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International Games Day gets high score at UCLA

Fourth-year computer science student Anderson Mills and third-year psychology student Rayan Karapet were two of many participants who were able to engage in various games at International Games Day.

By Mallika Singh

Nov. 18, 2013 12:00 a.m.

Instrumental music and voices filled the usually silent foyer of Powell Library.

The sound came from the rotunda on the second floor where on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the library hosted its second International Games Day that offered students an opportunity to play various video and board games.

The event was brought to UCLA last year by Simon Lee, an alumnus of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and a current UCLA librarian. Lee was also in charge of the event this year.

Having been interested in video games while enrolled in the Masters of Library & Information Science program, Lee said he looked to find some way to incorporate games into library programming.

“The American Library Association has an event called ‘International Games Day,’ and I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to create excitement about games and bring the community together,” Lee said.

Powell Library is also currently working to start a video game archive and the event offered attendees a chance to give input as to which games should be included in the collection.
International Games Day provided opportunities for students to play both video games and board games.
(Irene Li/Daily Bruin)

At International Games Day, there was a board where interested parties could leave suggestions of video games for the archive. Entries included the “Final Fantasy” series and “Super Mario Bros.”

“From here we’re gathering some data, going to get interest and see what the community feels about having a video game archive here at UCLA,” Lee said.

International Games Day not only featured known video, board and card games such as Donkey Kong, Scrabble and Yu-Gi-Oh!, but also included games created by students in association with the UCLA Game Lab.

“A lot of the games here were created in the design media lab here at UCLA, and they all deal with different concepts,” said Tyler Stefanich, a Design | Media Arts graduate student and UCLA Game Lab manager.

One of the two student-produced video games was “Cosmicat Crunchies,” which was created by graduate students Alex Rickett and Peter Lu. The interactive game uses Kinect facial recognition technology and is played using movement and face tracking. Players use their mouths to eat on-screen birds and move to avoid missiles.

The UCLA Game Lab also provided six board games, including All Terrain Derby, created by fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Amanda Fung. The board game takes inspiration from roller derby and puzzle pieces. Players have control over battling teams on different terrains, and the first team to reach the finish line wins.

This year, International Games Day also featured performances from the Video Game Orchestra and Choir that featured popular video game songs including “Still Alive” from Mirror’s Edge and “Zelda’s Lullaby” from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The music performances brought a new dynamic and attracted a larger crowd to the event, Lee said.

“It was nice to perform in such a casual setting and have fun with the music,” said Masha Lepire, a second-year Scandinavian languages and cultures student and president of the Video Game Orchestra and Choir.

The attendance at International Games Day was slightly better than last year, said Krystina Metalis, a fifth-year anthropology student and member of Enigma: The Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Gaming Club at UCLA.

The event not only attracted members of the UCLA gaming community, but also garnered interest from other students.

“It is a really cool way to learn more about board games, especially because I didn’t actually know too much about them before,” said Wendy Dng, a third-year economics student.

After a successful second International Games Day, the organizers now look forward to next year’s event, Lee said.

“We plan to have a third International Games Day next year, and as we continue to archive more games, we’re going to have more outstanding things to show in the future,” Lee said. “Games are more than a trivial pastime; they have a great cultural significance to our generation.

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Mallika Singh
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