a chance to push circulation of materials; movies, music, books… whatever. If they do a gaming event right, there can be stations of entertainment which spotlight materials the patrons would find interesting. They look at them, check them out and up the circulation statistics therefore making the incredibly strong argument of just how valuable libraries are to communities.

  • 9. Jill  |  December 21, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Tyler wrote:

    I think the simple reason for why we offer it is because it is something to get the kids into the library in the first place.

    While I agree that this can be a valid reason to include gaming in library materials/services for teens, I think it’s not the only one. I’d argue that games can also be a way for teens (and others) to explore the nature of narratives. Just like movies, books, and materials in other media, games often have complex storylines – and many games (particularly role-playing games) allow players to contribute to the plots, characters, and settings they encounter. If our goals include exposing teens to stories that speak to them, and helping them become critical readers/creators of the stories they encounter, I think providing access to games can be one step toward meeting these goals.

  • 10. Jill  |  December 21, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Tyler wrote:

    I think the simple reason for why we offer it is because it is something to get the kids into the library in the first place.

    While I agree that this can be a valid reason to include gaming in library materials/services for teens, I think it’s not the only one. I’d argue that games can also be a way for teens (and others) to explore the nature of narratives. Just like movies, books, and materials in other media, games often have complex storylines – and many games (particularly role-playing games) allow players to contribute to the plots, characters, and settings they encounter. If our goals include exposing teens to stories that speak to them, and helping them become critical readers/creators of the stories they encounter, I think providing access to games can be one step toward meeting these goals.

  • 11. George  |  December 22, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    I wrote a blog post on another blog (with a different identity) about social gaming. Video games are a part of my life. My 8 year old can navigate games that I have trouble with. My 3 year old hasn’t known a day of his life without video games. My wife plays (but they’re puzzle games). All of my good friends are gamers. And we play on a regular basis. Usually through Xbox Live.

    Point is…

    This is a major part of people’s lives. Look at the hype over getting the next-gen consoles and playing the latest games.

    Public libraries struggle with teen services. If we can get them in the library, we can try to lure them into using our other services.

    Why do they put milk at the back of the grocery store?

    My library has received a grant for marketing to teens. We are racking our brains to get teens in the building. We have a Teen Board and they actually wanted genealogy programs.

    We were stunned.

    But we are open to trying new things.

  • 12. George  |  December 22, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    I wrote a blog post on another blog (with a different identity) about social gaming. Video games are a part of my life. My 8 year old can navigate games that I have trouble with. My 3 year old hasn’t known a day of his life without video games. My wife plays (but they’re puzzle games). All of my good friends are gamers. And we play on a regular basis. Usually through Xbox Live.

    Point is…

    This is a major part of people’s lives. Look at the hype over getting the next-gen consoles and playing the latest games.

    Public libraries struggle with teen services. If we can get them in the library, we can try to lure them into using our other services.

    Why do they put milk at the back of the grocery store?

    My library has received a grant for marketing to teens. We are racking our brains to get teens in the building. We have a Teen Board and they actually wanted genealogy programs.

    We were stunned.

    But we are open to trying new things.

  • 13. Tyler Rousseau  |  December 26, 2006 at 9:15 am

    On an Update:

    I got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas.
    Perhaps I am in the honeymoon period between the novelty of the controllers and systems but I am completely swept off my feet with it. The controllers were amazingly easy to get used to, but incredibly sensitive to the slightest movement. The Wii’s homesite sets up more like a personal webpage, and also has its own avatar maker and social chatrooms built in… in short they have really taken the system in a completely new direction.

    I’ll quit my “comment” here. If you want to read mroe about my Wii review then go to other blogsite in the next couple days and I will have a post ready

  • 14. Tyler Rousseau  |  December 26, 2006 at 9:15 am

    On an Update:

    I got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas.
    Perhaps I am in the honeymoon period between the novelty of the controllers and systems but I am completely swept off my feet with it. The controllers were amazingly easy to get used to, but incredibly sensitive to the slightest movement. The Wii’s homesite sets up more like a personal webpage, and also has its own avatar maker and social chatrooms built in… in short they have really taken the system in a completely new direction.

    I’ll quit my “comment” here. If you want to read mroe about my Wii review then go to other blogsite in the next couple days and I will have a post ready

  • 15. Beth Gallaway  |  February 19, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    PS2 has my vote at the moment for an affordable library purchase. They have a wide array of games (the Wii, being new, has a small library), and PS2 games like DDR, Eye-Toy Play, Karaoke and Guitar Hero are well-suited to library programs because of the performance aspect.

    I own an XBox 360 and find there are few games appealing to girls or children – it was designed for 18-30 year old male gamers, and the library of titles available follows suit. I am loving Lego Star Wars II and just got Viva Pinata, so maybe these 2 titles will make me rethink it, but LSWII is available for every console.

    I did get a Nintendo Wii at last, last week, but it has taken three months to find one. Accessories, as well as the consoles and games, remain scarce. The four player options and backwards compatibility are huge bonuses, and the game play IS absolutely revolutionary. I am finding the graphics unimpressive and the play slow, and the remotes sometimes unresponsive. And, it’s not terribly intuitive (took me WAAAAY too long to figure out how to send my miis to friends).

    Reading over some of the comments on WHY to offer gaming, I agree that story is inherent to games, and libraries are all about stories and information in many formats. The best reason to offer games is to build developmental assets of teens, not to make future taxpayers, or increase book circulation, but to show them that their interests and needs are valid and important, and the library is relevant to their lives.

  • 16. Beth Gallaway  |  February 19, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    PS2 has my vote at the moment for an affordable library purchase. They have a wide array of games (the Wii, being new, has a small library), and PS2 games like DDR, Eye-Toy Play, Karaoke and Guitar Hero are well-suited to library programs because of the performance aspect.

    I own an XBox 360 and find there are few games appealing to girls or children – it was designed for 18-30 year old male gamers, and the library of titles available follows suit. I am loving Lego Star Wars II and just got Viva Pinata, so maybe these 2 titles will make me rethink it, but LSWII is available for every console.

    I did get a Nintendo Wii at last, last week, but it has taken three months to find one. Accessories, as well as the consoles and games, remain scarce. The four player options and backwards compatibility are huge bonuses, and the game play IS absolutely revolutionary. I am finding the graphics unimpressive and the play slow, and the remotes sometimes unresponsive. And, it’s not terribly intuitive (took me WAAAAY too long to figure out how to send my miis to friends).

    Reading over some of the comments on WHY to offer gaming, I agree that story is inherent to games, and libraries are all about stories and information in many formats. The best reason to offer games is to build developmental assets of teens, not to make future taxpayers, or increase book circulation, but to show them that their interests and needs are valid and important, and the library is relevant to their lives.


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