UGL Gaming Expo 2015

Welcome back from Spring Break. We’re nearing the end of the semester and finals are just around the corner. To ease the pain, we will be hosting the Gaming Expo, right here at the UGL. On April 9th, from 6-9 PM (upper level, near the video gaming area), you will be able to play our vintage games from our vault, compete with your buddies with games from our collection, check out our Loanable Technology items, and enjoy a study break!

UGL Gaming Expo 2015.

UGL Gaming Expo 2015.

For those of you who are surprised, yes, we have a video game center and some great games from our collection. For all you Maria Kart fans out there, the UGL Media Collection has Double Dash, Super Circuit, Super Mario and much more. To those who are wondering, we do indeed have FIFA (2010, 2011, and so on).

Mario Kart. Photo courtesy of Mikey Lemoi via Flickr

Mario Kart. Photo courtesy of Mikey Lemoi via Flickr

Some of us aren’t daily gamers, but no worries, the UGL has something for everyone. Minecraft allows players to build and construct their own world. Final Fantasy for those of us who like role-playing games. Football season may be over, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop playing. Treat yourself to some Madden NFL.

Madden 09. Photo courtesy of Gamerscore Blog via Flickr

Madden 09. Photo courtesy of Gamerscore Blog via Flickr

We will also have some of our loanable technology out for display. If you have your own consoles and would like to play them in the comfort of your own dorm or apartment, we have what you’re looking for. Available for checkout at the UGL are the Nintendo 3DS XL handheld gaming consoles and the Wii U and PS4. The UGL isn’t all books, come by the expo to check out the items.

Nintendo 3DS XL. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Nintendo 3DS XL. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Last but not least, we will have our Nintendo 64, straight from our vault of vintage games and gaming consoles. Challenge your friends to an exciting game of Super Mario Kart. What are some of your favorite video games? Let us know in the comments below.

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Your tools for finals

Finals week is officially here. Yes, it’s a stressful time, but here at the UGL, we like to make your life easier. The UGL has a lot of resources to offer. These tools can make your life so much easier. So, sit back while we share all of the cool things at the UGL.

Are you in need of a calculator or flashdrive? Forgot them at home? No worries, come by the Loanable Technology desk at the UGL. This desk is located around the corner of the circulation desk on the upper level of the UGL. We have macbook chargers, iPhone charges, Chromebook laptops, and much for students to check out.

Loanable Technology at the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Loanable Technology at the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

If you have any group projects to finish, be sure to reserve a group room, available on the upper level of the UGL. Looking to book for one person or five? Doesn’t matter, our group room reservation system, DIBS, is here to help.

Students working in a group room. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

Students working in a group room. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

If you need a bit of information on a certain topic, but don’t know where to start, subject guides are your friends. Browse the subject guides available on hundreds of topics like computer crime and hacking, student loan debt, women in the media, and much more.

If you don’t know how to…don’t worry, the UGL has the How Do I? pages. Inside this fabulous resource, we have pages on how to get started on your research, finding sources, evaluating sources, citing sources, and class pages. (CMN 101/111, ESL 112/115, and LAS 100).

Do you have a paper that’s due soon? Need someone to take a look over it? The Writers Workshop is here to help. They are located in the consultation corner on the upper level of the UGL. Be sure to go to them with all your writing needs.

The Media Commons gaming center. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

The Media Commons gaming center. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Finals are stressful and take a lot out of you. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. That can be by eating healthy, exercising, or taking breaks in between studying. The UGL Media Commons has a gaming center. Come on over and play some video games with your friends. If video games aren’t your thing, go downstairs and check out the media collection. Treat yourself after finals by binge watching Dexter or Gilmore Girls, whatever floats your boat.

Good luck with finals and as always, the UGL is rooting for you.

 

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

ACM GameBuilders Event at UGL

The University of Illinois has a wide range of organizations and clubs that allow students to nurture their talents and explore their interests. One of these groups, Gamebuilders from the University of Illinois chapter of the Association of Computer Machinery, will be showcasing their work Tuesday November 11th, from 7 to 9 PM in the UGL. The event will take place in the gaming area of the Media Commons. Students from ACM Gamebuilders will be on hand at the event to demonstrate over 25 games that they have created. It should be an informative and a fun look into the art and craftsmanship that went into producing these games. If you’re not able to make it to the event, you can still check out the groups work, as the UGL will have a computer running the games until the end of the semester.

