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Feedback Request: Summer Book Group


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#1 dojoboy

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 09:26 AM

I'm sponsoring a summer book group for our school, among many others by teachers and/or students. There is a schoolwide book all students are required to read. Along with that they have to choose two other books or join a sponsored book group. A sponsored book group can be (1) 2 themed books or (2) a themed book & activity. The activity occurs over the summer and has to be something day and boarding students can take part in.

My offering is below.

Posting this here for any advice you guys might have regarding the summer activity component, which is a real/virtual scavenger hunt. The virtual element is for any boarders who might be in my book group, some of which live in other countries. Now, depending on who signs up for my book group, the activity can be tweaked. Additionally, I intend on having a medium for the book group members to post their findings and interact with one another throughout the summer. I'm thinking about using an app, like Viber Messenger, Whatsapp, SnapChat, GroupMe, etc.

Okay, for the scavenger hunt, what do you think would be some cool things to include and how would you integrate them to encourage discussion among the book group members? What medium would you recommend for the interactive component? One item I'm considering is having them find in the real/virtual world a vintage ad. Something like the one attached of a Nintendo ad posted on Reddit I came across.


The Ultimate History of Video Games
Steven Kent
ISBN: 978-0761536437

With all the whiz, bang, pop, and shimmer of a glowing arcade. The Ultimate History of Video Games reveals everything you ever wanted to know and more about the unforgettable games that changed the world, the visionaries who made them, and the fanatics who played them. From the arcade to television and from the PC to the handheld device, video games have entranced kids at heart for nearly 30 years. And author and gaming historian Steven L. Kent has been there to record the craze from the very beginning. This engrossing book tells the incredible tale of how this backroom novelty transformed into a cultural phenomenon. Through meticulous research and personal interviews with hundreds of industry luminaries, you'll read firsthand accounts of how yesterday's games like Space Invaders, Centipede, and Pac-Man helped create an arcade culture that defined a generation, and how today's empires like Sony, Nintendo, and Electronic Arts have galvanized a multibillion-dollar industry and a new generation of games.

The “plus” component will be an interactive, part virtual, part real scavenger hunt based on a list sent to book group members in late May. Other instructions will follow. Additionally, after school starts next year, book group members will take part in an outing to a local coin-op arcade.

Attached Files


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#2 Matt Diamond

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:03 PM

Seems like it would be good to relate the hunt to the book as much as possible. Ideally the tasks would enhance the appreciation of the book. For example, have the readers time themselves beating a single level of a game mentioned in the book, then use that timing to estimate how long it would take to earn a high score that's mentioned in the book. (Some arcade games are playable in a browser via the Internet Wayback Machine.)

I don't know when the book was published, but maybe you could ask readers to find news of an arcade high score in the book that was beaten recently (assuming there was at least one.) (Incidentally there was a headline recently about some arcade high scores being invalidated.)

You could also let groups come up with their own projects (extra credit?). Some teams might be interested in building a simple game in a language of their choice, or maybe a Raspberry Pi project or something. But I wouldn't make everyone do that.

Quote

One item I'm considering is having them find in the real/virtual world a vintage ad.


I like that. A class my son was in once had the students come up with fake ads for an old product. (My son made a hypothetical ad for Vectrex)  Kids like to make fun of old-timey things that they don't necessarily appreciate.

You could also have them nominate a "worst game", in one or more categories. They could use anything they wanted to back up their choice, but they would have to defend their choice to the group.

I haven't thought through these ideas very much, I'm just spitballing.

Quote

book group members will take part in an outing to a local coin-op arcade.

If you are lucky and have a budget, maybe you could find one that'll let everyone play freely for 30-60 minutes. We have an arcade/ pinball repair shop near us, and it gets rented out for kids' birthday parties. Lots of classic arcade games, and not having tokens/quarters makes it more fun to try old games. (Also, no tickets to trade in for stupid plastic toys.) Heckj, I almost rented it out for my 40th birthday.
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#3 dojoboy

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 10:27 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 17 April 2018 - 04:03 PM, said:

Seems like it would be good to relate the hunt to the book as much as possible. Ideally the tasks would enhance the appreciation of the book. For example, have the readers time themselves beating a single level of a game mentioned in the book, then use that timing to estimate how long it would take to earn a high score that's mentioned in the book. (Some arcade games are playable in a browser via the Internet Wayback Machine.)

I don't know when the book was published, but maybe you could ask readers to find news of an arcade high score in the book that was beaten recently (assuming there was at least one.) (Incidentally there was a headline recently about some arcade high scores being invalidated.)

Great idea. I like it. I did see that story. There are a few mentions in the book about high scores on some of the early classic coin-op games.

