Capturing the Hearts and Minds of the Gamer Generation
John Beck
North Star Leadership Group

March 23, 2006
2:00- 3:15

John Beck is the author of Got Game: How a New Generation of Gamers is Reshaping Business Forever. I am 22, and I must commend him on portraying me perfectly. For anyone who had not read this book, please take the time to at least read Chapter 1. It will help you understand the teens in you life more.

Now to my shameless plug

If you find this program interesting you should join the YALSA discussion group about gaming. Beth Gallaway has posted detailed instructions for logging on, but I will repeat it here.

Go to

Log in with you ALA member number
Go to Discussions in the upper left hand corner
Click on DiscussionsYALSAGaming Discussion Group
You can join at this screen
Next go up to the top and click Discussion.
It’s a Forum, where you can post and respond to messages much like a blog, but all posts are treated equally you can respond more., (Dominic Deegan) and (Magi-Nation) are ones I used to live on.

If you are not a member of ALA or do not want to participate in the discussion group I would strongly encourage you check out and

Now it begins…

John Beck

Because we are talking about video games today I want to start with a game

Name that tune…
30-40% Raised their hands
Someone went across campus with boombox with the song. 100% knew the tune. Across socio-economic level, race , and

Almost anyone born before 1970

A survey of 7 to 12 years old reported that 100% said they had played since they were 2.

There is a Generation Gap. Much like baby boomers
This one will be larger

Demographically there is a large group of “Millenials”
They have grown up with a new and different technology than their parents didn’t
The Baby Boomers had TV
This generation is about a technology that the parents know nothing about.

Before TV was with Families, Watched together
Now Kids are on the computer by themselves

His charts are from his book, so if you want to see it in more detail check out the book.

He will talk about how these attitudes are different

They aren’t really understood because they think different,

They are statistically significant. Gamers are changing the way things happen.

We retain 10% of what we read. 30% of what we hear 70.8% of what we do.

Games changes people and how they think about the world. It is so interactive.

When the mind is developing these kids are playing games.

They are getting models in game about how the world works.

It takes so much of their attention.

“I have not met a kid that has been diagnosed with ADHD that can’t play for 3 to 4 hours. They may need to get up and move around while playing but the attention thing is not an issue”

Gamer generation caused the dot com boom. It was a new, new thing. IT is just a big video game.

Rules of the era was a giant video game.

You played a twenty something adventurer.

“I really learned a lot in the Dot com boom”

They hit the reset button and start over.

Gamers are very competitive.
Barbie tinker toy are not completive.
Seniors that pick up games, even become competitive

Gamers are more global thinkers( but hey I have friends that I talk to that live in China, Turkey, Holland, and Australia while I’m playing World of Warcraft.)
Even when I was on the forums I would talk to people from around the world that has a similar interest. My communities are online-it is my third place. Age and Residency doesn’t matter, but thoughts, opinions, and reflection matter.

Gamers say they have a need for human relationships, more than the older generation.

They play in groups, they create games that are their own. Thus we are more creative. Less adults tell us what to do. We work it out completely on our own. A game puts a long series of problems to solve in front of you and you have to keep using the tools you have at hand to solve the problem and you know there is an answer even if you can’t find it.

We are great at team building, using others strengths. World of Warcraft Guilds, Gaming Groups, and many boardgames have us working in teams. We problem solve to learn how a group works WHEN WE ARE 11. Sit back and watch World of Warcraft or another MMORPG to see this

Gamers love risk. Life is not fun if you aren’t willing to challenge the world to do the right thing.

Gamers think they are experts at 20. More so than the older generation

Flexible and don’t mind change
In game you don’t know what is going to happen so you are ready at all times. You look for threats, and opportunities.

Have to be hero. They play as the hero in ALL games. Maybe something to do with the self-importance they feel.

We share information about playing games online through our Social Mod (blogs websites, and instant message in the game)

Gamers can be led.

They believe their performance matter. Let them have responsibility and freedom to create something and leave them alone to do it. Or do this yourself. Don’t be afraid to try things, and fail because you will learn from the experience

Gamers are fair. They have a strong sense of morality, thanks to RPGs
They multi task (PEW studies reflect this) We scan for information, moving quickly from task to task very quickly

They enjoy life, I know I want to enjoy my work, and am more productive when I have support and trust of my employer/teacher. I try to make my assignments fun by focusing on something I am interested in. I am not frightened to change everything one day. In many ways, I enjoy the freedom.

The editor of Wired magazine plays on the first floor , and his strategy guides are on the second floor

HE reads the strategy guides to get through the game.

A level boss is at the end of the level. Something that a gamer must slay. We need someone to go to when we need help, but not someone who tells us what we can and cannot do.

In my experience I encounter level bosses in the library world with directors that worry so much about what will happen that they don’t try anything new. I have to have a strategy to get around them, or pass them in order to move on with my new ideas. I hear about these directors all the time.

Nintendo is trying to break out to the other generations with Brian Age. Popular in Japan and coming to the US. It has puzzles like the Sunday paper, and is meant for Seniors, but should be loved by everyone.

Gamers combine six types of attention
Back of Mind
Front of Mind

We pay attention to extremes: Purple hair, and the pretty girl

We have to imagine a car crash, and think how do I not have that happen

Biggest fears: Snakes, Public Speaking, Heights.
Snakes??? Might comes from evolution(Primates only have 7 words-one of them is “snake”), Adam and Eve, or Movies

Used to think eyes didn’t lie. That if you were looking at someone that would show where your attention is.

In college you learn how to stare at the professor and not pay attention. I am not looking at him, and I hope you can say I’m paying attention.

Driving is front of mind back of mind after you learn how. Then you can have conversations and such. I really thing playing video games are the same thing too, because you memorize how to press the buttons. You stop thinking press A to jump and you switch to just press the button when your eyes say jump. It’s a reaction after a while.

Advertising meets aversive: You will die (socially, intellectually…)
Combining Attractive in Aversive increases sales. But don’t be only attractive

Library should have an environment that is
Multi-faceted, Complex, Social, Let them be a hero when they are there, Attention-getting, and even challenging.

Jami Schwarzwalder

About Jami Schwarzwalder

Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at

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