GameBuilders focuses on creating and developing computer video games. This involves a wide range of activities and processes, including programming, visual asset creation, sound and music authoring, as well as game design. The group also provides education on game development and mentoring for interested students who are new to game development. If you’re interested, GameBuilders meets every Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 in Room 3403 of the Siebel Center.

 

The following are some of the games that students from GameBuilders have created.

 Flagfight

 

Flagfight is a capture the flag game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman and Ryan Norby for the 2013 Global Student Game Developer Competition.

 

Cat-astrophe

 

A turn-based tower defense game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman for the Fall 2013 Gamebuild-a-Thon.

 

Dystheism 

 

This game is a 3D block-based puzzle game that features a number of abilities used to solve puzzles (ex: breaking blocks, throwing fireballs). Created by Jack LaSota.

 

Mineralz

 

Mineralz is a 3D tower defense game where you control a robotic dragon that is tasked with defending a crater against a horde of robotic enemies. Created by Ryan Norby, Luke Puchner-Hardman, Eric Christianson, Danny Sapato, and Rafael Rego Drumond.

 

If reading about these student-created games whetted your appetite for gaming, you’re in luck! The UGL has a large collection of modern videogames (including Xbox One and Playstation 4 titles), which can be either used in the UGL at the gaming center or checked out to play at home.The UGL also has a vintage gaming collection that is being preserved for classroom instruction and research use. We’re always adding new titles to our collection, so be sure to keep an eye out for new releases and old favorites.

What are your favorite independently developed games? Any favorite games of 2014 so far? Let us know in the comments.

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

READ WATCH PLAY: Get your face on a poster!

Ever look at your dorm room or apartment walls and wonder, “My decorations are alright, but a poster of myself would really spice this place up”? Well, it’s your lucky day! The UGL is excited to announce the READ, WATCH, PLAY Poster Contest. Yes, it is your golden opportunity to get YOUR FACE on a poster. You can hang it on the wall and show it off to friends, or you can hang it somewhere dark and scare your friends. It’s totally up to you because it will be all yours! So, here’s how it’s going down.

General Poster 1

1. You must be a current undergraduate student at the University of Illinois.

2. You must like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

3. You will then pick a book, movie, or video game that you want to pose with. Explain to us (just 2 or 3 sentences) why you chose that book, movie, or video game and why you think other undergrads would be interested in it.

4. What is your favorite service or space at the Undergraduate Library and why?

A print application will be available at the Circulation desk on the upper level of the UGL. An online application is available at here.

Once a winner is chosen, a “photo shoot” will take place at the video production studio in the UGL. Be ready to reveal your inner supermodel. Once the photos are done, the poster will be printed out and displayed at our wonderful library through spring. An extra poster will be printed out for you to keep!

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

A Day in the Life: Angeline

Have you ever wondered what a librarian’s job looks like? Or what exactly the staff members, faculty, and graduate assistants do at the Undergraduate Library during the day? Here’s your chance to find out! Meet Angeline, a graduate assistant at the UGL.

"A Day in the Life."

Q: So, Angeline, what do you do here?
A: Well, I’m a graduate assistant, so I get to do a lot of different things! Most often, I work at the research desk on the upper level of the UGL, and I also answer your questions through the Ask A Librarian chat. I teach library instruction classes for CMN 101/111, Rhet 105, and ESL 115 classes, so you may have had me as your instructor in one of those sessions. I’m here early to open the UGL on Saturday mornings, so if you really want to make my day, feel free to bring me tea! One of the projects I get to work on that I’m really excited about is digitizing video games.

Q: That sounds awesome. What’s your favorite part about your job?
A: Definitely the people I work with. Between having a lot of classes together and working together, all the graduate assistants here are pretty close. I really like how we all support each other, both in this job and as we have started looking for full-time employment after graduation.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the UGL?
A: Hmmm…the staff area! If you haven’t been back there–and, of course you haven’t, you’re probably not staff–it’s like Narnia. I mean, literally, I have to wear a jacket because it’s so cold.

