GCLS Teen Space

Read about what's going on for teens at the Gloucester County Library System!

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Your MakeCode Arcade screen. Everything you do on the right is instantly playable on the console to the left!

Make Your Own Arcade!

While I’ve been distracting myself with plenty of video games during the quarantine, I also like to play around with various game making software. If it’s easy to use, that’s great and if it’s free, that’s even better! This week I thought I’d talk a bit about Microsoft Makecode Arcade.

This software uses snap together code pieces much like Scratch, but since it’s made specifically for game making, the code blocks are geared more towards what a game designer would need. Off to the side is a small virtual Game Boy-like console that lets you instantly see what you’re making. There’s lots of tutorials to get you started, and during the quarantine people from Microsoft have been doing daily coding lessons on streaming platform Mixture. The archived lessons are embedded on the Arcade page.

Finished Arcade projects can be played in your browser, either by linking to them or embedding them. So why not take some time to create a simple arcade style game, and if you do, please share it back with us so we can play what you made! In the upper left of the screen is a ‘share’ option. You can post to Facebook or Twitter, so make sure to tag us if you do!

Paul's Reading Recommendations

This is a strange and compelling sci-fi read, where Thomas wakes in a strange village of kids and teens with no memory of who he is or anything before coming here. The same is true of everyone there. There is a giant maze outside the village that no one can seem to solve, and at night giant doors close off the maze and whoever is left outside is attacked by strange creatures. Working together they will try to figure out who they are and where, and why they were put in this mysterious maze. I still haven’t seen the movies yet, but I definitely recommend the book.

Grab it here!

This book is an interesting take on people getting mysterious superpowers, because in this world, if you get a superpower, you inevitably turn evil! Teenager David is out for revenge after his father was killed by Steelheart years ago. But how can a group of normal humans hope to take down the most powerful supers? This is book one in a trilogy that gets more un-put-downable (that’s a word, right?) with each book and made me a fan of Sanderson!

Grab it here!

Anime fans are probably familiar with the animated movie of the same name made by Studio Ghibli, but as with most films based on books, the book is better! Sofie is a young woman cursed by a witch to look extremely old. She eventually comes across the wizard Howl and his floating castle, and while rumors say he eats girls’ souls, she finds that apart from being vain and selfish, he’s pretty normal (for a wizard). This is a great fantasy story filled with memorable characters and if you’re a fan of the movie, you owe it to yourself to read this book!

Grab it here!

Kwame Alexander’s writing is simply amazing. This is a book in verse and it has a great rhythm to the writing that makes you want to truly savor each page. It follows two high school brothers and their passion for basketball during a very life-changing time in their lives.

Grab it here!