App of the Week: Two Dots

Title: Two Dots
Platform: iOS 6.1 or later
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)

Just about a year ago I reviewed the addictive and fun game, Dots. Now there’s a sequel, Two Dots, and it’s just as addictive and just as fun. But, you don’t have to take my word for it.


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App of the Week: NightSky

nightsky

Title: NightSky
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: 4.99

 

This game is really pretty. It’s also really hard. NightSky begins with the premise of a mysterious glowing orb found on a beach. The nameless narrator’s text tells us that upon bringing it home he or she began to have strange dreams. This, combined with a soundtrack that is quirky bordering on eerie, sets the tone for a strange dream of a game.

photo(8)‘  photo(13)

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App of the Week: Dimensions – The Sonic Adventure Game

dimensions logoTitle: Dimensions-The Sonic Adventure Game
Cost: Free (with in app purchases)
Platform: iOS 5 or greater

Before this week’s App of the Week review, a reminder to vote for your favorite app for teens in 2012.

I learned about Dimensions when reading through a list of the 12 most beautiful apps of 2012. (There are a lot of great apps in that list by the way.) The Dimensions app caught my eye because it integrated several features that I thought would be of interest to teens – music, augmented reality, and being able to play with others across devices and locations.

It is a beautifully designed app and the play is also intriguing and fun. First off, anyone who plays has to make sure to be using headphones. The music in the app (it is a sonic adventure game of course) is key to play. If you don’t have headphones plugged in the app will remind you that you should. As a matter of fact the app reminds you regularly of what you should be doing – which is helpful. The reminders come by way of text and the voice of the woman who narrates the game and gives information on how to play.
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App of the Week: Flow Free

Title: Flow Free
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free, with additional paid content

 

 

Who knew connect the dots could be so compelling? Flow Free is my new favorite addictive puzzle game. It starts out easy on a five by five grid with five colors. You must connect the dots and cover each square on the grid without crossing over paths, or flows, between dots. As you progress through the levels the game becomes increasingly more complicated, adding more dots to connect and more space in the grid to connect them.’  Bright colors on a black background resemble an 80s arcade game, but, unlike most arcade games there is no pressure of a time limit if you don’t want one.’  In free play mode, you can spend as long as you need on each level, and make as many moves as you like. You can even take back all of your moves and start over. The fewer moves you need, the more points you get, and if you solve a level perfectly you’ll get a star. Or you can up the tempo and play against the clock in time trial mode. Continue reading

30 Days of Innovation #16.5 (bonus post!): E-readers as supplements

Can we finally put the argument to rest? E-readers are not killing reading, nor are they killing books. As research shows, people who own e-readers not only read more than people who don’t, but they read both e-books and print books. Not to mention, there are plenty of populations, from prison inmates to seniors, who will need print books for a long time coming. Neither one is going away.

That’s not to say that they’re the same, though. Far from it. In my experience, e-readers attract different types of readers than print books, and they’re also engaging more people who were previously non-readers. Anybody who thinks that’s not great, well… There are also scads of e-reading apps available for phones, tablets, and computers, so e-content is available to more than just people with Nooks and Kindles. People use e-readers for a variety of reasons, from pleasure reading to research, so it’s good to consider how many bases you can cover. The Pew Research Center released a report on reading, readers, and e-readers recently, and ALA of course responded. While Pew’s data is encouraging (among other statistics released, the study found that people who use e-readers read more books per year than people who only read in print), ALA pointed out that the stats of who reads at all, and who reads in what format, are also related to education and income level. So what can you do about it? Continue reading

Students: Win Tickets on Twitter to YALSA’s Games, Gadgets & Gurus in Boston

YALSA is coming to Boston for ALA’s Midwinter Meeting, and we’re giving away seven tickets to SLIS students for ‘ our Friday night social event, Games, Gadgets & Gurus, on Jan. 15 from 8-10 p.m. Network with your YALSA friends and colleagues over refreshments, play with board games and video games; see demos of social networking, cloud computing, and more, try out library-friendly technology like e-readers, digital audio recorders, Flip Video cameras; get one-on-one advice from tech experts, and more. Other participants include Galaxy Press, PBS’s Digital Nation, and Tutor.com.

It should be a great time. So how do you win tickets? Easy. If you’re a library school student who can attend the event in Boston and you have a Twitter account (if you don’t, you can sign up for one —’ it’s free), ‘ post something by 5 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, Dec. 4 with the hashtag #gamesgadgetsgurus. That’s it! We’ll choose seven people who used the hashtag at random and will send you a direct message letting you know you’ve won on Dec. 7 (so make sure you’re following us at www.twitter.com/yalsa so we can get in touch with you!). Continue reading

Gaming at Midwinter

-The YALSA Gaming Discussion group is meeting on Monday, January 14, 4-6pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in room 202A. All are welcome to attend. We will be discussing the presentation for Annual conference, engaging in games, and topics related to gaming that you would like to talk about.