Q: Besides working at the UGL, what do you do for fun?
A: I enjoy reading comics, mostly from the UGL because we have a really great collection. I’m a big Captain America fan, so I requested the comics we don’t have here from other libraries through I-Share so I could read them ALL.

Q: Nice! Now, let’s talk about something really important. Where is your favorite place to eat in town?
A: Black Dog! I love me some BBQ.

Q: Yum. What’s your favorite part of working with students?
A: Helping students find the information they need. There’s nothing better than having a student ask you for help, then being able to work with them to find what they’re looking for. It makes me feel like a superhero…but with less explosions. Although I did have to call an ambulance once.

Q: What do you wish students knew about the UGL?
A: That so many people who work at the UGL are here to answer your questions and help you with whatever you might need. So, come visit me on the research desk, I’d love to help!

Photo of Angeline

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Old school gaming

If you’ve visited the Gaming Center of the UGL since returning for the fall semester, you may have noticed a new display and some new decor. (And if you haven’t, you should drop by and check it out, along with all the other summer updates). You may already be aware that the UGL has a pretty extensive collection of games and equipment you can check out and take home or play in the library. But you may not know that we also have a large collection of vintage games and consoles, from Atari to Sega.

Mario was originally meant to be a carpenter, not a plumber. Now, before you get too excited, you can’t actually check out any of the vintage consoles or games. Some of them are simply too old or fragile, and too much use could cause them to degrade and become unusable. It’s important for us that the games kept in the best condition possible, as not many libraries have these types of collections. Faculty and researchers doing research into vintage games are able to examine and use the games and consoles, though they will not be available for general use. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got the inside scoop on the collection and you can reminisce with us about those long-lost childhood days. The collection includes games for the Atari, Nintendo, SNES, Sega Genesis, and many more. (Mario! Zelda! Sonic! Donkey Kong! We’ve got them all.) In order to preserve these games for as long as possible, the UGL staff has been hard at work this summer archiving the games and transferring them to storage. This can be a long process, as each game has to have a storage box built around it in order to ensure the best fit and, consequently, the best protection for the cartridge.

Game cartridge in opened box

A game box opened all the way…

Image of game box closed

…and a game box closed up tight to protect the cartridge from light and dust.

Once all the games are boxed and stored, the next phase of the project begins, which includes digitizing the games and eventually, adding them to the library’s catalog so people (like you!) can see what we have. If this has got you itching to play some of your old favorites, you may consider stopping by the UGL to check out updates to the classics, like Mariokart Wii, The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, or Final Fantasy. You need a break from all that studying, anyway.

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Quick-change Acts

Have you popped in for a visit to the UGL since the semester started? If you have, you’ve probably noticed that things are a lil’ different around here. Don’t get disoriented! We’ve still got all the cool stuff you know and love, and even some new stuff. We just did some shuffling over the summer. Here’s a quick guide to some of the major changes.

New books and periodicals area

Behold: your new chill spot.

First off, the new books and magazines – which used to be on the northern side of the upper level – are now on the shelves on the southern side, near the collaboration rooms. You may notice that this is the same spot where the reference books and career cluster used to be. If you still have need of the style guides or test prep materials that used to be there, fear not! We still have them – we just moved them with the rest of the books downstairs. Ask a librarian to help you find them.

Image of media enclosure

Enter and be enter-tained (cue audience groan)

Speaking of downstairs, we also rearranged our media enclosure, so your favorite movies and audiobooks should be easier to find. The audiobooks are now against the left wall, and the VHS tapes are all huddled together like friends. It’s a much better arrangement, but if you still need a bit of help finding something, ask the nice person in the vest who should be sitting at the table pictured above.

Image of video game decorations

Come to the gaming space to feel the cosmos.

In other entertainment news, the gaming space has also been getting revamped over the summer. Why don’t you come in to check it out? We’ll still be adding things as the fall semester progresses – come see our new stuff as we get it!

Image of print release station

The place to go to find (print) release.

Printing, printing, gotta get that printing done. Printing from our public computers still works the same way it did last year – we’ve just moved the printers to new locations, so don’t panic when you don’t see them right away. Did you know that we also now offer laptop printing? Tada! You’re welcome.

