13-Year-Old Girl Wins Minecraft Hunger Games Tournament on International Games Day

ALA’s International Games Day, on November 15, brought together hundreds of libraries around the world to participate in gaming, including a battle-to-the-death tournament of Minecraft won by a middle-schooler from Providence, RI.
Minecraft Hunger Games participants, Messiah (left), and its new world champion Catherine (right), at the Providence (RI) Community Library on November 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of PCL

Minecraft Hunger Games participants, Messiah (left), and its new world champion Catherine (right), at the Providence (RI) Community Library on November 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of PCL

Ninety-two libraries worldwide participated in the Minecraft Hunger Games (MHG) tournament on the seventh annual International Games Day (IGD), sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) on November 15. At the end of the event, Catherine, age 13, representing the Providence (RI) Community Library (PCL), had captured the title of IGD’s Minecraft Hunger Games world champion. Ed Graves, a librarian at PCL who organized this year’s MHG tournament at the Rochenbreau branch, said the winner, an eighth grader at the Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence, is one of the library’s “regular afterschool gamers.” She also belongs to the library’s afterschool Minecraft gaming club. Gaming is an area where “the kids are experts,” says Graves. “We’re seeing what they’re passionate about.” Minecraft is a huge part of this generation’s culture and an effective way to hook young patrons, explains Eli Neiburger, deputy director of the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library (AADL) who helmed this year’s MHG tournament. “[Minecraft is] closer to computer programming than any other game.”

IGD: Expanding

Launched in 2008, IGD “helped…communities make the connection between content, information, recreation, and games in libraries that people already make with those same things around books,” says Jenny Levine, the former-director of ALA’s Games and Round Table (GGRT) who ran the event for its first five years. Photo by San Mateo County Library (https://www.flickr.com/photos/smcl/)

Patrons play table top games on International Games Day in 2013 at the San Mateo (CA) County Library Photo courtesy of San Mateo County Library (https://www.flickr.com/photos/smcl/)

In partnership with the Australian Library and Information Association (Australia’s version of ALA) and Nordic Game Day (a gaming day sponsored by Nordic libraries), IGD invites libraries from around the world to showcase their gaming programs and services, including board games and digital games. The purpose? To encourage patrons to interact with a diverse group of peers, share their expertise with others, and develop new strategies for gaming and learning. Diane Robson, director of ALA’s GGRT, tells SLJ that this year, the sponsors approached them. This hasn’t always been the case, and she saw it as a sign of how the reputation and popularity of IGD, and gaming, has grown. This year’s sponsors for table top games included GameTable Online; Good Games; Looney Labs; Simply Fun; Starline Publishing; Steve Jackson Games; and USAopoly. (The games sets are distributed free to the first 500 registrants.) “For libraries without a budget, [registering for IGD] is a good way to build up your games,” Robson says. Robson tried to recruit libraries in regions that haven’t been active in IGD before, including China and parts of Eastern Europe, but she wasn’t able to get them on board to participate this year, which she partly attributes to server firewall issues for the online aspect. Another obstacle with recruiting libraries in other countries is that IGD’s pitch letter and its website are both only available in English. However, she shares, IGD plans to provide translated versions in the not-so-distant future.

Minecraft Hunger Games: How it works

Photo courtesy of International Games Day 2013 at the Bloomington (IL) Public LIbrary/Bloomington (IL) Public LIbrary (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mybpl/)

Gamers playing online video games on International Games Day 2013 at the Bloomington (IL) Public LIbrary. Bloomington (IL) Public LIbrary (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mybpl/)

For this year’s MHG tournament, participating libraries—70 from North America, 11 from Europe, and 14 from Australia—selected their two best players, one boy and one girl, to fight for their library’s honor. Based on the popular commercial online construction game Minecraft, Minecraft Hunger Games (also referred to as Minecraft Survival Games) is a mash up of Minecraft with tropes from “The Hunger Games” series. To play, the library (or individual) must have Minecraft installed. PCL, says Graves, purchased its games licenses from Minecraft.edu. However, the Hunger Games server, which provides the modifications to the Minecraft software, is generally free, says Neiburger. “You just need a server." (Which AADL provided.) According to Neiburger, to participate in the games, each library registers as a "district" with its own specialty. For example, Ivanhoe (CA) Branch Library, District 79, was “The Art Deco Clock District.” He says it’s helpful for someone on site at the library to be the point person who ensures there are two computers loaded with Minecraft software, a valid Minecraft login, and an Internet connection. Then, during the week leading up to IGD, this year, November 10−14, each library conducted “reapings,” or MHG matches, to decide who their “tributes” from each region would be. “On Saturday [November 15], we have regional semifinals,” says Neiburger, where the winners from each region—i.e. northeast, southwest, etc.—play each other starting at 3 pm ET. Those winners move on to nationals, and then the winners advance to internationals. Participating in IGD, kids work to improve at the games used in the event, a feedback loop that many kids don’t get to achieve in the school system, argues Neiburger, who says the confidence transfers to other areas. Graves adds, “If we can create opportunities for our teens to be leaders in a safe environment, it’s a win win for everyone.” More resources about IGD and Minecraft Hunger Games:
International Minecraft Hunger Games in a nutshell: http://igd.ala.org/2014/08/04/aadl-presents-international-minecraft-hunger-games/ FAQs about International Minecraft Hunger Games: http://igd.ala.org/faq/ Email AADL to inquire about joining the Minecraft Hunger Games server: gtsystem@aadl.org Getting started with Minecraft multiplayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1_SF4sDwd4 Minecraft handbooks from Scholastic: http://store.scholastic.com/Books/Hardcover-Books/SearchCmd?Ntt=Minecraft
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Was the hunger games tournament played on Xbox or PC?

Posted : Jan 24, 2015 10:54

Carolyn Sun

Tom, it was played on a PC using a server. The article said, "...it’s helpful for someone on site at the library to be the point person who ensures there are two computers loaded with Minecraft software, a valid Minecraft login, and an Internet connection." Hope this helps.

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 02:24



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