Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Video Games

Now, here's a reference set that might be fun to browse through!  (Of course, we also purchased it because it relates to curriculum here at Suffolk.)  It's the eBook version of a two-volume reference book called Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming.  Published by Greenwood, we got it on the popular and easy-to-use Gale Virtual Reference Library platform.

Booklist says of this resource: "Quite a range of topics is presented in this timely set, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the first real video game (Spacewar!, 1962). The 300-plus signed entries are arranged alphabetically in two volumes, from Abstraction-Ludology and machinima (digital art) to Zeebo (a 3G-enabled game console).The style is very readable throughout. Unfamiliar terms are defined (Advergame, Deludic play, Speedruns) as well as popular ones (Joysticks, Resolution, Scrolling), making this accessible even to someone who knows little about the topic. Entries include biographies, types of games (including those classified as racing, shooting, strategy, survival horror); companies (Atari, SEGA, Sony); groups (Entertainment Software Association, World Cyber Games); platforms (Nintendo Wii); terms; and selected games. Most entries run about two pages, with four pages for MMORPGs and six for Simulation games."

The journal Reference Reviews indicates that "The encyclopedia defines “video games” in its broadest sense to include arcade games, console games, computer games, handheld games, and mobile games. In addition to the history of video games, it details such diverse applications of video games as entertainment, education and training, psychological experiments, and therapy. It also discusses the study of video games from many perspectives including computer science, philosophy, art history, and political science; and describes the use of video games worldwide. Controversial topics, such as gaming addiction, violence and censorship, copyright and piracy, and the use of video games in military training are also addressed."

School Library Journal adds: "Along with examinations of (selected) products from Pong to Sony PS3 and densely technical disquisitions on the "JAMMA Standard," "Z-Axis Depth," and other expert-level knowledge, articles covering such topics as "Girls' Games," "Education (Religious)," "Ludology," and "Cheating" explore social and psychological aspects of the pastime. Furthermore, articles on gaming in a number of countries and regions of the world provide international scope."

Choice concluded that "This two-volume encyclopedia features a great deal of practical, theoretical, and historical information about the development of video games."  But the reviewer also thought that the organization showed a "lack of clarity" and therefore "the work is possibly most useful as an e-book."  Good thing that e-book is exactly the format we chose for this encyclopedia!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Database: Mintel Oxygen

Are you interested in market trends and consumer research for the U.S. and Europe?  Then a database we recently added will be useful to you.  It is Mintel Oxygen.  And the company claims "Mintel Oxygen is a one-stop online platform, designed to give you easy and fast access to our smart consumer and market insight."  Constantly adding new reports, they claim that "more than 600 report titles covering UK, European, US and International consumer markets are added to Mintel Oxygen every year" and that each one constitutes "an insightful mix of sound data, opinion and comment."

Unlike many of the databases that run through our proxy server, this one has a few extra hoops to jump through.  First, when you click the link, you'll have to accept the rather lengthy "Conditions of Use" agreement.  Then, after you enter the database, it wants you to set up (or log into) your own individual account before accessing anything.

This is easy enough to do.

Just click one of the links to create a personal profile on the landing page.  (Since the database uses cookies, you'll probably go straight to a login page the next time you access the file.)

You are most likely to be interested in the Reports area, which you can click into from the categories (divided between U.S. and International) on the landing page after login--or through the pull down menu in purple top frame at any time. See screenshot above.

Report categories include Beauty and Personal Care, Drink, Finance, Food, Foodservice, Health and Wellbeing, Household, Leisure and Entertainment, Lifestyles, Multicultural America, Retailing and Apparel, Technology, Transportation and Travel.  The reports tend to be both varied and specific, as this partial list of recent drink reports
indicates. There are even some subject Webinars (look for link in the top purple frame).  The latest of these, at the moment, is "The Snacking Consumer."  You might also want to browse through the Analyst Insights area, also linked in the top frame.

Yes, you can search across the database.  Either plug a keyword or two into the simple search box in the upper right, or link into the the Advanced Search through the Search options in the top frame.

The database is awkward in many ways.  You have to look at report sections in bits and pieces.  The landing page for a report might have an area marked "Download" that offers a PDF of a "Report Brochure," which might make you think you are getting the full report.  Au contraire!  This is just an ad offering to sell the report you have right in front of you for $4000 or so. (You don't need to buy anything, of course.  We subscribe already!)  To access the report, either click the Report Content sections below or open the Table of Contents (a green button) to View Tables or pick specific report areas.

For more on the database, you might want to take a look at their quick help guide.

With more than 600 reports each year,  this database can certainly help you research market sizes, shares and forecasts, brand profiles and product innovation.  But don't forget that we have other databases with market reports and consumer data.  These include GMID from Euromonitor as well as the many reports tucked away in databases like Business Source Complete and ABI/INFORM Complete.  And for more on all our marketing and advertising resources, see our LibGuide.

[Find Mintel Oxygen on our A-Z database list, or in our Subject Database List for Business & Management.]