While we’re on the subject of laptops, say hello to the Chromebook:

Image of Chromebook laptop

Why hello there.

The Macbooks and HP laptops that you’ve all gotten so much use out of have outgrown their warranties, and gone off to a happy retirement. These sleek new Chromebooks are now your new best friends. Check one out at the loanable tech desk!

That’s it for now. There have also been some changes to the electronic reserves system for your classes – check back next week so you can read our explanation of those. Good luck and happy studying!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Pushing Buttons

Looking for yet more ways to have fun this summer? Of course you are. And, of course, the UGL is here to help. We’ve got video games and everything you need to play them, so why not indulge in a gaming marathon before the fall semester starts and your life gets crazy again?

Image of Mario jumping

I’m somewhere in the UGL, eternally jumping! Come find me!

You can always come in and browse the shelves in our media collection to pick out a game, but if you want to see what we have from the comfort of your own home (or see everything we offer, not just what’s currently on the shelf and not checked out) you can also search for video games using the catalog. If you’re comfortable using the Classic Catalog, then we have a  partial list of games for each console linked from the Games and Consoles page. If you’d rather use the VuFind catalog, here are some ways you can search in there.

To see basically every video game ever, go to the catalog and do a search for ‘Video Game,’ selecting ‘Subject’ from the drop-down menu next to the search box. The results this gives you will contain all our video games, but it will also contain books and movies about video games (like this one!).  So, to make sure you get only video games, use the limiters on the right-hand side of the screen to choose ‘Software/Computer File’ as the format. This will take out all those books and give you only games – about 1,700 of them!

If you don’t want to look at all 1,700 results – say, you only want to look at games that we have for a certain console – there’s a way to do that, too. First, decide what console you’re looking for, type that into the search bar, and select ‘Keyword’ as your search criteria. Then hit the ‘Find’ button.

The search box is on the main catalog interface.

If you want to find computer games, ‘PC Games’ is a good search term to use. Don’t worry, it’ll bring up Mac games, too.

Then, like you did before, select ‘Software/Computer File’ as your format to remove any books or non-video game objects from the results.

The format limiter is on the right-hand side of the screen under "narrow your search"

If you DO want books about video games, pick ‘Books’ instead.

You can check video games out for up to a week and play them on your own devices at home, but we also have several handheld consoles available for one-week loans – you can check out the UGL’s Loanable Tech page to check on their availability. And if you want to play a game on a platform you don’t own, remember that we have several available (with all their associated controllers) in our gaming space as part of the Media Commons! Bring all your friends and have a good time. While you’re there, check out the new display showing off selections from our vintage gaming collection – if you don’t go anywhere else this summer, you can always travel down memory lane.

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Loanable Tech, At Your Service

Cats and students all want to know: can I has this shiny device?
As active and informed members of Club UGL, you obviously know all about our loanable technology options, right? “Of course!” you say. “We check out laptops and chargers and headphones to help us study, all the time!” We know you do, you studious, busy little bees, and we’re glad you get so much use out of them—but don’t forget about all the other tech options that are available to you! For use on assignments or just for funsies and personal projects, we also have cameras, voice recorders, handheld gaming consoles (different kinds!), and tablets—most available for checkout for up to a week at a time. There’s a great big world of shiny technology here for you to explore. Isn’t that exciting?

Not only is our pool of technology large and diverse, but we’re constantly striving to expand it and include more useful gadgets for you. Lately, we’ve been adding lots of video cameras and related equipment for all your amateur and academic videography needs; here are a few we’d like to spotlight and make you more aware of.

The camcorder has a screen that folds out for easier viewing while filming.

It’s a camera! Whee!

HC-V700M HD Camera
If you’re making a video, whether for class or yourself, your primary need is, of course, a camera—and voila, we have just added 10 of these cameras into circulation! They have handy touch-screens to make them more intuitive to work with, and they can capture still images simultaneously with video, at pretty impressive frame rates. These cameras have 16GB of internal memory, but if you need to store even more video, they also accept SD cards. Go ahead, shoot video to your heart’s content!

The tripod is highly adjustable.

Keep it steady.

