While media pundits like Roger Ebert and gaming bloggers like ... um, me, I guess, endlessly debate whether video games are art, the real keepers of humanity's creative history — the librarians — are already acting on the matter: The Toronto Public Library is seeking $300,000 to create a video game collection that, similar to the books it houses, would be freely available to patrons.
Of course, the initiative has its detractors, many of whom will no doubt blame the next instance of violence anywhere in the world on what the library is doing. Toronto paper The Star has a choice quote from Bruce Ballon, head of Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, who couches his words in such a way that he can immediately point to this statement as a prescient warning of impending danger. "The libraries have to really consider the social implications of what they’re offering. It could be great ... It’s just making sure it’s done in a healthy way," Ballon says, presumably while making spooky motions with his fingers and going "OOOoooooooooohhhhhhhhh..." like a Scooby Doo villain.
Forgetting Bruce and all the other dicks who just want to ruin the party, I think this is a sterling idea. If the latest issues of Cosmo and the mindless saccharine idiocy that passes for children's films are fit for a library's collection, why not games? I'll leave it to others to debate which games should be collected, but if I was Canadian I'd phone my member of Parliament, tell him to drop his bowl of Poutine, and divert funds from the country's decadent Curling training camps to make this plan a reality.
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