Caroline the Future Librarian

Caroline Davis | LIBR 265-10 | SJSU | Wrenn-Estes

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Name: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Developer: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo DS
Date: October 2007
ESRB Rating: Everyone
UPC: 4902370516081

Summary: The fourteenth installment in the popular Legend of Zelda video game franchise, the story of Phantom Hourglass follows hero Link in his attempt to rescue his friend Tetra from the evil Bellum, a life-eating monster.  With the help of his fairy companion, Ciela, and the assistance of mariner Captain Linebeck (and his ship, the S.S. Linebeck), Link must travel through the islands of flooded Hyrule to find hidden maps and clues in order to help him on his rescue mission.  The Phantom Hourglass helps Link discover the Spirits of Wisdom and Power, and he discovers the true identity of the Spirit of Courage and the Ocean King, all who are supporting him on his quest.  In order to defeat Bellum, Link must forge the Phantom Sword from metals collected from various islands in the archipelago.  Will Link reach Tetra in enough time to save her?

Critical Evaluation: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a great addition to the popular video game series.  The game really translates well into the Nintendo DS platform.  A portable gaming system (great to bring on the go!), the DS features two screens, including one touch screen.  In Link’s voyage, the touch screen frequently displays the map, while the action takes place on the top screen.  This means that certain actions, like moving the ship in a certain course, can be achieved by drawing the desired course on the touch screen with the provided stylus.  I liked that it was possible to skip through many of the video portions – while they were nice for providing background to the plot, it was also great to have the option to skip ahead and get to the action!  In addition to the main adventure plot, it was also possible to play in “Battle” mode – an unrelated mode that allows players to hone their skills, and even challenge friends!  If two players have Nintendo DS systems and a WiFi connection, they can play against one another.

Annotation: Link, the hero of the Legend of Zelda videogames, is assisted by Captain Linebeck in his voyage to rescue his friend Tetra.

Company Information: Nintendo Co., Ltd. was founded in Japan in1889 as a playing card company.  Over the years it developed side businesses, including a cab company, before transforming into a major video game company, one of the most influential in the industry.

The CEO of Nintendo is Satoru Iwata, and the company is based out of Kyoto, Japan.

Genre: Action, Adventure

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas: N/A

Interest Age: 12 and older

Challenge Issues: None.

Challenge Defense Ideas: This game has no apparent challenge issues, but if a challenge comes up:

• Become familiar with the game and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the game from teens who have played it.

Selection: I loved the Nintendo 64 game “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” when I was younger, and was interested in evaluating a newer game in the series.

Extras:

Official Phantom Hourglass website.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Games | , | Leave a comment

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Name: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Developer: Infinity Ward
Platform: Playstation 3
Date: November 2009
ESRB Rating: Mature
UPC: 047875837478

Summary: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a first person shooter, war based video game.  You can play against up to three friends on one game system, picking a location (from deserts and cities to ruins), your weapons, and tracking each other down – sniping at other players from distances, and knifing them when close-by.  If you have an internet connection, you can even play against gamers from all over – up to eighteen at a time!  The ratio of the number of kills you make to the number of times you are killed is calculated so that you are facing other players that are equally ranked, making it an exciting match!  Don’t forget to check out the story mode, which continues the plot from Call of Duty 4, taking you to locations like Red Square in Moscow, Washington D.C. and Afghanistan.

Critical Evaluation: If you’re looking for a realistic war video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 fits the bill.  The graphics are phenomenal, although somewhat gruesome – if you’re the one being fired at, your visor will be splattered with blood. For a non-gamer like me, figuring out the Playstation 3 controls put me at a disadvantage – it was hard enough tracking the other player around the arena, let alone having to worry about two joysticks and various controls for commands and attacks.  In any case, it was obvious why the game is so popular: whether playing in single player mode or against friends and other gamers, playing a game based on tracking each other down is evocative of children’s games like Tag or Capture the Flag, albeit in a very adult, and bloody, war setting.  In other words, it was a lot of fun, even for a novice like me!  The first person shooting perspective really gets you into the character and makes the game come alive.

Annotation: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a war-based first person shooter game, where you can play with up to three friends and track each other down.

Company Information: Infinity Ward was founded in 2002 by former employees of video game development studio 2015, Inc.  Acquired by Activision in late 2003, the company now hires about 70 employees.

They developed the popular Call of Duty franchise, which is currently working on the fifth installment. Infinity Ward is based out of Encino, California.

Genre: Action, Warfare, First Person Shooter

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas:
1) Do violent video games have an effect on the players?
2) How well do you think games like Call of Duty depict actual war?

Interest Age: 14 and older

Challenge Issues: intense violence, blood, language, drug reference

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the game and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the game from teens who have played it.

Selection: I was familiar with the Call of Duty franchise (it was popular enough for me to have heard of it!), and it was recommended by my teen gamer cousin.

Extras:

Official Modern Warfare 2 website.

May 15, 2010 Posted by | Games | , , | Leave a comment

Skate 2

Name: Skate 2
Developer: Electronic Arts
Platform: Playstation 3
Date: January 2009
ESRB Rating: Teen
UPC: 014633154528

Summary: Welcome to New San Vanelona, or New San Van for short.  It’s a skater’s paradise, or at least it would be if there weren’t security guards chasing you in all the best areas to skate.  Pull out your board and start practicing if you ever want to get sponsored and go pro!  Enter skate contents and complete missions in order to earn money at the skate shops, to adorn your player with gear from real skate companies.  Even if you’re not that skillful yet, you can still earn money – by managing to get injured in epic ways, like falling from a tall building.  When you’re getting better at advanced moves, head to any of the several local skate parks to really challenge yourself on the obstacles.  And make sure to play on story mode in order to unlock more gear and locations.  And remember, don’t let those security guards catch you!

Critical Evaluation: This skateboarding video game is a little challenging for the novice gamer – rather than just a combination of buttons, you really have to know how to use the joystick to execute more complicated moves.  Your technique as a player mimics how you would learn the skill on a real board – you can start by skating around on the streets, with fewer obstacles, and learning basic tricks, then progressing up to the challenging skate parks and more advanced moves.  There are even skating contests based on real competitions, like the Maloof Money Cup and Goofy vs. Regular.  Certain elements of game play seem realistic, too, like when you repeatedly fall off your board, your pants start getting dirty and your elbow gets scraped up.  If you do something crazy like skate off a skyscraper, you will not land on your board (like in the Tony Hawk games) – you are going to crash.  But at least you’ll earn money from the “Hall of Meat,” which rewards you for getting injured.  Now that’s not a lesson you’d want to transfer back into real life…

Annotation: Welcome to New San Vanelona, a skater’s paradise – except for the security guards.  Grab your board and start practicing if you ever expect to go pro!

Company Information: Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts, Inc. develops and distributes video games.  The most successful products are the sports related games under the EA Sports label, but they are also the publishers of popular franchises like The Sims.  They are distributors of the game Rock Band.

The CEO of Electronic Arts, Inc. is John Riccitiello, and the company is headquartered in Redwood City, California.

Genre: Sports

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas:
1) Are there certain times when you’d rather virtually skateboard than actually skateboard?
2) What parts of this game are realistic?  What is unrealistic?

Interest Age: 12 and older

Challenge Issues: alcohol reference, language, mild violence, suggestive themes

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the game and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the game from teens who have played it.

Selection: This game was recommended to me by my teen cousin as one of his favorite games.

Extras:

Official Skate website.

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Games | | Leave a comment

Street Fighter IV

Name: Street Fighter IV
Developer: Capcom
Platform: Playstation 3
Date: February 2009
ESRB Rating: Teen
UPC: 013388340095

Summary: Let’s get ready to rumble!  Street Fighter IV is the ultimate street fighting game – it allows you to pick your character (with customizable options that let you change their outfit colors and set a handicap level), and pick an arena for your street fighting match.  Street Fighter IV features familiar characters from earlier versions in the Street Fighter series, such as Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li, as well as introduces new fighters, like super spy Crimson Viper and mixed martial artist Abel.  Each character has different strengths, weaknesses, and attack moves, so there are countless combinations of match-ups between the characters, allowing for hours of fun playing time.  There is a wide selection of match locations, from a crowded parking lot outside a diner at night to a secluded tropical bay, and new special moves to keep the matches interesting.  Street Fighter IV will appeal to any gamer who enjoys the Street Fighter canon, and it will interest new fans of the game as well.

