International Games Day @ Your Library 2015

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I organized a two-day event for International Games Day @ Your Library this past weekend. While our participation in the second International Minecraft Hunger Games was the primary activity, we also hosted a MarioKart tournament and had a variety of other games, electronic and non-electronic, for our young patrons.

International Minecraft Hunger Games

Minecraft is always a big draw for our young patrons. Usually, we just let them free-play on our own server, but this weekend, we wanted to take the next step: organized, intense, fun competition.

A quick recap of the International Minecraft Hunger Games (IMHG). Libraries from around the world were invited to send 2 tributes to compete in regional finals. Contestants were placed in a Hunger Games style server, complete with a cornucopia, deadly world boarders and behind-the-scene forces working against the players to end the game- just like in the Hunger Games.

The Reaping

With so many of our young adult patrons active in Minecraft, we simply couldn’t ask for ‘volunteer’ tributes- we had to have a Reaping to select who would represent our district- I mean library- in the Hunger Games.

We held our Reaping on Friday, Nov. 20th in the evening as part of our monthly Teen/Tween night. We played Mockingjay, Part 1 in one half of the library, while our Reaping took place in the other half. In all, we had fifteen teens and tweens in our Reaping Tournament. Pre-registration was encouraged, but ultimately, the tournament was open to whoever showed up that night.

I had six computers set up for potential Hunger Game matches, and wanted each player to play three or four rounds. The math worked out that we would have ten total rounds with six players in each round. This gave everyone four chances. Players were awarded 10 points for being the last one alive in each round, and two points for each kill. The highest two scores at the end of the night would be our Tributes for the IMHG.


This was a tremendous hit. The kids were very excited from the start, and I am glad I had planned ahead and had a clear idea how I would set the tournament schedule and run the matches. I had each participant sign in. The order they signed in determined their player number, 1-15. I then used for a sequence generator to give me a random order in which the fifteen players would partake in matches. I ran the random sequence generator four times, and just wrote the numbers down in the order they came up.

As each match was set to begin, I called the participants up based on their assigned number and they battled. Between each match, I edited an Excel document that was used as a scoreboard to keep track of the points. I had the scoreboard projected onto a screen between matches, so everyone could see their standings. During the match, I used the provided live Minecraft map so spectators could see where all the players were located.

Kids were screaming, cheering, jumping up and down and relaying information to their friends. It was amazing to see such excitement, cooperation, and good sportsmanship all night. Everyone had a great time, even though thirteen of the fifteen kids weren’t going to be able to compete in the IMHG.

International Minecraft Hunger Games

The next day, our two victorious tributes, along with their runner-ups (just in case) came back to the library before our Game Day event to get set up and comfortable. One of our tributes even brought their own keyboard. They were psyched and they were ready.

In the American finals, there were two arenas to chose from. Hoping to both advance, our two tributes split up, with one participating in Arena 1 and the other in Arena 2. Arean 1 had some bugs, so Arena 2 was the first to go live. With about 30 players fighting to be the last one standing, the tension in the air was thick.

The field was quickly cut down, with our tribute scoring a couple of kills before isolating himself. Fearing the shrinking boarders, he came back towards spawn as the number of survivors dropped into the single digits.

Panic hit when the game started to reach its ending time and the behind the scenes mechanisms kicked in. Poison hit the players, taking their health down to almost none. Our tribute didn’t really know what was going on, but was able to keep his cool enough to slay two opponents. His screen exited shortly thereafter, and none of us knew what happened.

Within a minute or two, it was announced that he was in a tie as the winner and would advance to the finals!

Our second tribute also made it quite far in his match. However, with about 6 players left and the world boarders shrinking, he was double-teamed and eliminated from the tournament.

A similar scene played out in the World Finals, when our first tribute was killed off fairly early by a double team. I am not completely sure, but I think it may have been the same two players that picked off our second tribute in the American finals.

Still, to be one of the last 8 players standing in the entire world was quite an accomplishment, and we are extremely pleased with how the entire event played out. A special thank you to the IGD and IMHG teams for setting up this wonderful event! I strongly encourage other libraries to join next November for the 3rd IMHG!

Mariokart Wii

As I mentioned, Minecraft was not the only part of our International Games Day celebration. Our wonderful library system, the Finger Lakes Library System, has a wide variety of games and consoles for its member libraries to borrow. We borrowed two of their Wiis, and two copies of Mariokart Wii from two of the other libraries in our system.

Like with Minecraft, we pre-registered people for our Mariokart tournament, but it was ultimately open to whoever showed up. We had eight participants in the tournament.

The tournament was organized into three levels of brackets. The first level had two players per bracket, competing in the Mushroom Cup. The winner of each of the four brackets, plus the next two high scores, advanced to Round 2.

Round 2 had two brackets of three players each. Competing in the Flower Cup, the winners of the two brackets and the next two high scores advanced to the finals. These four then competed all at once in the Star Cup and were ranked according to their final points. The winner was awarded a gift certificate to the local pizza shop, who donated the prize.

International Games Day is awesome!

I cannot wait for next year’s International Game Days @ your Library! This was our first year participating, but it was one of the most exciting and entertaining events we have hosted. With a year to plan ahead, 2016 will hopefully be even better.

How was your International Games Day? What did your library do? Did we kill you in the Minecraft Hunger Games? 😉 Let me know!

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