The Video Game Librarian

John Scalzo worked hard to assemble a collection of video games for an unnamed library and wrote a fantastic article for Gaming Target about the experience. The ground rules were simple: no mature games like Grand Theft Auto and no Simpsons games (d'oh!). Anything else available from the library's approved vendor was, you should pardon the expression, fair game. See what he picked and why in the full article. (Via Kotaku)


I can understand the idea of not including mature rated video games in a library collection, yet it does subtract a bit from the overall feel of a decent video game collection.

See, almost all good video games today tell some kind of story. Grand Theft Auto started out as a simple kind of game where you pretty much just steal cars. By GTA 2 they had a decent story. By GTA 3 they had a really good story. GTA: Vice City brought a nifty crime story set in the 1980s in a town I like to call "Not-Miami." GTA: San Andreas, which is set in "Not-Los Angeles," builds on the series. Truly, you get pretty much the same kinds of stories with GTA as you do with Elmore Leonard. In fact, there's no doubt in my mind that the creators of GTA read a ton of Leonard.

The parallels don't stop there. The Silent Hill series of horror video games share a lot in common with Stephen King and Clive Barker, but truly draw their inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft. The Getaway series, set in the London underwold of Cockney crime and British brutality, would be nothing without a good storyline. Even though films like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels showed us that just because Americans and Brits speak English doesn't mean we speak the same language, they did well because of the great story. The same holds true in the Getaway series.

But then again, a lot of libraries won't carry gory slasher films, films with gratuitous violence (ala Bullet Tooth Tony in Snatch), or films with hefty sexual content. That's their perrogative as long as it fits into their community's needs. But almost all libraries carry books by Tess Gerritson, who can get every bit as gory as a slasher film. Almost all libraries have some books by King or Clive Barker, which can be every bit as horrific as their movies. I just find it interesting that sex, illegal activities, graphic murder, gratuitous violence, rape, prostitution, and swearing are okay- as long as they're printed.

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