Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Author Cecil Castelluci is Offering a Book Based Gaming Package to Libaries

Author Cecil Castelluci (Tin Star) has made a table top RPG for Tin Star, kind of like D&D, where you play aliens who dock on the space station and interact with the characters from the book on a mini adventure. You don’t have to have read the book to play the game, or play the game to read the book.

It’s a free download which you can find here:

Rules here http://www.macteenbooks.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TinStar_QuickstartRules.pdf

Adventure here http://www.macteenbooks.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TinStar_ASimpleFavor.pdf)

Castelluci has some other goodies to offer while supplies last, so email for more information at misscecil@gmail.com

About Tin Star:

On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

The sequel, Stone in the Sky, comes out February 24th, 2015 from Roaring Book Press:

In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.

After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it’s discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula’s worst enemy.


TPiB: Self Directed Game Day Contest

International Games Day is November 16, and it is a wonderful way to get tweens and teens involved in the library. I’ve put together a neat self-directed contest to get them interested in the program that we’re having that Saturday, and also to get them involved in the library itself.
First, I took a simple shadow box that I got at Michael’s. You could easily get one at Hobby Lobby, a big box store, or any craft store- Michael’s is just an approved vendor for my system, and they have let me loose with a city credit card and a budget!
Next, I used the promotional materials from the International Games Day site to create a flyer (both poster sized and small enough to fit inside my shadow box) advertising the program.

Finally, I added in some of the odd pieces from games that had been left over during the year to create my contest, and placed them inside the shadow box. Those attempting the contest have to name ALL the games that are featured inside the box in order to win, and there are 8 games featured.

Can you guess all 8 games?
They are now on display, and then once I get a chance, game based books (like Cory Doctorow’s For the Win and Game by Barry Lyga) will be placed on display around the contest area. My self directed display contest will start November 4, and continue through November 13, with winners (if any) being announced November 14.

TPiB: International Game Day 2013

November 16 is International Game Day, and even though it’s a Saturday, I LOVE Gaming Day and even more important, my KIDS love gaming day. We are a small library, yet I turn the back part of my library into gaming central for four hours (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) on this day and we have a blast with tabletop (board- I use tabletop to help with confusion with those who are learning English) and console gaming.

I’ve signed up for International Game Day, and already the games and emails about how to join the group games (Mario Kart online tournaments, etc) are coming in. I came in Monday, November 4 to find these presents waiting in my office:

 If you aren’t signed up for International Game Day, or signed up too late to receive the free games (or if the free games won’t work for your community- which happens sometimes), then use what you have available! Ask your staff and see if someone has Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, Candy Land, Life, Uno- you’d be surprised what kids in your area are and aren’t familiar with.

If you have a console gaming setup or know someone willing to let your borrow one (a Wii, PS3, XBox, Game Cube, Playstation), hook it up to a TV and set up a free play station with a four player game! Mine love Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart racing, any version of the Lego games, Just Dance, Naruto,Little Big Planet, and DC vs Mortal Kombat. Just be aware that whatever game(s) you go with are appropriate for the area, and that someone is overseeing the station so that the tweens and teens are sharing.

You also can have a movie marathon devoted to gaming. Movies like Wreck-It Ralph, Tron: Legacy, Hackers, Streetfighter, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Brothers are all gaming based movies and covered by Movie Licensing USA.

 What are your plans for Game Day? Share in the comments!

Geek is the New Black: Benefits of Electronic Gaming in the Library, a defense

Recently, I was asked about gaming in libraries.  Specifically online gaming, but much of this same information can be applied to video gaming in libraries as well. Ironically, CNN recently ran an article RE video gaming in libraries, which came across as largely pro.  In our 21st century world, I think that being pro gaming is the way to be. Yes, even for libraries.

In a previous position, I ran an after school program designed to meet the needs of the teens in that community.  It was hugely popular, averaging 50 to 70 teens every Tuesday for about the entire 10 years that I was there, and video gaming was a huge part of that.  At the same time, there would be teens reading, teens talking, and, yes, teens sitting across from each other at a table texting each other.  Because we are living in a 21st century world and our teens are PLUGGED IN.  We could certainly make the argument that they should be plugged in less, but as a library we do a disservice if we ignore this aspect of who we serve because of our personal beliefs.  We are not their parents, we are their librarians and our job is to help them gain access to the resources they need to navigate 21st century information.  Plus, you can always balance your plugged in programming with unplugged programming.  The trick is not to ignore one in favor of the other.

