GamePolitics Poll Results: Should Violent Video Games Be Allowed in Public Libraries?

Last week we asked our readers the following question: "Should public libraries allow patrons to play violent video games on its computers?" Thanks to all 389 of you that voted in the poll. Of those 389 votes, 45 percent (or 176 votes) of you said "yes," video games should be allowed in public libraries, while 41 percent (or 160 votes) said that no video games should be allowed in public libraries at all. While the majority of voters said "yes" or chose the more extreme option, 14 percent of voters (53 votes) said "no" to allowing violent video games in public libraries.

Ultimately it seems that the nays have it if you combine the "no" votes with those who say video games should not be allowed in public libraries at all.

In my opinion, libraries are traditionally where people (at least they used to) who do not have access to material go to find it – including access to books and computers that offer Internet access. One option that libraries could employ is offering console games to card holders much like most libraries do with DVD's…

Anyway, thanks to everyone who voted in last week's poll. For some further analysis on the poll and for some of your feedback, check out Super Podcast Action Committee Episode 40.


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  1. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    I'm not entirely convinced that allowing video games natively in a library would be a good thing, but I can see upsides with it depending on the types of games.

    Educational games are likely the most common and as a child growing up my local library actually offered quite a few of these types of games for rental, alongside other child-friendly video games (that weren't necessarily educational).

    Based on my own experiences with video games and books, I would argue against video games just based on the frustration factor alone. A persons state of mind when presented with any kind of challenge differs from person to person, but understanding a linear plot in a novel is far less taxing on the mind than trying to complete what can sometimes be rather strenuous puzzles.

    In short, whilst I'm certainly open to any discussion, I'm on the fence. I find video games are like movies in that they are far more intrusive, regardless of whether you are playing them or not, and things like headphones do not prevent the gamer from being intrusive, only the game.

  2. 0
    Infophile says:

    The way I see it, a library is in the business of making “art” (broadly defined) and information publicly available for free, as a public service. They’ve historically been limited to books (while museums featured other forms of art), but in the last half-century, they’ve been steadily expanding their purview. Books on tape, a logical extension of books, were added, then other audio recordings, then movies, and then internet access and other computer services.

    Can video games be art? Almost certainly. Can they be informative? As much as a book, if not more (but neither books nor games are always informative – some are just for fun). It’s a different experience to reading a book, certainly, but games can provoke the mind and imagination, and there’s certainly an argument to be made that libraries might benefit from allowing them to be played on their computers.

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