The New York Public Library has begun a discussion series focused on video games, allowing more people to examine and analyze the inner workings of game design.
Launched in May, the NYPLarcade Game Club is a book club for gaming, but it's also a bit more instantly gratifying. Games are played on the spot, and then talked about afterwards like a film screening, allowing the impression to remain fresh, and the discourse to evolve naturally from immediate experience.
In a profile compiled by Polygon, NYPLarcade founder Thomas Knowlton talked about his intentions for the club, and why he believed it was necessary to create. "For about a year I was kind of asking myself, 'What could the library bring to this kind of interesting video game scene that's going on in New York?'," Knowlton said. "Eventually something kind of clicked with me. A lot of it was the games themselves, specifically independent games, just the fact that that so many of them are coming out on big consoles."
"Indie games tend to be shorter, self-contained experiences and, as a result, they offer an immediacy to both gamers and non-gamers, which is hard to replicate with a longer, AAA title," Knowlton added. "It sort of seemed natural, once I had that inspiration, to bring these into the library, which has always been a great social space to talk about books and films."
The club breaks down its schedule into series, the latest of which is taking a look at overlooked games from 2012 and concludes in February. The program doesn't show any signs of stopping, and Knowlton already has ideas about where he wants to go next. "It would be fantastic to do an all-day play-through of Grim Fandango or Day of the Tentacle," Knowlton said. "I've also been toying with the idea of a Hideo Kojima retrospective, especially with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance coming out. The Metal Gear Solid series is a perfect example of something that has immediate appeal to non-gamers as well as die-hard gamers."
You can discover more about the NYPLarcade Game Club over on Knowlton's NYPL blog, and learn when and where to attend if you live locally.