Video games are like celebrated novels--their immersive narratives and distant worlds transport us into unique story experiences. Just as you close the final page in a fantastic book, finishing a game can become a challenging quest to find something new to enjoy.The mini-games are over, you’ve collected all the secret items, and unlocked bonus characters, so what should you play next? The same challenges apply to gaming as when you want to find your next good read.

You can find out more about upcoming games from watching Let’s Play channels, online forums, in game magazines, and through social media—but did you know you can also ask a librarian?

Hit pause and think about the games you have played recently: What was it that you enjoyed most about the game? Was it the immersive setting of a world where dragons exist? Maybe the cast of characters you met on a journey deep in space? Could it be the richness of the back-stories or lore you read in the game guide? Or perhaps it was the unforgettable art style?

I have to let you in on a little secret: Librarians have a buffed ability called readers’ advisory and when activated, we can help you discover something unexpectedly great. Readers’ advisory translates into more than just traditional reading. In addition to getting help finding games, you can also check out games from any of our locations. Librarians can take into consideration the stories, characters, settings, and styles that you enjoy and curate a list of suggestions that are tailor made just for you. It works wonders for novels, music, and even video games!

The legendary librarian Nancy Pearl recently gave a TED Talk about the joy of readers’ advisory. She talks about this concept she calls “Doorways”, or the paths we can take toward enjoying media. There are four Doorways: story, character, setting, and language. Librarians equipped with reader’s advisory tools can use the Doorways to help you find a great game. You can think of “Story” in games as the overarching plot. “Character” can be anyone from those in your party to non-playable characters (NPC). “Setting” is the world or environment you traverse through. For games, I would replace “Language” with the particular animation or art style of a game. When we think about games as storytelling devices, librarians can definitely play a key part in finding games that fit your specific interests.

So now you must be wondering: how can I level up at the library? You could start by visiting one of our many gaming programs at the library. At my hometown branch Sylvan Way, I have the opportunity to work with some extremely creative teens on not just playing a ton of awesome games, but even creating a few of our own. We’re in the process of making a tabletop RPG that we hope to beta test later this year.

Here are just a few of the teen gaming programs we have coming up at the library in October and November!

What: Minecraft Mania

Where: Downtown Bremerton

When: Third Wednesdays, 3:30-5pm

 

What: Teen Gaming

Where: Bainbridge Island

When: Third Mondays, 2-4pm

 

What: Teen Gamer

Where: Port Orchard

When: First Mondays, 6-8pm

 

What: BiblioTEC Video Game Club

Where: Sylvan Way

When: Third Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30

 

Special Gaming Event: International Games Day at Your Library -- November 21st!

What: Teen Day of Gaming

Where: Port Orchard

When: Saturday, November 21st 10-4pm

What: International Games Day Lock-In *

Where: Sylvan Way

When: Saturday, November 21st, 6-10pm

*Please email mcarlin@krl.org for registration and details.

And if you’re looking to take some of the fun home, here are some can't-miss game finds:

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LEGO Lord of the Rings

ESRB

Rating: E for everyone.

System: Wii The epic adventure of Frodo and the Fellowship comes to the Wii! The game follows the movies closely as the player adventures through Middle Earth—LEGO style.

 

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Portal 2

ESRB Rating: E/10+

System: XBOX

A futuristic puzzle game that takes problem solving skills to another dimension—can be played on solo missions or in a delightfully challenging multiplayer mode. The stylistic puzzles make this story most perplexing, but a group of (slightly defunct) robots may offer you some help. Great for future engineers!

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