Video game night

Students playing video games in the library

Photos by Mary Stettner

How do you prepare a class for a meaningful discussion of video games when students' gaming experience ranges from expert to none? Hold a video game night!

When Associate Professor of English Kate Singer added a section on video games to her Spring 2016 first-year seminar on digital culture, Cyberpunk Grrrls: Women and the Digital Age, she approached Library, Information and Technology Services liaisons Mary Stettner and Caro Pinto for help putting together an opportunity for her students to gain hands-on experience with gaming. Further collaborating with Five College Digital Humanities program and LITS Media Services, they were able to bring in a PlayStation, Wii, Oculus VR headset, a couple of Google Cardboards, and laptops to run Twine games. Set up at stations across two adjoining library classrooms, the variety of equipment allowed the class to sample a range of game types: first-person shooter, motion control, virtual reality, and text-based.

Singer also invited members of MHC’s student video game club, Autosave, who added an element of peer teaching to the evening. They kicked off the event by sharing their personal experiences of gaming culture, then circulated around to each of the stations offering tips and answering questions. The combination of these guests and the relaxed party atmosphere (pizza and sushi included!) gave students an enjoyable introduction to the communal nature of gaming as well as to the technology.

Are you are a faculty member interested in introducing your students to new technology? Contact your LITS liaison to find out how we can help.

Special thanks to Jeffrey Moro, former Five College Digital Humanities Post Bac; Melissa Billing, Amherst ’18 undergrad Virtual Reality researcher; and the members of Autosave.