Critical Evaluation: Street Fighter IV is a worthy addition to the Street Fighter line of games, and it combines nostalgic elements from earlier editions with enough new material to appeal to both old and new fans of the franchise.  One of my favorite features was the use of 3D effects – although the game primarily operates in a 2D field, like past Street Fighter games, it also incorporated 3D animation when introducing the characters and environments, although the style in general was a little too cartoony for my personal taste and the movements of the 3D characters seemed a little too unnatural.  I thought the outfits for the female fighters were unnecessarily suggestive – why aren’t they wearing pants? – but I realize this is somewhat standard for this genre of game.  In general, this is one of my favorite types of video games, because even if you are just pressing buttons at random you can hold your own!

Annotation: It’s time for the ultimate street fighting match!  In Street Fighter IV, pick your character, arena, and start fighting!

Company Information: Capcom Co., Ltd. is a Japanese developer and publisher of video games.  Founded in 1979 as Japan Capsule Computers, Capcom has created game franchises such as the Street Fighter, Resident Evil and Dead Rising series.

The CEO of Capcom Co., Ltd. is Kenzo Tsujimoto, and the company is headquartered in Osaka, Japan.

Genre: Action, Fighting

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas:
1) Do violent video games actually have any negative effects on gamers?
2) How does Street Fighter IV compare with earlier Street Fighter games?

Interest Age: 12 and older

Challenge Issues: violence, suggestive themes

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the game and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the game from teens who have played it.

Selection: I asked my closest teen gamer (my cousin) for some game suggestions to review, and this was one of his recommendations.

Extras:

Street Fighter IV official website

Capcom US official website

Trailer for Street Fighter IV:

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Games | , | Leave a comment

The Sims 3

Name: The Sims 3
Developer: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC Games
Date: June 2009
ESRB Rating: Teen
UPC: 014633153903

Summary: Live the virtual life in the most recent game from the popular The Sims franchise, developed by EA Games.  Create an individual Sim or a family, and help them navigate their world.  Control every aspect of their life, from helping them find a job or fall in love – even making sure they shower when they start to smell!  Watch as Sims grow from babies to children through adulthood and into old age, and help them fulfill as many of their aspirations as possible to get a high Lifetime Happiness score (which can be used to buy rewards).  For the first time ever, walk out the front door of your Sims house and seamlessly transition into the neighborhood, without long waits or loading periods.  Help your Sims stay alive…or not!  It’s all up to you in this virtual world.

Critical Evaluation: As a former addict to both the original The Sims and The Sims 2, it was only a matter of time before I tried out the newest addition to the family of simulation computer games.  After the vast number of upgrades from the first version to the second, it seems to me that there are primarily two main changes to the latest update.  First, the Create-a-Sim feature allows much more customization of your Sims features than ever before, allowing the player to spend as much time as desired adjusting the final details of their Sim’s appearance (and personality).  Secondly, the innovative Open World feature means that the entire neighborhood is active at the same time, allowing you to focus in on your Sim or zoom out for a broader look.  This allows for the seamless transition between indoor and outdoor environments for the first time ever.  There aren’t really objectives in this game (unless you count keeping your Sims alive and happy), but it is ridiculously addicting in any case.  Unlike the first version of The Sims, when a profuse amount of hugs and kisses would cause a bassinet to appear beside your characters, the latest two Sims games have more suggestive methods of producing babies, which garners the Teen rating for the game.

Annotation: Control the virtual life of your Sims in the latest installment of the popular franchise.

Company Information: Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts, Inc. develops and distributes video games.  The most successful products are the sports related games under the EA Sports label, but they are also the publishers of popular franchises like The Sims.  They are distributors of the game Rock Band.

The CEO of Electronic Arts, Inc. is John Riccitiello, and the company is headquartered in Redwood City, California.

Genre: Simulation, Computer Game

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas: N/A

Interest Age: 13 and older

Challenge Issues: mild violence, implied sexual content

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the game and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the game from teens who have played it.

Selection: When trying to think of computer games that would appeal to teens, I thought of The Sims 3 because it is the newest addition in a line of games that I became hooked on as a teen.

Extras:

Official Game Website

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Games | , | Leave a comment