International Games Day is fast approaching, and it’s one of our annual favorites with my tweens and teens. It was originally created by Scott Nicholson and Jenny Levine in 2007 from an idea to set a world record for having the largest number of people playing the same game at the same time, and named National Games Day. In 2012 it became International Games Day and has become a way to celebrate the love of gaming, and to share that love with others- whether it’s through video games, board games, card games, or any other type of games you can think of!
Although it is officially being held on November 21 this year (and forever more the third Saturday in November), you can hold your event on any day around the official day by registering your event with IGD. Registering your event gets you on the map and site publicity, and if you’re able to fill out the form ASAP, you may still be able to receive some free games to help out your program!
Even if you don’t get free stuff for registering, you will get publicity from the site, and having the program itself is a win-win for the library:
Gaming is a form of shared culture
Gaming fosters socialization and connections across multiple backgrounds and barriers
Gaming fosters intelligent literacy within the community
Gaming furthers the mission of the library and the community
So what can you do for a last-minute International Games Day program?
Take stock of what you have available. Do you have board games in your library or your library system that you can use? Console games? Computers that you could take over for part of the day? Does your staff have games that they’d let you borrow for the day? Could you talk to the local businesses and see if they’d be willing to donate some games for the cause? Would your Friends of the Library or your patrons be willing to donate some games or other things to make the day completely awesome?
Think about the audience you’re likely to have. For the day that you have, do you usually have families? Tweens? Teens? What audience do you want to have? Where can you put up flyers and ads to capture their attention on short notice?
What are the best games for that audience? Games that I’ve had the best times with are: For families: Apples to Apples family edition, Uno, Monopoly, LEGO console games, almost anything on the Wii, Disney Infinity For tweens: Zombie Fluxx, Monster Fluxx, Monopoly, Clue, sports console games, Minecraft, Terraria, Jenga, Pop Cranium For teens: any fighting console games, Munchkin, Killer Bunnies, almost all Fluxx versions (beware of Cthulhu Fluxx), Tapple, King of Tokyo
Even if you just have games available and run it as a self-directed program, that would count as being part of International Games Day. Other ways to get involved would be to reach out to your local comic shop and see if someone there would be willing to demo some of their card games that they run on a regular basis, or some of the strategy games that they host. Another option would be to ask some of the local businesses that sell video games for which you have equipment if they’d be willing to come over and demo some of the newest games for a set time, and let participants have turns playing them. Especially since the event is right near one of the most popular shopping days of the year, it could be an amazing opportunity for them to gain some community awareness right when it could help them most.
There are a host of different ways you can still get involved in IGD, even if it wasn’t previously on your radar. What are you thinking of doing? Share your ideas with us in the comments, or on Facebook!
Christie Gibrich found that aerospace engineering was not the right career path for her, and has been happily working with teens and tweens since 2001. She’s been on several committees, written numerous articles, and has spoken at state and national conferences on both QUILTBAG and comic/geek topics. Her pathway to geekdom and fangirl was basically predetermined having grown up surrounded by computers and sci-fi, and she now happily enjoys the worlds of comics, SuperWhoLock, Disnerds, midnight releases, and passionate debates over originals vs reboots. She's also recently relocated to the Orlando area, and exploring Florida while writing. She blogs at A Geek in Librarian’s Clothing. She tweets at @mz_christie and dabbles on Instagram and Tumblr.