In a time where more and more information is moving to a technology based environment, an increasing number of kids are learning that they suffer from what is known as the “Technology Gap” or the “Digital Divide”.  Children and teens growing up in low income homes do not have the same access to technology as their more affluent peers and they suffer from this lack of access.  The topic is of such high educational importance that the PEW project often does research on the Digital Divide (see it here) and many cities discuss ways to bring broadband access to the state, as well as free wireless access.

Part of the problem we see is that many of those people in positions of power and decision making are not people who are living in the digital divide, so it is easy to become distanced from it and fail to recognize it.  However, those of us working hands on day to day in the schools and at the public service desks of public libraries are reminded on a daily basis how vast that divide can actually be.  We work with people every day who don’t have access to technology that we think of people as having.
Although the Internet can be used in many ways, a popular way among children and teens (and many adults to be honest) is through online gaming.  Although it is easy to dismiss gaming as a superfluous activity, the truth of the matter is that there are a great number of education benefits that come from engaging in gaming.  Yes, gaming has educational value.  It did when we were playing chess and checkers and Monopoly and Life.  And it does when we play online as well.

Computer Literacy 

Literacy in today’s age goes beyond just the basic ability to read and write.  There is, in fact, a new type of literacy that is termed computer or digital literacy.  The ability to navigate and adapt to current and unfolding technologies is a basic life skill for our emerging youth.  Gaming helps them adopt basic tech skills in a fun way that engages them.  In fact, if you teach a beginning Internet class one of the exercises often given to participants is to play Solitaire to get better at manipulating the mouse.  Just as young children learn a variety of basic skills through random, unstructured play, so can our youth learn a variety of computer literacy skills through online play.

Multiplatform Storytelling (Basic Literacy Skills) 

A large amount of online gaming involves basic storytelling.  Heroes go on a quest, basic tasks are given, etc.  Along the way, participants have to read prompts, engage in the story, and help determine the story’s outcome.  In many ways, video gaming is simply another form of storytelling, albeit a more active one.  In fact, it is an online “Choose Your Own Adventure” story that you, the participant, is helping to write. 

Take, for example, the concept of transmedia – Transmedia storytelling (also known as transmedia narrative or multi platform storytelling) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. It is not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media franchises,[1] sequels or adaptations. (Don’t hate on me, but this is the Wikipedia definition.)

Many of the items we purchase in our collection now include a transmedia approach.  This means that there are a variety of online activities, including games, that young readers are invited to jump online and do to enhance the story.  Examples of this include the BZRK series by Michael Grant and The 39 Clues by multiple authors.   The very items in our collections are instructing our readers to jump online and engage in the story in a more hands on way.  A customer would be pretty unsatisfied to go to a store and buy a printer but not be able to buy their printer paper there, so it would also be pretty annoying for our patrons to check out and read a book that directed them to go online for additional experiences and be told the very library they checked the book out from doesn’t permit that. 

21st Century Education

21st century has an emphasis on STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math).  This means that young students need to be adept and knowledgeable at interacting with technology and be continually aware of the rapidly changing landscape of the technology world.  In addition, these new skills require a different type of learning, of information access and processing skills, and these skills can arguably only be acquired through frequent interaction with the online world. 

Coding (see Minecraft

One of the primary 21st century skills that STEM education emphasizes is coding.  It is believed that all students today need to learn some basic coding.  Minecraft is a game that was designed to help teach kids coding in a fun, game like environment.  Minecraft is just one example of this type of gaming, but it is currently the most popular.  In fact, many libraries now have Minecraft parties as a regularly occurring program because of the social and educational benefits. 

