ATEC’s Games and Media Library, which closed for renovation last semester, reopened in February.
The library has moved to a bigger room with new inventory and a redesigned space and purpose.
“That room was so small and you get four or five people getting really into it, the noise traveled and there were offices outside,” said Michael Andreen, ATEC senior lecturer and games faculty representative on the GML committee.
Though popular, the GML was primarily a space for students to play video games and not the academic resource that the GML committee desired.
“If we’re going to get a bigger space it can’t just be a space that people go and play ‘Smash Brothers’ for eight hours,” Andreen said.
Currently, the GML is not functioning at full capacity.
“The lab is actually open now. It’s not quite fully running, we still only have one library tech on duty. We are currently in the process of hiring three more” said Josh Miller, a graduate student and representative on the GML committee.
When the new staff is fully trained, the GML will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every weekday. Hours will be split with 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. reserved for research and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. set aside for recreation.
“We are also planning on having a lot of really cool events. … We’re going to have things like, potentially a Game of the Month … throughout the month students can come in and play it, it’s going to be really cool. And at the end of the month we can have a faculty member or a graduate student host a discussion on it,” Miller said.
The space has been repainted, new furniture and consoles have been brought in and the inventory has been updated and catalogued. A large part of the GML’s growth has been in non game-related media, with new television for media viewing, computers with animation software and art books from famous movies by studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks.
The new resources give students the opportunity to actually play the games or see the art that they discuss in class. For some students, doing so is a necessity.
“We are going to have students who need to play these games because they are in Michael Andreen’s History of Games course. So they need desperately to play these older games on older consoles that they may not have access to because they are writing papers on them,” Miller said.
Unless a student needs to bring guests to play a multiplayer game, the GML is only open to ATEC students. Additionally, outside of the recreation period, students can only use the library if a professor puts in a request for access.
ATEC administration has identified the GML as a valuable resource for both students and faculty. They plan to continue funding the library as well as continuously updating the inventory.
“One of the nice things about the library is it can kind of be a work in progress. We can constantly update things as we go,” Andreen said.
Despite the library’s transition into a more academically focused space, Miller does not want to discourage the students who had previously made the GML their own.
“In the past it’s primarily just been a cool place for students to come hang out which is not a problem, we want to have that kind of community. … But there also still needs to be an academic focus,” Miller said.
The new GML is the result of months of planning and renovation, and Andreen has high hopes for its future.
“The big thing with this is always going to be striking a balance. My vision for this is a place where people can play things and research things all together,” Andreen said. “There is a lot of potential for growth and we are right on the cusp of getting going. … I want to see this turn into a space where people can have fun but also learn to think more deeply about games in general.”