MORRILL MEMORIAL LIBRARY

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Now You’re Playing with Power

nintendo-gaming-consoleMy parents had just picked me up from my friend’s house that warm September night in 1989. When we got home and walked through the door, my parents told me I should go right to my room. “Huh?” I had thought to myself, “I didn’t do anything bad (well… this time anyway). However, being a six year old, and exhausted from a day of playing with my friend, I didn’t think too much about their request and headed up the staircase to my room. When I opened the door, both of my brothers were smiling at me, and that’s when I saw it…

On the television stand was a  grey box with a red light to the left hand side of it, two square shaped controllers each connected to the grey box by black wires, and up on that now antiquated CRT television monitor with the scan lines running down it, was that familiar logo- Super Mario Bros. I remember flipping out with excitement; my birthday was not for another week, which really added to the surprise. They had all pitched in to get me a Nintendo Entertainment System (or, as you fellow gamers affectionately call it, the NES) and did I ever love it!

My love for video games never really faded after that either. It might strike some of you as a bit odd, that a thirty-five year old man with a wife and two kids would still play video games, but in fact, many adults still play video games. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 65% of Americans play video games, and the average age of gamers is 32 for men and 34 for women. Video gaming, though traditionally thought of as a predominantly male-centered activity, is not, in fact, a boys’ club. The Entertainment Software Association reports that 46% of all gamers they surveyed were female.

Put the statistics aside though, and I think the joy of video games boils down to a pretty simple philosophy. I don’t think anyone, regardless of their age, should ever outgrow having fun. Here at the Morrill Memorial Library, we have been adding many new items to our “Library of Things” collection for kids, adults, and families to unwind and have some fun.

With that mentality in mind, I knew one of the first items I wanted to add to the ever growing Library of Things collection was an NES Classic. This system is a re-release of the original NES, but smaller, and comes with 30 of some of the best NES games from the 80s and early 90s pre-loaded into it. The system also supports 1080p HDMI output, so the classics have never looked better! The little device has a great spread of iconic games, sporting Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3, The Legend of Zelda, Punch-Out!, Techmo Bowl, and Double Dragon II. Two of my personal favorites on the system are Megaman 2 and the gothic vampire-hunting classic, Castlevania. Though not all the games on the collection are necessarily suitable for young children, Bubble Bobble is a great two-player co-op for the kids, and Kirby’s Adventure, one of the last games released during the NES’s original lifespan, is great fun. Of course, all three Mario Bros. have aged gracefully (especially 3) and are still fun for all ages.

Though the NES is, and always will be, an incredible video game system, its follow-up system, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or SNES for short) is, to me, gaming perfection. The mid to late 90s were an awesome time to be a gamer, and our SNES Classic will let you relive some of the best classics from that era, or experience some of them for the first time. First off, it comes with Star Fox 2, which was in development and was planned for release in 1995, but never saw the light of day. Twenty-two years later, it has been released and is included on the SNES Classic system. Fans of role playing games (RPGs), will particularly love the SNES Classic because it features some of the greats like multiplayer action RPG Secret of Mana, the wonderfully fun and rare Super Mario RPG, and the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy III (6 in Japan). Finding the original cartridges for these three games is difficult and expensive, so the SNES classic is a bargain for these three titles alone. Super Mario World, Mario Kart, and Kirby Superstar are great games for kids. The SNES Classic also has two of my all-time personal favorite games ever- Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and the flawless masterpiece, Super Metroid.

We own a Nintendo Switch at the library as well! Our Children’s department has it for older kids and teens to come and play with after school hours. It does not circulate, but kids and teens are welcome to use the system in the library if they bring their library card. We set it up to a TV screen so up to four players can enjoy it and we have a host of really great games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If you are looking for a safe place to cool down and have fun this summer, be sure to drop by the library and ask about using the Switch at the Children’s desk.

In June, the library partnered with Impact Norwood for a High School finals “de-stressing” program. We brought the Nintendo Switch system to the High School for students to play with and unwind before going back to finish their finals. Teens were really excited to see the system and games, and had a blast playing them. We are always looking for ways to reach out to the community and bring the library to YOU, so we hope to partner with them again, and other organizations, in the near future. I’m also excited to announce that we have just added a Nintendo Wii system for checkout to our collection. Our Wii comes with the system, two controllers, and five games.

Here at the Morrill Memorial Library, we offer so much more than just books. I hope you will check out some of the great gaming options we have added to our collection. The Sega Genesis Classic system and Oculus Quest are being released just around the corner, so stay tuned. Remember, you are never too old to have fun!

Brian DeFelice is the Information Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for his article in the July 3, 2019 issue of the Transcript and Bulletin.

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