See also, Why Everyone Should Learn to Code: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/03/29/codecademy_hacker_school_why_everyone_should_learn_to_code.html 
See also these References from YALSA: http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2013/04/04/connect-create-collaboratecraft-a-teen-tech-week-post-mortem-minecraft-in-the-library/, http://www.questia.com/library/1G1-317588244/minecraft-programs-in-the-library-if-you-build-it 

Lateral Thinking, Creativity, Innovation (STEM Education) 

Video gaming puts kids and teens in a variety of scenarios where they have to think creatively, problem solve, innovate, lateral thinking and more.  These are all 12st century education goals.  They are, in fact, some of the same benefits that we get from reading, but gaming addresses this in a 21st century way and it does so while engaging in a different type of learning environment/strategy.  There is more than one way to learn, and each way is more effective for different people; by allowing access to gaming, we widen our education net to meet the needs of those with learning disabilities of various types and allowing them to engage in the educational format that works best for them, as opposed to more traditional formats. 

Lateral Thinking Definition: Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic. (Edward de Bono) 

Physical Benefits That Impact Learning and Basic Literacy 

Video gaming increases some basic skills such as hand/eye coordination.  These are all skills that are also important to the basic ability to read.  Thus, gaming in the library reinforces many skills that help our youth become better readers and information processors.  That seems to fall under our basic mission.  For another example of the physical benefits of electronic gaming, see Video Games Promote Cognitive Flexibility.

Patron (Customer) Satisfaction and Retention 

Part of remaining vital and relevant not only today but in the future is to communicate to your patrons that you value them and that you have the resources they need to be successful in their formal and informal education.  You cannot alienate a generation of library users by denying them access to a key component of their technology needs and expect them to later come back and find the library both viable and relevant.  By eliminating gaming in the library we will communicate to today’s youth that we do not have what they need and want, that we are not a relevant community resource, and we will be hard pressed to convince them otherwise at some later date.   

Supporting General Education 

A basic part of much classroom education today is supplemented by online games.  In fact, there are entire curriculums such as Study Island that students are assigned and are asked to access outside of the classroom.  These activities involve a variety of math, language and science based games that reinforce things discussed in the classroom.  My tween daughter is instructed by her teacher to log in and participate in a group of games called Study Island, and it tracks her progress.  Her teacher sends me emails reminding me that my daughter is supposed to do this.  We are lucky, we have a basic laptop and Wifi access at home, but not all students do, which is where the public library comes in.

New Days, New Ways.  Different is Not Always Bad, It’s Just Different

Recently, when asked to speak at a staff training event, I was talking about teens and reading when a hand went up in the air: “But teens don’t really read anymore”, this staff member said.  The truth is, teens do read.  Some of them, many of them, even still read traditional books.  But as our world changes, so must our ideas of how we define reading.  You just sat here and read this blog post, you were reading.  Not a book, but still reading.  Teens read, and a lot of them are doing it in new ways provided by technology – including inside of the games that they play.  In order for libraries to remain relevant, we have to understand the patrons that we serve and be able to meet their needs.  We have to adapt.  This means that we have to acknowledge that teens may be reading in different ways, but that they are still reading.  And teens may be learning in different ways, but they are still learning.  The question is, do we want to continue to be a part of their education?  If the answer is yes, then we must find ways to incorporate electronic gaming in libraries.

Additional Thoughts and Resources RE Gaming and Education:
20 Benefits of Video Games: http://www.trendhunter.com/course/gaming-speech
The Educational Benefits of Video Games: http://sheu.org.uk/sites/sheu.org.uk/files/imagepicker/1/eh203mg.pdf
Hidden Benefits of Video Games: http://www.drcherylolson.com/hidden-benefits-of-videogames/
Video Games Help Reading in Children With Dyslexia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21619592
New Study Finds that Gaming Helps Children Learn Ethical Decision Making: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21619592
Study Finds Playing Video Games Helps You Process Images Faster: http://www.geekosystem.com/visual-stimulus-gamers/
The Benefits of Video Games: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2011/12/the-benefits-of-video-games/
When Gaming is Good for You: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203458604577263273943183932.html
The Brain 101: http://www.positscience.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-myths/brain-101
Video Games Promote Cognitive Flexibility: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/24/video-games-brain-starcraft-cognitive-flexibility_n_3790610.html