Tripods
If horror-movie-style shaky cams aren’t what you’re going for in your video project, why not check out a handy tripod to use with your camera? We’ve got itty-bitty 5-inch tripods, and quite tall 72-inch tripods, and some sizes in-between. Keep your camera still, rotate it smoothly, adjust the angle easily—tripods make it possible, and we just added several more. Snap one up!

Flash with mount for different cameras.

She blinded me with science, and LED lights.

Digital Juice Miniburst 128 Light
If you’re trying to film in less than optimum lighting—and it sure is getting dark early nowadays—you can check out one of these LED lights. They will mount onto any of the Panasonic cameras we offer (though you can use them with any camera), and will brighten that scene right up!

The backpack makes it convenient to carry the video camera kits.

It may look plain, but its contents grant untold powers.

Panasonic Video Camera Backpack
If you’re a Serious Videographer with Serious Videographer Needs, we’ve got some goodies for you, too. We just added some unassuming but pretty awesome backpacks that contain not only our Panasonic HC-V700M camcorder (see description above), but also a lavalier mic and a condenser shotgun mic, just to make things extra fancy. If those terms make sense to you and get you going, this is the rig for you. Combine it with the tripods and LED lights, or even a 3D conversion lens (we have those, too!) if you want a really comprehensive setup. Not for the faint of heart, or those with only basic needs.

That’s what we’ve added most recently in terms of video equipment—we also have brand spankin’ new Apple Lightning to USB converters, so that those of you with the newest iPhone can charge ’em up while you’re visiting us. We have loads and loads of things that we’re just itching to loan out to you—why don’t you glance over our list and see what we can help you with? If you want a more visual interface, you can also browse our Loanable Tech Pinterest board, which is also shiny and new.

You live in the future and have all these gadgets at your disposal to make your life easier (and more fun)—come and get ’em!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Read like an Olympian

The London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies officially kick off tomorrow (though soccer is already underway), and we hope you’ll cheer on as some of your fave athletes from your fave countries participate in your fave events (this blogger likes to watch track and field and diving!).

London Olympics flyer with Greek discus throwing statue in front of Big Ben

Photo from The National Archives UK via Flickr Commons

If you want to dive even deeper into the spirit of this spectacular once-every-four-years event that is the Summer Olympics, here’s some books, movies and video games from the UGL’s collection for you to sprint, jump, row, kick, swim, paddle, run, flip, volley, putt, or cycle through!*

book cover: Greek Black figure pottery with athletes wearing running shoes

The Naked Olympics: The True Story  of the Ancient Games

Dig deep into the pagan ritual that was the ancient Olympics. Yes, the modern Olympics have been around for what seems like forever (116 years), but the ancient ones were held for over a millenium: 1200 years in all! There’s lots of history, culture, athleticism, and apparently nudity, to be learned about from this great read.

This Great Symbol: Pierre de Coubertin and the Origins of the Modern Olympic Games (also available online)

Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, was a French baron with a passion for sport. If you’re a history, anthropology, sports, and/or biography buff, pick this up at your earliest convenience. Part biography of Coubertin, part history of the founding of the games, all thrilling look into the theories and dreams behind the modern games.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

Not much needs to be said about this Nintendo DS game; it’s all in the title. Race, swim, jump, and play for the bronze, silver or gold as your fave Nintendo hero. Play it during the commercial breaks while watching the coverage of the real Olympics! (p.s. you can check out a DS from the UGL, too!)

Beijing 2008

Another awesome Olympics video game guaranteed to make you feel like you’ve trained as hard as the real-life Olympic athletes (okay, maybe not quite). Instead of doing the long jump as Yoshi, in this Playstation 3 game you play as an athlete participating as part of a national team in one of over 30 events. Sweet.

DVD cover: British athlete being carried on shoulders of fans in front of Union JackChariots of Fire

A classic in the Olympics genre! Chariots of Fire follows two men participating in track and field on the Great Britain team during the 1924 Paris Olympics. Each has his own deep-rooted, complicated reasons for giving it his all. It won four Academy Awards in its day, so besides being a tale of Olympic glory, it’s also great cinema.

* Library books don’t like to get wet, though, so be sure not to take them swimming, diving or water polo-ing with you if you get inspired. They also appreciate not being kicked, volleyed, putted, or jumped on.

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit