As I finish up a “gaming rig” build for Osawatomie Public Library, I thought I should take stock of the various public library gaming projects we have going on in our region. I realize I may not be privy to all instances, and no doubt most public libraries have some sort of video gaming opportunities.
Console Gaming Grants
Several libraries have been able to take advantage of grants that enabled them to pick up a Playstation or other consoles; Meriden and Overbrook were able to procure Playstations over the past few months. The Nortonville Public Library, the epicenter of all things gaming, has had their patrons gaming away the summer and after-school time since the last generation of consoles (maybe even before). If you are interested in adding new consoles to your library there are several library directors you could learn from. I’m sure Galen, Jerie, or Diane, among others, would be happy to let you learn from their personal experiences.
You have probably heard about MinecraftEDU and how it is being used at Silver Lake Public Library. Now Atchison Public Library will be making this version of the popular game available to their patrons too. I recently upgraded the installation at Silver Lake and took a stab at mining/building on their patron computers. I found the installation pretty painless and the game fairly entertaining.
The MinecraftEDU installation allows patrons to play on an in-library game server or to login with their own official Minecraft credentials to play online. Our standard DELL desktop build seems to have no issues supporting play, but in Overbrook we did find that some older machines, including older DELL desktops which lacked dedicated video cards, could not play the game. Overbrook is adding several more modern machines to keep up with the Minecraft craze, Vive la Minecraft!
Dedicated Gaming Computers
There are three beasts sitting on my techbench waiting to be deployed to Osawatomie. The total cost per machine ended up being close to our standard DELL desktop build but lacks the 3 year gold support warranty. The price we pay for power! These machines, when built, are last years high end build-it-yourself models. Newegg had a parts bundle that matched a CPU, motherboard, case, RAM, and power supply into one easy click and buy option. I decided to purchase extra RAM, a mind numbingly fast solid state hard drive, and a mid to high-end dedicated graphics card. This setup should support modern games on high resolution settings, and the boot time is ridiculous, i.e. Windows 7 loads so fast to the desktop that it will make your face peel.
Earlier this summer Diane Trinkle ordered a bundled gaming package from Ibuypower, and her machine had similar specs to the machines I just finished building, sans the crown-jewel, the solid state hard drive. She used the building of the gaming machine as part of her summer reading program, as building a computer seemed to fit nicely with this year’s theme. I believe she felt that this particular group of kids did not seem to really get into the building of the machine.
For both Nortonville and Osawatomie, I have setup Steam accounts tied to an email address I created for each account/machine. These accounts have no credit card attached to them, but it allows for free games (there are a bunch on Steam) to be played. It will also be possible for the library to purchase games from Steam and then digitally gift them to the gaming machine accounts, for that matter it will also be possible for friends of the library to gift games to a whole community of gamers, but note, a copy of the game will need to be purchased for each account that wants to play the game. As with the Minecraft scenario, it will be possible for patrons to login to their own Steam account and play their games.
Dealing with Deepfreeze will be slightly troublesome. These games can take a long time to download, so a policy probably needs to be in place that allow patrons to download their game to a machine that has been placed in a thawed state so that it will be available on their next visit.
If you are playing a Steam game make sure you look out for our young patron gamers. From Nortonville, you might run into the cunning HiveM1nd, and soon the new OPL clan of gamers: Blister, Carrion, & Darkling, might be found online playing Marvel Heroes 2015, Team Fortress 2, or Cannons Lasers Rockets. Give them a shout a frag and a gib for me.