Friday, April 27, 2018

Guy Friday- Adventures: Game On! the Graphic Novel

Adventures: Game On! the Graphic Novel
Ali-A, Cavan Scott, Aleksandar Sotirovski (Illustrations)Ali-A
October 24th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Ali-A, Clare, and their dog Eevee are attending a launch party for the game Alien Liberator 2. Ali-A gets ready to speak when bizarre things start happening-- everyone starts turning into aliens! At first, everyone thinks that this is a publicity stunt, but somehow the game has infected the real world. Eevee is imbued with super powers and can communicate with Ali-A and Clare, and helps them figure out what is wrong and fix it before Earth is destroyed. Complete with Tyrantor robots and very real threats of explosions, their adventure tests their skills as gamers as well as fighters.

While this book combines two of the things I dislike the most, video games and YouTubers, these are two things that most middle grade readers find absolutely fascinating! The thought that there is someone who is famous for posting videos of himself playing videogames is all but nonsensical to me, but the average twelve year old could probably name a half dozen channels where this occurs. Is this book War and Peace? No. Will middle grade readers love it? Yes.

This book is brilliantly formatted. I've read a lot of graphic novels, and they tend to be very small, with microscopic print. While readers will struggle on with this because there are pictures (and color in this one, to boot), it's great that this is a slightly larger format so the print isn't quite as small. The pictures are clear and well drawn and the blue-oriented color palette is a nice foil for the aliens and fits the science fiction theme nicely.

It also doesn't have that odd smell that many graphic novels have. If more graphic novels were formatted like this, I would probably buy more of them.

Eevee is absolutely adorable, and the fact that she is able to talk to her owners is very intriguing. I rather wish that Ali-A were portrayed as a younger person, but since readers do like to "read up", seeing him as a young man will not be problematic. Clare could be more involved, but her skills do save the day on occasion.

I can see this being a great treat for a young reader who spends more time on the computer than reading, or who wants a bit of respite from reading longer novels about video games such as Anderson's Insert Coin to Continue, Schrieber's Game Over, Pete Watson, Brown's Josh Baxter Levels Up or Chang's Tournament Trouble.

CoderDojo Nano: Make Your Own Game: Create with Code
Horneman,‎ Jurie and CoderDojo
September 7th 2017 by Egmont Books Ltd
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

This book provides clear and precise instructions for creating a video game. While I have coded in the past, I have to admit that I did not follow the book step-by-step to make sure that the instructions were easy to follow, but just read the book.

The chapters start with general information about how code and compute games work, and then shows details about what needs to be done. There are screen shots of what the code should like like as well as decorative illustrations on each page. The text is small but clear and laid out with plenty of "white space", which is actually often colored to set the different elements of coding apart from one another. There are also "Ninja Tips" and "Level Up" boxes with additional helpful hints.

The chapters cover increasingly difficult concepts of programming in JavaScript, going from "Using the Console" to "Setting Up a Loop" to "Player Health". Since I also don't PLAY video games, it is somewhat hard to determine if everything needed for a successful game is included, but students to whom I gave the books were impressed by the extensive coverage of topics.

The bright colors, fun graphics, and detailed explanations of game elements, as well as other information about internet safety and use of code for creating different apps and other games, make this a great book to hand to a child who is obsessed with video games in hopes of channeling that energy and time into learning something productive!

Cube Kid. Ultimate Warrior (Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior #5)
March 13th 2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

"In the fifth in this series of five unofficial Minecraft adventure books, everyone's favorite 12-year-old villager-turned-warrior is back this time to use his warrior training on a new quest.

There’s no time to enjoy his newfound stardom.To save Villagetown, Runt embarks on a perilous quest far beyond the safety of the wall. Between bizarre towns, terrifying dungeons, and epic boss battles, Runt must summon the hero within and say “so long” to the noob! "

These are just books I don't understand, although my library assistants and I have had many conversations about Minecraft, which I keep getting confused with RuneScape, since that was the "cool" game that my own children tried to play with a dial up modem!

This series is fan fiction, so knowledge of the game is really helpful. I do think that this book has more of its own plot, and Runt has a lot more character development than we've seen in the past.

Also, one of my 8th grade girls who normally only reads romance books has been polishing off one of these a day, so she is super excited to read this one.

Definitely purchase this series in prebind for any elementary or middle school library, because the paperbacks will NOT hold up to the constant circulation that these see!

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