03 Dec

‘Nerd Fest’, a series of Call of Duty: Black Ops tournaments hosted at the Sacramento Public Library, has become a target of a bit of controversy. Local veterans groups have claimed the tournaments are inappropriate for the public space, members from Veterans for Peace and Grandmothers for Peace have protested the last event of the Festival (held on November 27th) with signs that read “War is not a game.”

“We shouldn’t be encouraging this kind of stuff. The public library has a moral authority; it should be about learning, not learning to kill.” John Reiger, president of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace told the Sacramento News and Review.

It was a sentiment echoed by Jeanie Keltner, a supporter of the organization,“I don’t want [the library] to sponsor games where the winner kills the most. I don’t mind that they have it. I just don’t want them to sponsor it.”

Scott Miller, organizer of Nerd Fest, had a different perspective,“The multiplayer [game] is not so much about the killing as about teamwork,” he explained, “We’re getting the missing demographic into the library, which is basically males who are 17 to 35 years old…They are participating in the library and checking out the different offerings.”

“Libraries are really changing how we meet the needs of our communities,” said Rivkah Sass, the library’s director. “I recognize that we have a group of people who are objecting to one piece of our spectrum. And I respect that, but it’s a piece of what a library is in 2010.”

Both Nerd Fest attendees and those protesting them are expected back for the next festival, taking place at December 11th at the same location.

What is the E-G position on this, guys? What is a library’s role in this day and age, and what role do games like Call of Duty have in influencing combative behavior in such a setting? Discuss below!

5 thoughts on “Veterans Hold Black Ops Protest in Sacramento”

  1. I am a heavy supporter of veterans and veterans groups. However, I sadly think they’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Geeks who play video games are not supporting war. Nor are geeks anywhere near the cause of war, either. To each his own, however.

    1. Agreed. There will always be stuff like this though. That said, I can see why they’d feel this way.

      They make an interesting point. This is about using libraries, and their purpose as a learning institution. When I was a kid, the most violent visual form of media I saw there was Babar (granted that was the kid section). Not sure why CoD gaming tournaments are being held in them. Then again, with education these days…how many kids honestly care to go to the library to learn anymore? I’m wagering a minuscule amount.

      The library director also makes a good point with missing out on “17 to 35 years old.” I know if I had a library right next door, and I had nothing else to do I’d probably be there a lot. The only thing that could make me drive to one right now would be a fun event.

      With the internet and Kindel, libraries are facing the Blockbuster Video factor. It’s just a tactic to remain relevant in this age and not go the way of the Dodo.

      Both sides are right and wrong in this debate. I think the protesters should realize why this is being done, and back off and I also believe (not sure if they are doing this) that the library should make sure no kids under 18 are at the event since it’s M rated and has “killing.” That’s the best way in my mind to come to a mutually agreeable solution for the two parties.

    2. I totally agree… playing games has very little to do with actual wars, and I think that if those protesters would take a moment to look at what is really going on at such a tournament, they’d probably find that such events really encourage a special kind of social interaction. You get to meet a lot of new people, and start having fun with them without anybody getting hurt… what could possibly be wrong with that?

      Concerning the problem about this being in a public library, I would agree with the protesters if the event actually interfered with the main purpose of the library as a whole. If other visitors are still able to find the information they are looking for, and can continue to read in peace, then there should be no problem. Obviously, having a bunch of screaming, raving 13-year olds running through the building would be a problem, but if the participants of Nerd Fest were just using computers that would otherwise remain unused for the duration of the tournament and made sure not to disturb the other visitors, this should not be a problem at all. And by the way, libraries tend to be governmental institutions, and gamers pay their taxes just like any other person… so in my opinion, if gamers want to organize an event that uses library assets without damaging them, and which does not interfere with other visitors, the library should probably allow for it.

  2. If the protestors’ mantra was “War is not a Game”, then to me they are protesting the games themselves. The public setting of these tournaments is just an excuse.

  3. The wrong place to protest about the wrong thing.

    Games cause violence, etcetera, whatever, is a debate for another ocasion.

    I do think it’s very stupid to use a library to play videogames. Public libraries hold knowledge, belong to everyone and are useful. Games aren’t anything of that.

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