Category Archives: Video Games

A List of 50 Fantastic Video Games According to Justin Hoenke

It is hard to place these in order listing my favorites at the top, so this is instead a list of great video games that are some of the best ever created. Totally pay attention to numbers 1-10 on the list though!


Image by Raina Telgemeier. Used with her permission because she’s really nice like that.

  1. Animal Crossing New Leaf
  2. Zelda: A Link to the Past
  3. Super Mario 64
  4. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  5. Super Mario Maker
  6. Shining Force
  7. The Legend of Zelda
  8. Splatoon
  9. EarthBound
  10. Super Mario Bros. 3
  11. Super Mario World
  12. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  13. Shining Force II
  14. Super Mario Galaxy
  15. Super Metroid
  16. Kickle Cubicle
  17. Metal Gear Solid
  18. Shadow of the Colossus
  19. Resident Evil 4
  20. Mario Kart 8
  21. GoldenEye 007
  22. Chrono Trigger
  23. Final Fantasy VI (aka Final Fantasy III)
  24. Mega Man X
  25. Super Mario Bros.
  26. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  27. Resident Evil 2
  28. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
  29. Final Fantasy VII
  30. Minecraft
  31. Super Smash Bros. Wii U
  32. Super Mario Galaxy 2
  33. Final Fantasy Tactics
  34. Tetris (NES version)
  35. Asteroids
  36. Galaga
  37. Clash at Demonhead
  38. North VS South
  39. Sim City (Super Nintendo version)
  40. NHL 94-98 (Sega Genesis versions)
  41. Super Mario Bros. 2
  42. Panzeer Dragoon II
  43. Dragon Force
  44. Mortal Kombat (series)
  45. Street Fighter II Turbo
  46. Street Fighter III
  47. Marvel vs Capcom 2
  48. Aerobiz (Super Nintendo version)
  49. Doom
  50. The Simpsons/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/X-Men (arcade game)



1. I am currently in the Atlanta airport on my way to Pittsburgh, PA for my first ever “I’m doing the business travel thing but I’m business traveling to my hometown” experience! I will be taking part in the Supporting Making in Museum and Library meeting happening in Pittsburgh, PA.  I am honored to be a part of this! Late last year, I met Peter Wardrip & Lisa Brahms from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and gave them a tour of the 2nd and 4th Floor at the Chattanooga Public Library. It was great to share ideas with them back then and I am looking forward to sharing more with them and many others over the next few days.  The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh was one of my big inspirations when I started on the 2nd Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library. It’s neat that I get the chance to go back to that same place and learn and share more ideas.  Here are some photos I took the last time I was there.


The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in cooperation with the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) have launched a field-wide initiative to better understand, advance, support, and connect makerspaces in museums and libraries. This project, in partnership with Maker Education Initiative, Chicago Public Library, the Exploratorium and North Carolina State University Library is holding a convening to advance our efforts in supporting learning in these space and programs.

2. I can’t wait till Megan Emery blogs more about her ideas on libraries, programming, parallel programming, volunteers, and more.  I guess this is kind of my nudge to get her to write about those things!  Ha!  Seriously though, Megan is (IMHO) doing the best work in public libraries at this moment.  From Camp EtsyNooga to linking programming between Chattanooga Public Library’s 2nd and 4th Floor to writing a book on library programming, everything Megan is doing is inspiring and community first. Go ahead and think that I’m a bit biased because I work pretty closely with Megan…you’re right, I do work pretty closely with Megan. But read about her programs and ideas and you’ll see what I mean. Go Megan go.


3. I am currently on the sixth dungeon in The Legend of Zelda.  This time around I am playing it on my 3DS in little moments of inspiration. I almost forgot how good this game is.  I find the grinding aspect of the game to be quite rewarding. I haven’t played a game where I need to dedicate a good chunk of my time to getting rupees and preparing for my next adventure in such a long time. If you haven’t played this game in awhile and are looking for something to do, pick up a 3DS and buy it for a few bucks on the Nintendo eShop. You’ll find yourself quite happy!

Calm, cool, connected: Study suggests an hour of video games a day makes kids better-adjusted

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 8.59.50 AM

First and foremost, a big thank you to Casey Phillips of the Chattanooga Times Free Press for chatting with me and my son Finn about video games.

Read the full article here: Calm, cool, connected: Study suggests an hour of video games a day makes kids better-adjusted

I remember getting my Nintendo Entertainment System all set up for the first time when I was 7 years old. I had Super Mario Bros, Duckhunt, Mighty Bomb Jack, and Trojan as the lineup of for my first set of games.  I remember playing them endlessly while I dreamed about the characters, settings, and wondering just how did they make those games?  They opened my mind and I was forever changed.  Video games gave me something to think, dream, and learn about. A good portion of my youth was spent studying anything gaming related in the gaming magazines of the time. I became a walking, talking pre-Wikipedia for video games.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been pretty successful in getting video games into libraries. Kids, Tweens, and Teens are playing video games together in libraries in pseudo 80’s arcade-like settings and they are connecting with each other and creating community.  Friendships are being made over Minecraft, Mario Kart, and more.  When I go home, my son Finn and I will sometimes fire up the Wii U. We talk about who gets to use the Wii U gamepad (it’s a pretty coveted thing) and then we talk about the adventure we want to go on. Sometimes it’s Mario Kart, sometimes it’s Lego Star Wars, and sometimes it’s Super Mario 3D World. It doesn’t matter what game we play because the end result is the same: we play, we talk, we laugh, and we share.  We fill our heads with amazing adventures. When we’re not playing games, we’re sometimes re-enacting those adventures in the front yard.

