Action games are games that emphasize but are not limited to physical challenges, hand-eye coordination, and reaction time.
Examples: Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Kinect Adventures, Power Up Heroes, Ping-Pong, Pachinko, Pinball, lazer tag, carnival games, tag, hide n’ go seek, Mario Kart, Marble Maze, Mario Party, Cup Stacking, Minute to Win It, Fear Factor
Library Applications: Library Mini-golf, Tournaments, Video Game Nights, Lock-Ins, Cardboard Arcade (DIY program), Ninja Warrior, Library Olympics
It’s no secret: video games are popular with all ages. They are probably your best bet for bringing action gaming into your library. At Clearview we offer monthly video game nights as well as occasional tournaments. Most games these days are offered for multiple gaming consoles (Xbox360, PS3, Wii), but here’s our recommendations for the best tournament games: Tron, Mario Kart, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Mortal Kombat, Dragonball Z, Super Smash Brothers, Call of Duty, Halo, and Power-Up Heroes. There are two basic ways to host tournaments:
- One Night Only Tournament. In this tournament, you employ the classic tournament brackets in charting the progression of winners throughout a one-time event, usually no less than two hours. These are the easiest tournaments to host.
- Here’s a simple 8-person bracket (you can expand or retract based on number of participants):
- If you’re fortunate enough to have two consoles where the game can be played simultaneously, you can also use this bracket (this one is a 16-person bracket):
- Multi-Night Tournament. I use the term “night,” but really you can offer these whenever you want. Multiple day/night tournaments can be as short as two days or as long as a month (I don’t recommend hosting one for longer than thirty days). In these tournaments, you will need a lot of publicity to keep the event running and spotlighted. Multi-night tournaments can be offered at set times throughout the tournament period where players are expected to gather and play against one-another; or, more often than not, players play single games against the game AI and their score is what moves them up the brackets. These events will often employ multiple tournament brackets in one of three ways (listed below).
- Multi-Night Tournament: Phase Style. In this tournament, you will divide the tournament period up into phases. For example, a month-long tournament may have three phases. Contestants will begin in phase one and work their ways up the brackets until a certain number of contestants qualify for phase two and three respectively, with the contestant pool shrinking each phase.
- Multi-Night Tournament: Multiple Tiers. In this tournament, you will actually be running several concurrent tournaments with contestants grouped into a tournament, or contestant pool, based on their skill level. In this type of tournament, each contestant will play a “placement game” which will help the tournament host determine which contestant pool that contestant will compete against (using the contestant’s game score). For example, a player who scores 5500 would end up playing in a tournament against other players who scored between 5000 and 7000. This helps level the playing field for all players; it ensure beginners with a score of 1500 won’t get destroyed by a player with a 20,000 score; and it keeps advanced players engaged by pitting experts against experts.
- Multi-Night Tournament: Divisions. In this tournament, you create divisions for the contestants to play within. Divisions can be based on age, score, school a contestant attends, library branch, favorite color, etc. This tournament is similar to the “Multiple Tier” tournament with the exception that in the end, the winners of each division will play one another until there is only one winner. As an alternative, this type of tournament can be played with teams.
What tournaments have been successful at your library? Are you using video games for programming?