Guins adds items, organizational support to library’s game collection

Zoe Spilker • March 19, 2017
Students can use classic video game equipment in the lab in the Wells Library. (Michael Williams | The Media School)
Students can use classic video game equipment in the Wells Library. (Michael Williams | The Media School)

The individual media rooms located in the new Moving Images Archives and Collections area in the ground floor of Herman B Wells Library are not meant to be quiet places.

And that’s as good thing as students soon will be allowed to check out their favorite video games to play on different consoles for fun or for class research. And it’s hard to be quiet when playing games such as the first Sonic the Hedgehog on a SEGA Genesis, H.E.R.O on an Atari 2600 or Madden NFL 17 on a PlayStation 4.

Media School professor Raiford Guins is contributing to the future noise level by helping build a collection of historical games, magazines and systems through IU Libraries, not only to support the his school’s game design program, but also to put IU and its libraries on the gaming world map.

Guins is donating games from his personal collection, as well as his expertise, as he partners with the librarians currently curating collections of games, consoles and video game magazines.

The library is also building an archive of video game magazines, currently stashed in 78 boxes holding more than 8,000 issues. (Michael Williams | The Media School)
A collection of consoles and about 400 video games will be ready for students to check out in March. (Michael Williams | The Media School)

A collection of consoles and about 400 video games will be ready for students to check out in March. The library is considering a collection of video game magazines.

“It’s not so much knowing about video games, it’s thinking more about what an institution such as IU can do in terms of claiming a stake or putting a flag in game studies,” said Guins, who joined the faculty last fall.

The collection will enhance the existing materials already housed at one of the countries largest academic libraries. The collections provide research and hands-on gaming experiences for students and professors involved in game studies courses, those receiving the school’s bachelor of science in game design degree and those who simply want to play.

Nicholae Cline, librarian for media studies at the Wells Library, sees the video game collection as an important connection between The Media School and library.  Cline contacted Guins to see which consoles and games were most relevant for study, and Guins responded with a list of about 25 consoles and 10 to 20 games for each.

 The library will be home to systems from each generation, from the earliest games to the most recent. (Michael Williams | The Media School)
Students may check out consoles for up to four hours to be played in the library’s media rooms. (Michael Williams | The Media School)

Cline said they hope the video game and console collection portrays a sense of progress in the radically changing gaming industry. The library will be home to systems from each generation, from the earliest games to the most recent.

Guins said he thinks the magazine collection will play an especially important role in video game research. Video game magazines can offer important information for research, but they often are ignored or lost.

“Let’s say if you were an avid reader of Nintendo Power in the 1990s. You grow up, you move on, and this stuff gets chucked out,” Guins said. Instead, he is collecting thousands.

Guins said these gaming magazines are important because they contain original advertisements, information about how games were conceived and stories about game designers and developers. They offer a window into the organized gaming culture of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

In a broader sense, video games can be windows to the history of computers, television, games and play, he said.

Check out gaming systems:  

The Moving Image Archives and Collections is located near the Bookmarket Eatery on ground floor of Wells Library. Ask the front desk to check out games and consoles.

Students may check out consoles for up to four hours to be played in the library’s media rooms. You may check out games for many different gaming platforms, including currently popular systems, to play at home.

Hours are:

  • 11 a.m. to 11:45  p.m. Sundays
  • 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday
  • 8 a.m. to 8:45  p.m. Fridays
  • 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Saturdays

More: