Army Europe Libraries Launch Gaming Initiative
June 16, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany - It is 6 p.m. at Patrick Henry Village Library and preparations for the Libstock 2008 concert are underway.
The roadies are finishing their setup as curious bystanders watch. Scenes flash on the big screen. Music is pumping as feet tap in time. And the ground crew stays busy assisting musicians.
The audience restlessly waits for the show to start as the master of ceremonies steps up to the microphone - but there isn't any microphone, in fact, there aren't any "real" bands. The gig is really an AEL-GT Rock Band tournament.
AEL-GT, a library gaming initiative that stands for Army Europe Libraries - Gaming Tournaments, is still in its infancy but positive results are already flowing in.
The first official tournament took place March 29 at the European Regional Library
Support Center in Heidelberg, Germany. It was an Xbox basketball contest tied in
with the NCAA basketball tournament, and coordinated with the garrison's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers chapter, a partnership that has proved to be a key element to the success of AEL-GT.
A few weeks later, AEL-GT took off when the popular game Rock Band was
unleashed at the Patch Library in Stuttgart, Germany. About 40 people turned up to rock. People who had never even visited the library before came to compete - and stayed afterwards, learning more on what the library has to offer.
The Patch Library tournament was a testing ground to determine the best way to host and run such tournaments To keep the action going and the crowd pumped, the competition switched between band play and individual competition. Each band played three songs, one of their choice and two random, which ensured that the same titles weren't played repeatedly. And it kept the audience guessing about what was coming next.
Libstock 2008 took it to the next level with a two-day event here. On June 5 the doors opened for youth and teen play, with June 6 reserved for older players. Curious passersby were lured into the library by sounds of classic and modern rock wafting through open windows. Turn-out was excellent and the crowd was definitely calling for more when the nights finally came to an end.
A calendar of gaming events around Europe is in the works and future plans include
a region-wide tournament with a winner at each garrison who ultimately compete
for the AEL-GT title.