Category Archives: Video Games

REVIEW: Animal Crossing New Leaf Welcome Amiibo

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Originally released in 2013 (2012 in Japan), the Nintendo 3DS version of the popular franchise gets an update…3 years after it was released. I have to admit I was thrown off a bit when this update was announced, but as a very avid Animal Crossing: New Leaf fan I was so excited that I jumped out of my pants.

You can read all about the improvements made in the update by clicking on this sentence. While I do really enjoy the added Amiibo compatibility, my favorite part are the added items and the MEOW coupons, which reward you daily for accomplishing tasks around your town. I was already visiting my town daily to shake trees, collect fruit, and more, and with this update it gives me even more of a reason to say hello to my townspeople. The new and returning characters are just as you’d expect from any character in the Animal Crossing series…adorable and instantly loveable. They fit really well into the world of Animal Crossing and I look forward to seeing them in my town everyday.

Anyone who is a fan of the Animal Crossing series will love this update. It packs so much more into a game that was already full of great joy. New Leaf is the pinnacle of the series so far and I am curious to see where Nintendo takes this game when their new system comes out in March 2017. In my opinion, it would be hard to improve on this amazing gem of a game but I’ve been surprised before.

 

2015 Year In Review

PLAY

LISTEN

READ

WATCH

THINK

  • Be nice to each other.
  • Library. What a weird name for what public libraries actually do in 2015.
  • Have fun.
  • I want to stay at home with my family more.
  • Hi There.

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!

animalcrossing

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)

 

THREE THINGS (1.26.15)

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.

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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.

hyrule

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

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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

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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.