Awhile back I was listening to a podcast about gaming in libraries. Commentator Scott Nicholson was talking about dexterity games. To my surprise he started talking about how Crokinole was worth considering because the boards, which are usually rather ornate and pricey, are finally being produced at a reasonable cost. (To jump to a price list for Crokinole boards click here)
I was surprised to hear this because I have been a Crokinole fan since I first played it as a 10 year old kid in my grandparents kitchen in New Brunswick.This eventually led to my parents buying our household a board with which I was able to introduce my teenage friends later on in life.
The reason I’m writing about this is because when I hear librarians talking about gaming in libraries it is almost exclusively about video gaming in the library (except for Scott Nicholson, of course). I feel we’ve come to a point where instead of trying to get youths to cut down on their video gaming we’ve given up and are pitching video gaming just to get kids to show up in libraries. In the name of “relaxation” society is increasingly lenient towards youth partaking in violence training (Call of Duty or Gears of War, anyone?) as a catalyst for social interaction and community, but there is also a rise in the variety of epistemic games so video games aren’t necessarily a bad thing…
Anyway, I’m not talking about removing video games from libraries, but adding games that develop the same motor skills and hand-eye coordination purportedly exercised in video games.
It’s a bit subjective, but my own personal experience is what makes me believe Crokinole would be a hit in a public library. I was a bit of a ne’er-do-well in high school; skippin’ class, smokin’, tokin’, not givin’ a fuck, etc. BUT, after skipping class to go get stoned in a park my friends and I would come back to my house and play Crokinole because WE LOVED THAT GAME! My folks were rather ludditish and it was a miracle we eventually bought a TV, so owning a video console was simply unimaginable. My friends and I could have gone to another persons house to play video games, but instead we chose to play Crokinole.
The trick is actually getting people to play the game or at least see it played. Well, I’m in production of a Crokinole trailer for Youtube so that’s one step in the right direction. But I think if you walk into a teen hang out program and throw down a massive board and ask who wants to play for the Championship of the Universe you’ll get some takers and word of mouth will do most of the leg work for you. My main quandary is with getting teens who NEVER go to the library to come in and play. This is where a trip to your local high school might come in handy. Put some fliers up (with school permission) advertising the usual video game schlock, but make sure a Crokinole board is clearly visible on the flier too. The boards are unique and if you’ve never seen people have never seen one before you may get a lot of “What the F*@k is that?” reactions… which is the first step in the chain of actually getting people to come to the library to see what’s up for themselves.
I bet some people are starting to wonder why I’d want to encourage stony ne’er-do-wells to congregate in a library. My response: IS there a better place for them to go than a public library, one of the last bastions of public space? One may not want to bump into some thugs in the stacks, but it’s less intimidating than bumping into them on the streets. Having a place to go and having adults in the greater community know them by name can do great things for developing a young persons sense of self and responsibility. It takes a village to raise a child and I know that teens tend to think they’re completely grown up, but as we all know by looking back at our teenage selves what we thought we knew back then pales in comparison to what we know now as bonafide, alma matered, legally recognized adults.
Another reason why I think Crokinole would be great for public libraries is because it has intergenerational appeal. Check out this video of the 2009 world championship. I was amazed to see the age difference between these two players. Talk about helping build a youth’s sense of self and community! Maybe I should take back what I said about the “inexperience” of youth. Nathan Walsh looks like he’s 16 or so and he’s a way better Crokinoler than I am at the age of 28.
If any parents, librarians, or stony ne’er-do-wells are curious about buying a Crokinole board for themselves I highly recommend watching Slaqr’s Youtube comparative review (found below) of some of the boards currently on the market. The video is from March, 2011 so the information is still fresh and it is a fairly thorough review.
Until next time, my friends!
Muzzies, Forest Glade, Nova Scotia: New boards from 139$ – 169$. Comes with 28 discs divided by two colours.
Mr. Crokinole, Stratford, Ontario. New boards range from 174.95$ – 400$,these boards come with a set of 13 + 13 discs. Mr. Crokinole also offers discounted boards from liquidation ranging between 95$ – 120$ depending on imperfections (As of July 1, 2011, only 55 units left. )
Mr. Crokinole, Stratford, Ontario. Replacements ranging from 17.95$ (13 black + 13 tan discs) – 22.95$ (15 red + 15 blue disc)… Or 41.95$ for a deluxe four colour set, 52 discs total. Also offers replacement pegs, etc.