View PostMatt Diamond, on 17 April 2018 - 04:03 PM, said:

You could also let groups come up with their own projects (extra credit?). Some teams might be interested in building a simple game in a language of their choice, or maybe a Raspberry Pi project or something. But I wouldn't make everyone do that.

This is right down the alley for some of our guys, especially ever since Gabe Newell's son was a student here a few years ago. We've got several gaming cliques (in good way).

View PostMatt Diamond, on 17 April 2018 - 04:03 PM, said:

You could also have them nominate a "worst game", in one or more categories. They could use anything they wanted to back up their choice, but they would have to defend their choice to the group.

This will be easy. They hold nothing back about their criticism of some games. Haha.

View PostMatt Diamond, on 17 April 2018 - 04:03 PM, said:

If you are lucky and have a budget, maybe you could find one that'll let everyone play freely for 30-60 minutes. We have an arcade/ pinball repair shop near us, and it gets rented out for kids' birthday parties. Lots of classic arcade games, and not having tokens/quarters makes it more fun to try old games. (Also, no tickets to trade in for stupid plastic toys.) Heckj, I almost rented it out for my 40th birthday.

Great idea. I could probably use some funds from one of the several budgets for "Student Life." I also think the coin-op I'm heavily considering would give us a free hour. It would definitely leave an impression on my book group members who would likely be returning customers.

Thanks, Matt. I appreciate the feedback.

Any thoughts on an interactive medium?

Quote

Additionally, I intend on having a medium for the book group members to post their findings and interact with one another throughout the summer. I'm thinking about using an app, like Viber Messenger, Whatsapp, SnapChat, GroupMe, etc.

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#4 Matt Diamond

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 10:58 AM

View Postdojoboy, on 18 April 2018 - 10:27 AM, said:

Any thoughts on an interactive medium?

I have no specific suggestions. Depending on their age, some parents may not want them using certain platforms unsupervised. That is getting much rarer, but it depends on the community.

A key word there is unsupervised. If there is a place to interact that you the sponsor are going to be on, and and parents are specifically invited to follow along if they like, then it may be no problem.

Probably the best way to avoid issues is to find out what other book groups have done, or are going to do.

(Incidentally my daughter is in a high school theater group, and my son was in marching band. Both groups use public Facebook pages. I personally would like to see the world move off of FB but it is convenient and both kids and adults are comfortable with it. It isn't good for hosting discussions, but it is good for announcements, sharing photos links and videos, and letting third parties monetize your personal data. :) )
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#5 Matt Diamond

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:12 AM

Another project idea: have them do an 8-bit cover of a song, either one from a video game, or any song they like.

I was going to suggest using Mario Paint Composer (originally for SNES, later ported to Mac and Windows) but the Mac version doesn't run any more. Haven't tried WINE yet. Of course there are other tools out there, but using a vintage console tool would have been extra appropriate.
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#6 the Battle Cat

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 01:51 PM

I recommend Discord as the communication app.  It has chat where you can post messages, images, or video and it is a great app to make group voice calls.  I believe it was made for gaming, so your app would be "on topic" for what that's worth.

Also I can give a lecture to your class, I have some experience talking to a class from Fallout 4 where I told a Vault 81 classroom about my struggles as a vault dweller in the outside world.  Almost all of them survived.  I'll make sure to go real gentle-like on them like I did the Fallout kids.

All I ask in return is tuna up front and a get away car.  Oh, and if you have any string dangling on a stick I'll take that too.
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#7 dojoboy

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 06:13 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 18 April 2018 - 10:58 AM, said:

I have no specific suggestions. Depending on their age, some parents may not want them using certain platforms unsupervised. That is getting much rarer, but it depends on the community.

A key word there is unsupervised. If there is a place to interact that you the sponsor are going to be on, and and parents are specifically invited to follow along if they like, then it may be no problem.

Probably the best way to avoid issues is to find out what other book groups have done, or are going to do.

(Incidentally my daughter is in a high school theater group, and my son was in marching band. Both groups use public Facebook pages. I personally would like to see the world move off of FB but it is convenient and both kids and adults are comfortable with it. It isn't good for hosting discussions, but it is good for announcements, sharing photos links and videos, and letting third parties monetize your personal data. :) )

These guys are 15 - 18 y/o's and fairly sophisticated. Your point on supervised v. unsupervised is spot-on. Thanks for highlighting it. The medium would definitely be supervised by me. Gonna give FB a pass on this one. :)

View PostMatt Diamond, on 18 April 2018 - 11:12 AM, said:

Another project idea: have them do an 8-bit cover of a song, either one from a video game, or any song they like.

