Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jan Ken Po 2.0

The first video game that I can remember playing was Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle for the Sega Genesis. I loved the game because of this one feature: the Janken Houses. In the game, Alex would enter these betting houses where items would be placed for collateral and a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors would commence. 

Rock-Paper-Scissors is a game commonly used for selection purposes. On the count of three, players throw their hands out in one of three positions:
    jan ken po by dukejeffrie

    jan ken po, a photo by dukejeffrie on Flickr.
  • Rock-clenched fist
  • Paper- open downward palm
  • Scissors- two fingers extended, separated in V
The idea is that
  • rock can beat scissors by blunting the sharp edges
  • scissors cut paper
  • paper can cover or capture rock.
The game has evolved somewhat and this is what I love; new weapons or characters can be added for a variation on play. The most common of these is Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.  Think Geek has a great    t-shirt illustrating the idea as well as a little blurb explaining how zombies fall into the mix.

Creating your own variations on the game play can be a very creative process. How would you play? What characters would you add to the mix?

Monday, March 14, 2011

I could do that!

Have you ever walked by a display of those hand-carved toys at Target and done a double take at the price? Yeah, we have all been there, done that, and yet we still dish out the money for the kitschy homespun look of those simple wooden carved or embroidered pillows toys. Why do we do that?

Now I will admit that my family is not 100% green, but we do recycle and I always try to reuse/re-purpose for the crafts that I hold at my library. In fact, just yesterday, my son raided the cardboard recycling bin in our kitchen for the empty Big Box Store cereal boxes and disappeared in his room to promptly come out wearing a cereal box mask and proclaiming himself to be a robot. Is there anything more precious than the imagination of a five year old who would rather play with a box than the multitude of electronic devices his parents provide for him?

Game stations, computers, and such are great, but they can be mind-numbing which every child who has proclaimed "I am bored! There is nothing to do here!" can attest to--even while they are surrounded by high-tech or expensive name-brand toys. That is why I love Joel Henriques' book Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations. The ideas are so simple that you will be inspired to come up with your own homespun toys to keep the kids entertained. The directions are easy to follow and the crafts are really simple. Great project for a Sunday afternoon! Need more inspiration than those contained in the pages of the book?

Well, there is a blog for that! Joel Henriques is also the brain behind the website Made by Joel. Simple pictures and illustrations detail the steps for creating your own projects that are just as fun to play with as they are good to look at.

This book is due to be published in October 2011, make sure you pre-order your copy today. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update on Twitter book reviews

Okay, the first Twitter book review is up. Remember that first does not always mean best (in other words, my example might suck a bit). Feel free to try your hand at the mayhem. Rules? Well, of course there are rules!
1. Give book title
2. Include hashtag #bktweetlet
3. Include hashtag #awesomeness, #sucks, etc to express your feelings on the book.
4. Remember you only have 140 characters to express this all, be creative!
5. Have fun!

I will try to collect some of the reviews to post on this blog as they start coming in.