YALSA’s Gaming Extravaganza, January 11, 8pm-11pm. Prizes, contests, networking, and exercise!

-an ALA Member Interest Group on Games and Gaming is in the works with Scott Nicholson. Signatures are needed and more information about the group can be found here.

-In addition to your YALSA member ribbon, be sure to pick up a ‘gamer’ one for Midwinter if you identify as such.

-Open gaming Monday January 12 through Monday January 14 at Midwinter with Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, and the Wii. If you want to volunteer to provide coverage or just to check it out and ask questions, contact ALA’s Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide for more information at jlevine at ala.org.

-Know of another gaming related event? Feel free to leave a comment or post on the ALA wiki here.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Online Magazine and Casual Games

There was a post on the YALSA blog in August about print teen magazines going online here and here.
This week, Arkadium announces a partnership with Hearst Corp. to develop web-based games for CosmoGIRL!, Seventeen, and Teen. Read the article here. Is anyone creating online games for Teen Tech Week for their library? I’ve seen several libraries with online games for summer reading, or just an introduction to their library and of course there is Hot Books. Creating games to keep people interested and interactive in a service sounds like a great idea.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Teachable Moments in Internet Safety

Some of you know that my Meebo is logged in all day – my office is experimenting with being available to members via IM, to encourage our libraries to try it.

This afternoon, around 5, I got a message from someone I didn’t know, on my old AIM account, and since I am kinda “out there” on the ‘net, and I do get messaged by librarians all the time, I feel comfortable disclosing my name:

[14:05] Stranger: hey

[14:05] me: [screen name]… do I know you? 🙂

[14:06] Stranger: I doubt it. How’s it goin’?

[14:06] me: ok… 🙂

[14:06] me: what’s up?

[14:07] Stranger: Nothing really. Who are you? You’re on my buddy list for some reason…

[14:07] me: *lol*

[14:07] me: Beth Gallaway, gamer librarian

[14:07] Stranger: Gamer Librarian?

So, at this point, I am still thinking I am talking to another librarian. Then her buddy icon resolves itself, and it is a photo of a teenaged Asian girl.

[14:08] me: i’m a librarian, working as a trainer and consultant to libraries now

[14:08] me: and I am writing a book on games and libraries

[14:08] me: 🙂

[14:08] me: ring any bells?

[14:09] me: I teach classes in library topics for Simmons, CT state library, and talk at a lot of library conferences.

[14:09] me: and I used to work in [Town], and sometimes gave out this AIM there to library patrons 🙂

[14:09] me: who are YOU? *g*
[14:09] Stranger: Nope. I live in [Town, State].
[14:10] Stranger: I am [First name, Last name] possibly the best person you’ve ever met.
[14:10] me: most definitely.
[14:10] Stranger: Not to sound cocky.

So. Within 5 minutes, this young person gave me their town and full name. We shook virtual hands, and I just knew it had to be a kid… a bit later, after explaining what I do, I asked what do you do, work, school… she replied, “school” and that she had the day off due to the extremely cold weather.

We exchanged some game links (I gave her Set Game and she sent me to Flash Flash Revolution). And I suggested Teen Second Life and she immediately set up an account and gave me her screen name THERE. I gave her my account name and told her to visit the Eye4You Alliance Island.

Before logging off, I couldn’t let go of the fact that she gave personal information to a complete stranger within five minutes of talking for the first time

[14:29] me: just a sidenote:

[14:29] me: you gave me your full name and location within 5 minutes of meeting me…

[14:29] me: and i am totally legit *g*

[14:29] me: 32 yr old female librarian

[14:29] me: BUT

[14:29] Stranger: Ooh. Wow. Yeah.

[14:29] me: i would be remiss not to slap you on teh wrists!

[14:30] me: bad girl

[14:30] me: my myspace is informationgoddess29

[14:30] me: and if you DO get into second life, look me up

[14:30] Stranger: okay

[14:30] me: and keep sending game links 🙂

[14:30] me: take care!

[14:30] Stranger: I will

[14:30] Stranger: lol

[14:30] Stranger: you too

[14:30] me: 🙂

Should I have asked why? If she did it all the time? What her parents would think? Should I have tried to google her name and location, or looked her up on Facebook or MySpace to further prove my point? What do you all think?

I still have no clue how I got on her buddy list. Maybe we can play six degrees of separation if she messages me again.