Additional Thoughts and Resources RE Gaming in Libraries:
The Librarian’s Guide to Gaming: http://librarygamingtoolkit.org/
Video Games and Libraries are a Good Mix: http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/18/video-games-and-libraries-are-a-good-mix-say-librarians/
Video Gaming in Libraries 101: http://www.slideshare.net/JustinTheLibrarian/video-gaming-inlibraries101
At Libraries Across America, It’s Game On: http://www.npr.org/2013/08/11/209584333/at-libraries-across-america-its-game-on
Beck, John C and Mitchell Wade. Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever. Harvard Business School Press, 2004.
Gee, James Paul. Good Video Games + Good Learning : Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning, and Literacy. P. Lang, c2007.
Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. Palgrave McMillan, 2003.
Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today’s Pop Culture is Making Us Smarter. Riverhead, 2005.
Nicholson, Scott. Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages. Information Today, 2010.
Neiburger, Eli. Gamers … in the Library?! : The Why, What, and How of Videogame Tournaments for All Ages. American Library Association, 2007.
Prensky, Marc. Don’t Bother Me Mom–I’m Learning. Paragon House, 2006.
Salen, Katie. The Ecology of Games : Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. MIT Press, 2008. Forthcoming
Selfe, Cynthia L. and Gail E. Hawisher. Gaming Lives in the Twenty-First Century : Literate Connections. Palgrave, 2007.
Vorderer, Peter and Jennings Bryant, eds. Playing Video Games : Motives, Responses, and Consequences. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006.
“A Revolution in Library Service: Gaming is More Than Just a Lure into the Library” by Kelly Czarnecki. School Library Journal, May 2007, p34.
“All Thumbs Isn’t a Bad Thing: Video Game Programs @ your library” by Beth Saxton. Young Adult Library Services, Winter 2007.
“From Platforms to Books? I’m Game” by Rollie Welch. Young Adult Library Services, Winter 2008.
“Gaming and Libraries: Intersection of Services” by Jenny Levine Library Technology Reports Sep/Oct 2006, vol. 42., n. 5
“Gaming Advocacy: New Ways Librarians Can Support Learning and Literacy” by Kit Ward-Crixell. School Library Journal, September 2007.
“Why Gaming?” Library Technology Reports, September/October 2006, p10.

Additional Resources and Thoughts RE The Digital Divide:
7 Myths of the Digital Divide: http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2013/04/26/7-myths-of-the-digital-divide/
The Digital Divide is Still Leaving Americans Behind: http://mashable.com/2013/08/18/digital-divide/?utm_cid=mash-prod-email-topstories
The Digital Divide and Its Impact on Academic Performance: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/WRC08034.pdf
Digital Divide: Bridging the Gap: http://www.broward.k12.fl.us/digitaldivide/
Education World: Caught in the Digital Divide: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech041.shtml

TPiB: TTW13- Check In at the Library

I don’t know why Teen Tech Week always sneaks up on me.  Maybe because March is always when summer reading planning seems to be at it’s fullest.  Or maybe because it always seems to fall during my school systems’ spring breaks. Or it’s because I’m waiting for spring.  Who knows.  All I know is I’m always scrambling to find easy programs to do because I’m short on staff and my brain is shot. The YALSA NING for TTW has some awesome ideas for this year’s theme, Check in @ The Library, and you should definitely check them out.  However, if they seem to ambitious, try some of mine.  And if you’re doing something for Teen Tech Week, share what you’re doing in the comments!


These movies break the way to some excellent discussion topics with teens, and a lot of them are topics that need to be discussed- from privacy settings to what image you’re projecting to making sure they’re being safe online, you can create discussion guides to hand out beforehand to get your teens thinking, and start the discussion afterwards.

CATFISH- the documentary that started the TV show. Talk about how to tell if how you’re talking to is really who you think they are, and what your profile says about you.

HACKERS- aside from showing a young Sherlock from NBC and a young Angelina, it shows that determined teens can change anything. Explore ideas of code cracking, and how safe your information is online and on your devices.

WARGAMES- yes, “old” but talk about how even though the tech has changes, the basics of hacking is the same. How safe are things when everything is connected to a computer, and all someone needs is a secret code?
THE SOCIAL NETWORK- How Facebook got started (and the new Spiderman, BTW), talk about privacy settings and passwords, and what people can see and search for.