Video games are amazing.

Thank you University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Many thanks to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro LIS Alumni Association (and Lynda Kellam) for having me at their event today.  My slides for my speech are above and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me!

REVIEW: Inclusion for iOS


Perhaps it’s related to my age and how I was brought up in the Nintendo era of gaming, but I’ll never fully adjust to tapping on a screen to play a video game.  That’s why only a few iOS and Android games have caught my eye.  So many games for iOS or Android try to replicate the controller based playing experience and they fail miserably.  It is the games that take the iOS and Android enviroment and use it to their advantage that catch my attention.  Inclusion is one of those games, and boy oh boy does it do it well.

What is it?  
The unbelievably addicting numbers game where you’re pitted against the clock in an effort to reach the goal before time runs out. The screen begins to fade away while your fingers feverishly press the numbers in hopes of reaching the goal.

iOS Simulator Screen shot May 19, 2013 11.03.08 AM

What makes Inclusion work is the simple design.  As you can see above, the screen where you spend most of your time is easy on the eyes.  For a game that requires you to add and subtract quickly in your head, the great design helps you focus on the math.  And trust me, this is a good thing (coming from someone who is horrible at math).

At first Inclusion feels like a game you will play in quick 5-10 minute spurts.  But after you get into it, you find that 30 minutes to an hour has gone by as you try to keep beating your high score.  That’s what keeps me coming back to the game…I always want to top my high score and get my name on the Game Center leader boards.

For parents, you couldn’t ask for a better iOS game to give your tween or teen. Inclusion is high on learning, but even higher on fun.  “Educational games” like this are the ones that succeed in finding an audience. ****

Inclusion is (as of today) 99 cents, and it’s one of the best 99 cents I’ve spent on an iOS game.  Highly recommended.

Get it here at the App Store
Read more about Inclusion here

**** I put “educational games” in quotes because 1) I really dislike that term and 2) Inclusion isn’t an educational game, but instead a fun game that has a few educational elements and 3) I couldn’t think of anything better.





Before I start this review, I have to say one thing: I love everything that Nintendo does.  I am going to do my best to give you an honest review of this system and not let this get in the way but….I mean, c’mon.  Mario and Zelda are so awesome.


  • Nintendo TVii is so very rad…..and I already have a smart TV.  For the past two years I’ve loved my Google TV.  Of course I’ve had complaints with how it is set up but I overlooked that…until I got my hands on TVii.  The design is beautiful, simple, and makes watching TV actually quite fun.
  • Google Wii Street U is awesome.  I haven’t had any situations where it has totally helped me out but being able to use the tablet controller as a sort of viewfinder into a totally new world?  Pretty cool, especially for someone like me who’s moving to a new city.
  • And the games.  I have two: Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Brothers U.  They’re not the best games in the world, but they’re fun.  And that’s why I’m playing video games in the first place…to have fun.
  • Speaking of fun, one more thing: this thing is a BLAST when you have at least 3 people playing.  An absolute blast.


  • Nintendo is pretty horrible at going “social” with the gaming experience.  I find the Miiverse to be very clunky and not really engaging.  Sure, it’s cool to type notes or draw doodles and share but who really cares in the long run.  I don’t.
  • There are still some layout and design kinks they need to work out in regards to the Wii U menu and how players can find things.  I find myself going in circles sometimes when what I am looking for should be right under my nose.
  • And the games.  Like I said above, I only have two and not many of the other ones impress me that much.  I am most excited about the games Nintendo is making and those will eventually come out.  For now, I’d love to see other game developers make some neato things that really make use of what the Wii U can do.


  • Overall, Nintendo’s gonna come through and deliver some great stuff.  It will take a lot of time but trust me…they always come through.
  • Would this be good for libraries?  You bet.  It is a social gaming experience.  Get the deluxe set and enough controllers to have five people playing at once.  People will dig it.
  • Will it last?  Nintendo stuff always seems to last despite Microsoft and Sony doing bigger and better things with their systems.  Nintendo has focused on the same thing that they always do with the Wii U….fun games….and this will continue to pay off for them.


Debacle by Design: Building a Game That Won’t Make Money

Debacle by Design- Building a Game That Won’t Make Money - State of Play -

Over the past few months, I’ve been chatting/brainstorming/working with the amazing Kellian Adams of Green Door Labs on an amazing game called Project Arachne (if you want background on the project, read this article here!)

We’ve got the team together and we’re moving forward with the project.  Our next step is, as Kellian puts it ever so perfectly:

Okay, now’s the hard part. How do we fund it? We’re working with a library, so we can’t charge people to play. We also can’t get budget dollars from the library’s annual fund, because this is an experimental game, not something that’s sanctioned in the budget of a public place. We can find a corporate sponsor that might be willing to work with us. We can build the game in a way that it will travel to other libraries that could license it and offset some of our initial costs. We could also crowdsource it, but that hasn’t been really been done with this type of library project before. We could also write about a million grant proposals. I’d been chatting with some incredible educational media producers, like TERC EdGE and the Kickin’ Kitchen video project, who have been funded by grants.

That’s where we are now and you know what?  That’s totally cool.  We believe in Project Arachne and we are just jazzed to be working on this together as a team.  Kellian goes on in her post to sum everything up:

Just don’t expect that a “game that will never make money” will suddenly and magically make money. It will most likely lose time and money – and you and your team will be so proud of the time and money that you lost. You’ll love it and be glad that you did it.

I’m just so honored that Kellian picked me to be on her team.

Know any libraries that may be interested in Project Arachne?  Get in touch with Kellian @ Green Door Labs: