Gaming: an essay of sorts. OR: mischievous God reigns chaos upon Library Land.

Once upon a time, everyone in Library Land, the librarians, the teachers and the public, all agreed that graphic novels and comic books were good for our youth. Graphic novels encouraged reading for reluctant readers, taught kids how to think in a visual and literary way, and told stories kids needed to read. It was a joyous time in Library Land. Everyone read graphic novels: superheroes, manga, non-fiction, non-traditional comics. People read everything they wanted. And if they didn’t like graphic novels, well, they didn’t read them at all. The war was over. The battle was won.

Then, along came a trickster librarian. We can call this librarian…Loki, maybe. And Loki bought an Xbox One for the library. Some people didn’t notice. It only came out for special occasions. Loki found this level of usage to be unsatisfactory. Loki wanted young adults in the library, and Loki knew that young adults loved one thing beyond emoticons and free Frostees from Wendy’s. They loved Halo.

And so, the Xbox began to make appearances every day at the library. It arrived on a golden ship. Announcements were made over the loudspeaker. It was even mentioned in marketing materials, and in the local newspaper.

Now, Loki was a trickster God. He cared very little for the opinions of naysayers. He cared mostly about chaos and followers. However, Loki’s boss, let’s call him Oden for the sake of argument, was worried about the opinions of actual library patrons, taxpayers and local figures.

“How can kids learn about reading if they are shooting things?”

“Kids are just going to play video games all day, and not learn anything!”

“My tax dollars are meant for books, not Grand Theft Auto!”

Even though Oden had no problem with video games in the library, He still pushed Loki forward, “you created this mess, now you get to fix it.”

tumblr_muceicO0Ns1rzsryqo1_500Loki shrugged. He was the one who wanted Halo: Masterchief Edition, after all. “First, good sir, or ma’am,” he coughed. It was possible that particular taxpayer was either a human in a chicken suit, or, in fact, a very large chicken. It was so hard to tell these days. “I cannot bend the ear of a youth to tell him or her about the wonders of the written word if said youth is not in the library.”

The chicken sat down, feathers unruffled.

“And to you, good madam, with the long floral dress and Coke Bottle Glasses, I say that I have power over the children.”

He grinned and the patrons gasped as he pulled something from his pocket. Some winced and shied away.

Loki held up his smartphone. “I give unto you…Xbox Glass! I can kill any game remotely and take control of the system. The young whippersnappers cannot play forever! For I possess the ultimate power!”

The crowd gasped and whispered amongst itself for a moment, until the old man with the clucking false teeth pointed with his cane at the trickster god. “Oh yeah, well what about Grand Theft Auto! I don’t want my grandchildren racking up points for hitting cops and whores! I don’t care how good the soundtrack is!”

Making a face, it was Loki’s turn to shy away. “Sir, I don’t know who bought you that game for Christmas, but you should stop playing it. You have lost all respect for women and possibly your connection with reality. We don’t buy adult games. We buy cooperative games. Older and more experienced youth teach others and instruct them on how to play. They talk each other through the levels, and discuss strategy. When they play sports games, they have to come up with a strategy, execute it as a team, and use their hand-eye coordination to accomplish the team goal. It is like actual sports, but without parents yelling at the officials and yelling unseemly things from the stands.”

The old man grumbled, but stepped back into the crowd.

“Don’t be afraid, patrons! A new era is upon us! Digital storytelling! Games with cooperative modes, games that promote building and engineering! Games in Japanese where your children must read the subtitles!”

The patrons looked at each other and frowned. The person in the chicken suit waved a feathery wing at the library god. “We’ll let it pass for now. But we have our eye on you!”

And being a trickster god, Loki, the Youth Librarian, poofed away from their sight, and to the nearest GameStop to purchase a shiny new PS4.