I was lucky enough to meet Darren Shan at ALA Midwinter, and That Guy and I were able to get two of his new series signed for giveaways for Teen Tech Week at my library.  Since my teens are off for Spring Break during TTW, I’m creating this:

They will have to get four stamps (complete four squares) in order to be entered into the drawing for the book, and thereby will be “checking in” at the library. You could definitely alter it to use for your programs.  (If you want the layout, let me know- it was really easy to create).  I gave them a variety of options, including volunteering, reading, helping me plan summer reading, and doing their homework early.  My favorite is the chocolate- we’ll see if that actually happens.  


The other big success that I’ve had during tech week is when I’ve got low tech/no tech during gaming programs.  I’m always surprised by when I have a huge knowledge of games that my teens have no comprehension of.  Case in point: Clue.  I was SO excited the first summer I was at my current job, and set up a LIVE CLUE.  I had a duct tape body and EVERYTHING.  None of them had played, so it died.  Literally.  And then they teased the littler kids that it really was a dead body, and I had to reassure a parent that no, there wasn’t a murder in the library, it was just connected to our summer reading program.  *sigh*  So I really like take low tech/no tech games and having a gaming afternoon and getting them involved.

Fav 5 Programs of the Year: Christie’s Version

“Don’t count every hour in the day; make every hour in the day count.”

– unknown

Everyone always has their favorite things that they love to do at work, things that just make your day.  Mine is doing things with the kids, whether it’s just sitting down and hanging out or having a formal program.  There’s always something going on at my library, and while we have a lot of programs, I thought that I’d share my favorite 5 of the year.

Championship Round of the Thanksgiving Halo Tournament

Gaming Events

From running informal gaming afternoons to formal tournaments with Mario Kart, Smash Brothers or Halo, I love running gaming events. Maybe it’s because I’m a halfway decent gamer (I have a bit of talent, and a LOT of enthusiasm), but I enjoy watching and playing video games, and am always up on the latest games.  While my library may not have the latest and greatest titles (Wii, PS3 and XBOX 360 w/o a Kinect), I do let the teens bring their own games- and they know that a. they’re responsible for their stuff, and b. nothing comes up missing or I will find out who took it before everyone leaves.

Surprise Saturday: Yu-Gi-Oh Free Play 

Surprise Saturdays

I adore Surprise Saturdays.  Maybe it’s because I’m actually caught up on everything, and everyone is actually here, but I think it’s more because it makes the day special for the kids.  I’ve done crafts, freeplay Wii and PS3 gaming, holiday movie days, Yu-Gi-Oh free play, board games…  And it only takes a little bit before the word gets around and while I may start with two or three people, I end up with a room full.

Star Wars Reads Day/ May the Sith Be With You
I have had two different Star Wars based programs, and both have been HUGE successes, so if you were deabting whether or not to have one: DO IT.  The most recent one was Star Wars Reads Day, and we did origami crafts from the Origami Yoda books, had free play sessions on the PS3 for Lego Star Wars, played Star Wars Monopoly, and had a surprise visit (to all of us) from TIE fighter pilots from the 501st (picture on the left).  The first program I had I coordinated with the 501st directly, and had 6 members of the Fist able to come out: Lord Vader (pictured on the right reading silently as my kids looked on), an Imperial Royal Guard, a Storm Trooper, a Sand Trooper, a Scout Trooper and one of the Imperial Crew.  Both times, after pictures with the kids, they went around and interacted with everyone- playing pool, looking at what they were doing on the computers, and loving the Star Wars books that we had on display.  The 501st do need a locked room to store their weapons and other gear away from the Rebel Alliance, but it is definitely worth the effort to get them to your library.

 Reading Program Lock-Ins
Karen and I disagree on this one, but I adore lock-ins, and use them as a huge added incentive for my teen reading programs.  I make it an added challenge by tacking it above and beyond what they need to actually complete the program to our system’s standards, and every year the number of teens meeting the challenge increases.  It is a lot of time and energy to produce the program: gathering donations for food, coordinating prizes and reading logs, getting the building ready for the lock-in, making sure you think about everything before hand, etc.  However, it is definitely worth it in my opinion. The teens that have been participating in the lock-ins (and therefore the reading programs heavily) have been improving their reading scores at school, and are staying involved at the library and at school.  And in my area, that’s huge.

