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Library creates video games from Scratch

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This past week, kids were encouraged to take their gaming skills to a whole new level by putting down the controllers and picking up the video game creation software, Scratch.

At the Dover Town Library’s Create your own Video Game workshop, kids were given the opportunity to use Scratch, an MIT-developed computer program designed to teach simple coding, allowing users to make simple, sprite-based computer games. By combining blocks of code into condition statements, loops, and key events, students were given the basic skills to develop their own games, complete with actions, movement, and sound.

The class was led by Dan Berman, a volunteer at the Rhode Island Computer Museum, a non-profit museum that collects and houses hundreds of computers and computer equipment, including some of the earliest models. The workshop began with a brief introduction of historic video games, the evolution of gaming consoles, and their impact on gaming and computing today. Berman amazed the kids by comparing his two-inch, pocket-sized, fully-functional “Raspberry Pi” computer to the refrigerator-sized mainframe computers of the 60s and 70s.

Kids then divided into teams and were tasked with coming up with their own game company, video game name, and the game’s main charter. They then were able to take all this information and create a simple, yet functional video game. At the close of class, each team presented its game to the others.

The workshop was presented by the Dover Town Library and the Rhode Island Computer museum in North Kingston, RI, which hosts numerous computer-related programing and gaming events throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Their next workshop, “Building Smart Robots,” is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, at the Library. Contact the Dover Library or visit www.dovertownlibrary.org for more details.

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