CHICAGO (CBS) — The video arcade of yore approached extinction many years ago, and the Blockbuster-style video store where games could be found for rent is fast approaching the same fate.

So where can you get your gaming fix these days? If you’re a DePaul University student, the answer is as close as your campus library.

DePaul is one of a growing number of university libraries housing video game collections for student research into game design, according to a release from the school. Other universities with collections include Illinois, Stanford and Michigan.

The collection was first proposed by Jose Zagal, assistant professor of computing and digital media, who authored the book, “Ludoliteracy: Designing, Understanding and Supporting Games Education.”

Zagal helped assemble a list of titles for the library, which include “Little Big Planet 2,” “Halo: Reach,” “Madden NFL 11” and “God of War III.” DePaul’s collection can be played on the three major platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.

“I saw an opportunity to better serve our students,” Zagal said. “I believe video games are a form of culture just like books and songs, so it makes sense for us to have them available in our library.”

The collection is not just for amusement.

Zagal and other faculty require students to research video games as part of the curriculum, according to the release. While CDM has two gaming labs, its hours are limited and games cannot be checked out, he said. Students are allowed to check out video games from the library’s collection, which debuted May 9.
The collection is available at DePaul’s Loop Campus library media room in the DePaul Center at 1 E. Jackson Blvd., and the library plans to host a game night in the fall to officially launch it.

James Galbraith, associate director of collections, said the school hopes to make a video game collection available at the John T. Richardson Library, at 2350 N. Kenmore Ave. on the Lincoln Park Campus, as well.
M Ryan Hess, coordinator of Web Services at DePaul, helped create the collection. He said the titles selected were influenced largely by a list Zagal provided, created from usage statistics and feedback received in the CDM labs.

“There was interest in acquiring some older games, such as old Atari games, but at this time the library is unable to also purchase the consoles,” Hess said.

Galbraith said library officials are hoping the video game collection will be as popular as a graphic novel collection launched in January 2011.

“The graphic novel collection has a 100 percent circulation rate,” Galbraith said. “Every graphic novel has circulated at least once, and many have multiple times.”

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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