Talk Like a Pirate Day
I think Talk Like a Pirate Day is hysterical, and adore it.  Besides, I get a legitimate excuse to bring a sword to work!  This year, I was able to coordinate with the after school program in my building and we showed movies and did pirate flags for everyone- 90 kids and adults in all.  A lot of leg work, especially as there was just me setting it all up, but definitely worth it as the next two weeks we were buried in requests for pirate and shipwreck books.

So, what were your favorite programs that you did?  Or what are you looking forward to doing in the coming year?  Share in the comments below!

Top 10: Gaming in the Library

The first Saturday in November is now reserved for International Games Day, and I happen to love it.  I know it may tweak some librarians (IT’S NOT READING!!!!) but gaming is literacy if you know what to look for, and it’s an important tool in the 40 Developmental Aspects for Teens (and for younger kids as well).  I’ve had teens that wouldn’t talk to each other work together on video games and puzzles, and those that weren’t joiners crow after winning a difficult round of Monopoly.  So, for International Games Day, I’ve compiled a list of my Top Ten, both in books and games.  (and Happy Birthday to Karen!!)

For The Win by Cory Doctorow.  Struggling to make a living in the video game world, teens from across the world combine to fight the battle not only in the video game world but in real life….

Monopoly.  My tweens and teens love ANY version of Monopoly that I can get my hands on, and a game will go on for 5-6 hours.  We play by house rules:  any money from taxes goes into Free Parking, and they can make alliances, trade properties, etc.  Your house rules may be a bit different, but teens definitely get into the game.

Super Smash Bros Brawl by Nintendo.  It’s been on a variety of the Nintendo platforms, and currently is available on the Wii, and kids of all ages love playing it.  I have really good success having tournaments, and I know that for Game Day libraries across the country have set up cross-country battles.  I always think it’s funny because I’m pretty good at it, and my teens will get someone unsuspecting to play, and I’ll be the Princess, and go to town with an umbrella or an onion.

Unidentified by Rae Mariz.  When Katey’s attempt at self-thought brings her the attention of the sponsors, will it be her big break, or selling out to the corporations in control?

Zombie Fluxx by Looney Labs.  The rules and goals are ever changing, so you have to read VERY carefully and pay attention in order to win this very challenging game.  And watch out for Larry!

Little Big Planet 1 & 2.  My kids really like going through the different levels available, and those that play solo have discovered the challenges of designing their own courses, and then having their friends play through.  We’ve even had a teen night where one set will be designing their course, and then the second half will play through and they’ll vote on the best level.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  When gamer Wade stumbles onto a clue that may take him to the end of the puzzle and the fortune, his world is turned upside down.  Can he solve the riddles before the game gets to him?

Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot by Playroom Entertainment.  The most RANDOM game in the free world, and the best because there is not a clear winner until the end.  You go through killing everyone else’s bunnies, and buying up themed carrots, then at the end, there is one SPECIFIC carrot that is the winner.  TA DA!  CHAOS (and the teenage years) personified.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe by Midway Games and DC Comics.  My teens love having tournaments, and I make sure I have the key fighting combinations printed out and lying around so that those who aren’t playing can study them ahead of time.  When we have after hours gaming, often times they’ll go through story mode on different difficulties, unlocking the characters for later.
Halo by Bungie and Microsoft Studios.  This actually counts for gaming and books, because teens who love the games DEVOUR the books that I have in the library, and not just the graphic novel adaptations, either.  They’ve gone through the full science fiction story lines by Greg Bear and Karen Traviss over and over, and are always asking when we’re getting more in.  And they’re always up for tournament play.  We’re lucky in that I have a computer lab next to my little library, and so I can load up the Halo Trial (which does not need permission slips as it’s not rated anything more than teen), and run a tournament in our lab without bothering other patrons.  The only cost to me is time, and a few small prizes.
You can download the poster at http://www.box.com/s/duxk17uo59eveyip5ut1
So what are your favorite gaming books or games that you’ve done in your library?  Share in the comments below!