Most people play video games nowadays. Whether it’s a casual session of Words with Friends or an all night binge on World of Warcraft, over half of the US plays video games, and as a species, humans play about 3 billion hours a week (about 125 million days worth, or 342,239 years).
Most kids will have played about 10,000 hours worth of video games by the time they’re 21, which is about the same amount of time they’ll spend in school.
Today, Trish and I -- and a couple helpers -- put together our Fresh City Life booth for the Denver County Fair. We had a great time, a lot of laughs and built something that will make fair-goers smile.
And the process, since we really only had a general idea of how it would come together, reminded me of the Stephen Sondheim classic, Putting It Together:
Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art
Every moment makes a contribution
Every little detail plays a part
Having just a vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution
Putting it together (That's what counts)
24 years ago, I spent a summer in front of my brand-new Atari XE (Dad was convinced the NES wouldn't be successful), playing Rescue on Fractalus!, an early LucasArts 8-bit game that made me scream so often that my mother asked me to stop playing it (it was really scary when I was 11). Games have been a part of my life ever since, and I'd always dreamed of making my own.
Luckily, the tools to actually make your own games become readily available to everyday Janes and Joes (or Janes and Joes Who Don't Want to Learn How to Code, at least). If you (or maybe someone you know who loves games, is home for the summer, and is just dying of boredom) are interested in making your own video games, there are lots of (FREE!) ways you can get started. These first options are great for lower-res, 2D games like platformers and puzzles, and are great options if you're just getting started:
Computers are great. Seriously, think of all they do for us. They spell check our horribly written term papers, they help us find dinner for date night, and they help us keep in contact (some say too much so) with all our friends on Facebook. Most importantly tho, they can distract us for hours on end when we are trapped inside by a couple feet of snow. Here are some suggestions of places you can go for free online entertainment:
Pandora.com - On Pandora you can create radio stations that play the type of music you like. You start with an artist or song and Pandora tries to find similar songs for you to listen to; this has the added bonus of being a great way to learn about new bands!
Grooveshark.com - Grooveshark allows you to create a playlist by searching for artists or titles you like. You then drag them into a play bar and it will play the songs you have chosen in the order you have put them in.
Whether your favorite game includes spelling rare words for a triple score or discovering that Colonel Mustard did it in the library with a revolver, Fresh City Life's Game Night offers something for everyone. Hosted by MadWine Bar and Novo Coffee (13th and Acoma Plaza), you'll be treated to fun times and the chance to mingle with other old school gamers.
Fresh City Life has been presenting a monthly game night for a year or so; it's been perking along under the name WordNerds and drawing happy crowds to Mad Wine and Novo Coffee (our partners in this gathering for game players).
This week, November 15 - November 22, is National Game and Puzzle Week! Whether you game online, play cards or love a good puzzle, the library has something for you! Invite your friends or family for a fun night of playing games or solving puzzles. These activities are proven to keep your mind sharp and active and can even stave off the effects of aging on your brain!
WordNerds is one of my favorite Fresh City Life events to host- it’s pure old-fashioned fun. Nothing complicated, nothing messy, just a bunch of people get together to play games. Some WordNerds come with friends, while others wander in solo, hoping to catch a game and meet people, which they inevitably do.
The evening typically starts with smaller groups of gamers pouring over Scrabble boards and Boggle cubes scattered throughout the Novo Coffee/Mad Wine area, but by the end of the night we’ve all converged like amoeba for riotously funny games of Baldderdash or Speed Scrabble. Come 8:00, after being fueled by coffee and wine specials from our gracious hosts, our games grudgingly wind to an end, leaving us eager for next month’s gathering.