As I mentioned in part one , we had tried the LAN approach with mild success. The students that were into it were REALLY into it, but with less than 100 attendees two years in a row, it didn't make sense to continue targeting that niche. Our goal was to appeal to the widest group possible, so we scrapped the LAN plans. Here is what we did instead:
Background & Setup
Retro Gaming is hot right now! What's that? Old school games. Stuff that us Gen X kids grew up on. Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Atari. While modern game systems are sleek and offer complex challenges , there is just something cool about playing Super Mario Brothers. Essentially we turned our Multimedia Center into an arcade. This is a small area filled with Macs. We also offered Dance Dance Revolution , which had been popular at last year's event.
We cranked up the volume and it was packed all night.
- The sounds and noise from the games creating an exciting atmosphere.
- The area was too small. We thought it would be cozy, but it was cramped. Some people just wanted to watch and we could not accommodate the crowd.
- We needed more USB game controllers in order to create a realistic gaming experience. Using keyboards just wasn't the same.
- We offered a handful of game options, including Donkey Kong Country, Street Fighter, Mega Man, and Super Mario Bros. I would like to expand this, but you can only do so much.
- I would have liked to offer an unofficial NCAA Football Tournament. The Madden Tournaments are very popular and it could have been fun to incorporate the Georgia Tech team, especially with Notre Dame as the home opener. Or even if we had several rounds in which students play the computer (GT vs. UGA) and the highest winning score each round wins a prize. I would have liked to enable them to play against each other, however the impression was that students just wanted to play and wanted to watch and be watched.
- We had considered bringing in a Dreamcast , but decided against it because of space limitations.
- You need someone with emulator skills .
Talk about retro-gaming! I'm sure lots of libraries offer board games for patrons to play. Again, we were not trying to be ground breaking here, just appeal to a wide audience. We didn't think too many people would play board games, but this was another area that was packed all night. Library staff were gracious enough to let us borrow a handful of games, including Yahtzee, Monopoly, Twister, and Risk. We built the area into a living room / coffee shop zone with the very relaxed vibe. Bean Bags. Couches. Tables and Chairs. Blankets.
A student asked if we were going to keep Risk in the library so she and her friends could play throughout the semester. We're talking about this, with the theory that providing leisure activities supports our goal of being more than just a place to study or do research, but also a comfortable, inviting, relaxing, social environment. (More on that in PART 6)
FaceBook should give me an endorsement deal. Once more we were able to target students with interest in gaming. Of all the activities we promoted, this one received the more buzz. Student posting several comments to each other and there was tremendous excitement before they arrived.
Some of my favorite retro games: