Retro Games art

Phones, game consoles and social media all utilize data, and it’s needed more than people might realize. Love Library is putting on a week-long interactive event called Retro Gaming: Love Data Week that goes from Feb. 10-14 and aims to help people learn more about data and how it’s used. 

Associate professor & humanities librarian Elizabeth Lorang said the purpose of the week was to get more students interested in various aspects of data in a relatable and creative way. 

“The general concept is do something fun that has real connections with issues of data as kind of the bridge to help people think about these challenges and issues around data more broadly,” Lorang said.

The process of planning the event took a few months. According to Lorang, the library began planning during the fall semester and made sure the technology required for the event, such as the internet and projector, were set up in the Link at the beginning of the spring semester. Lorang said one of the things that surprised her about the process was the collaboration between so many different parts of the library staff. 

The week-long exhibit will host video game tournaments between librarians and students that will take place from 1-2 p.m. The week will feature classic games such as Dr. Mario, LSD: Dream Emulator and Bubble Bobble. 

Two talks will also occur throughout the week. On Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m., the Game Software Preservation, Emulation, and Copyright panel will explore the history and challenges that go into preserving the retro video game equipment. The Game Cartridge Backup Demonstration will explain how to back up game files to specialty hardware on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m. Both panels will take place in The Link inside the library.

Lorang said she hopes that the entertaining and quirky appeal of old-school gaming will pique students’ interest and that students will learn just how important data and hardware are to their everyday lives and how to handle it properly. 

“It's more about just helping people think these things are a part of our life every day, they do really important things,” Lorang said. 

As for the possibility of this exhibition being a recurring event, communications and outreach librarian Joan Barnes says the staff will have to wait and see if the students enjoy the 8-bit approach to learning about data.

“I think there is a positive buzz about this event, and I hope many students come and try out some of the old games,” Barnes said. “I hope they think about how data, their data, and other types of data is used, stored, preserved and so forth.”