I was going to suggest using Mario Paint Composer (originally for SNES, later ported to Mac and Windows) but the Mac version doesn't run any more. Haven't tried WINE yet. Of course there are other tools out there, but using a vintage console tool would have been extra appropriate.

Very cool idea. I recall watching a video where a fella did this with, I think, the Star Wars theme song. I'll check into this. Our IT and Multimedia departments would likely have a strong recommendation for me.

View Postthe Battle Cat, on 18 April 2018 - 01:51 PM, said:

I recommend Discord as the communication app.  It has chat where you can post messages, images, or video and it is a great app to make group voice calls.  I believe it was made for gaming, so your app would be "on topic" for what that's worth.

Great idea! Thanks!

Just when I think you could never impress me more... :)

View Postthe Battle Cat, on 18 April 2018 - 01:51 PM, said:

Also I can give a lecture to your class, I have some experience talking to a class from Fallout 4 where I told a Vault 81 classroom about my struggles as a vault dweller in the outside world.  Almost all of them survived.  I'll make sure to go real gentle-like on them like I did the Fallout kids.

All I ask in return is tuna up front and a get away car.  Oh, and if you have any string dangling on a stick I'll take that too.

:no:

And, just when I think you could never impress me more... :-/

Haha.
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#8 the Battle Cat

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:35 AM

All of those serious words I wrote at the start of the post triggered an equal and opposite reaction.  It's physics son.  As inescapable as a gravity well.
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#9 Frost

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:46 AM

Ooh! Ooh! Can I come too and do my Gauss Rifle vs. Heads - An Interactive Lab segment? I promise no accidental deaths this time, only intentional ones.
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#10 dojoboy

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 12:00 PM

I feel like I'm teaching 6th grade again. :bleedingeyes:
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#11 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:07 PM

View Postdojoboy, on 19 April 2018 - 12:00 PM, said:

I feel like I'm teaching 6th grade again. :bleedingeyes:

Iíll be quiet so you donít need to go all the way down to first grade.

If I am quiet, can I skip the summer work and just go to the arcade?
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#12 dojoboy

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 06:13 PM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 19 April 2018 - 08:07 PM, said:

I'll be quiet so you don't need to go all the way down to first grade.

If I am quiet, can I skip the summer work and just go to the arcade?

Oh the summer work, oh man, the summer work is just amazing. You've never seen summer work like this before !!! :w00t:
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#13 Matt Diamond

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:23 PM

Good luck! If you get any good results or anecdotes out of all this let us know!
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#14 dojoboy

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 09:38 PM

Will do!
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#15 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 21 April 2018 - 04:07 AM

View Postdojoboy, on 20 April 2018 - 06:13 PM, said:


Oh the summer work, oh man, the summer work is just amazing. You've never seen summer work like this before !!! :w00t:

Please, please stop saying work. It makes me feel nervous!

Itís really great all the care and effort you put into providing a wonderful, engaging and fun learning experience for your students. Hats off to you for the very important and good work that you do.
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#16 dojoboy

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 06:25 AM

Scavenger Hunt list so far. Feedback/suggestions welcome.

Book Group Scavenger Hunt
  • Find a vintage ad for a classic video game console (1970 - 1999). Upload to group chat. Include details.
  • Find a vintage ad for a classic video game (1970 - 1999). Upload to group chat. Include details.
  • Create an 8-bit version of a video game theme song. Upload to group chat. Include details. Below link should be adequate for this item. Feel free to use whatever method you wish. > BeepBox
  • Create a video game; choose a platform (Mac/PC, etc.) that group members have access to. Share download link with group. Include details.
  • Best Time Completing Level. Video game and level to be decided through group chat discussion. Upload a pic or video clip (1 min. max) to group chat. Include details.
  • Worst video game debate. Nominate a worst game in group chat and participate in the debate.
  • Best video game debate. Nominate a best game in group chat and participate in the debate.
  • Play one of the following classic video games; +1 if it’s on the original gaming system (console, computer, etc.) it was released. Upload video clip of you playing the game (1 min. max). Include details. (43 listed)
  • Play a video game on one of the following classic gaming consoles. Upload video clip of you playing the game (1 min. max). Include details. (12 listed)
  • Cosplay a classic video game character. Upload pic or video clip (1 min. max) to group chat. Include details.
  • Visit a coin-op arcade in your area or from somewhere you visit over the summer. Upload video clip (1 min. max) to group chat. Include details.
  • Multiplayer Night !! Play a multiplayer session, of any video game, with at least two other Book Group members (three minimum). Upload a video clip (1 min. max) to group chat. Include details.

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