Category Archives: Games

The Lil’ Red Marble

After years working in Flash I've finally launched my first HTML5 game. It's programmed in PuzzleScript and has been a blast to make. In keeping with my summer of mazes I went with a simple interactive maze where you guide a red marble through tunnels to find a golden ring. I designed the graphics using Edge Touch on my iPhone and translated it to PuzzleScript using Plain Text, also on my iPhone. I'm thrilled to be able to create an interactive game while sitting at the playground with my kids, working on a computer I can fit into my pocket. Play it now!

Create RPGs Without Any Programming Knowledge

I've been exploring inexpensive ways to make games. A recent contribution to Hoboken Pudding outlines options to make role-playing games. - Jay

Simple programs can help translate your narrative into games

It seems that the market has now become congested with first-person shooters and survival horror games. RPGs, the genre that had dominated console gaming markets in the past, have been in short supply. RPGs are known for their immersive, engaging story lines, and game play that resembles an interactive narrative. In many ways, the RPG is the perfect platform for the modern-day fairytale, as reports by The Guardian show that children as young as five already have access to mobile phones and other computing devices. The RPG hosts incredible potential for modern-day storytellers: they’re innovative, immersive, and in line with the interests of the current generation. More

Play Games for the Holidays

I'm looking forward to playing some games with my daughters this Christmas. I just bought Mastermind a couple weeks ago and we can't stop playing. They're fascinated at how I can deduce which colors they've chosen based on the clues they gave me and they've gradually gotten better at figuring out the codes themselves. Playing games can be a great way to bring people together, challenge each other and learn a little in the process. Here's hoping everyone has a fun holiday! UPDATE: We got games for Christmas! We now have The Settlers of Catan and Ticket To Ride in our game library.

The Ms. Male Character in Video Games

Anita Sarkeesian's latest installment of her informative "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" covers the issue of female characters in games that are made up of clothing adjustments applied to the standard male template. In the video she outlines the history of the game Ms. Pac Man and points out that adding simplistic, stereotypical gender signifiers to an otherwise male design creates female characters that have no independent identity beyond the male that they are based on. I remember being disappointed when Rovio updated Angry Birds with a pink female bird because it seemed to imply that all the other birds were male by default. Sarkeesian's video covers the controversy surrounding that decision as well as Rovio's defense and subsequent addition of bows and lipstick to other birds. While it can seem silly to focus on entertainment characters as a means to facilitate social change, I think some game makers may not even be aware of what they're doing. There should be a broad range of both male and female personalities available in games, rather than a sole, girly Smurfette in a diverse world of enterprising Smurfs.

EJ Keats: Jennie’s Hat

The Keats Foundation recently launched a game I worked on, "Crazy Hats". It's a dress-up toy where you chose a character from one of Ezra Jack Keats books, add a hat, then decorate it with items selected from his books. It's inspired by his gorgeous children's book "Jennie's Hat", the story of a girl whose Sunday hat is decorated with flowers and lace by helpful birds. Decorate your own hat now!

EJ Keats: Mancala Game

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation just launched the new Mancala game I designed. It's a simple, leisurely paced counting game with elements loosely based on the Keats book "Dreams". I had fun creating little bottle caps and bolts for the pieces and, after playing the game over and over again, have learned Mancala strategy. Play it now!

Mancala Games

Mancala is an ancient counting game based on the agricultural practice of sowing seeds. It is traditionally played with stones and wooden cups but here are a few digital versions:

Awele/Oware- Mancala uses a photo-realistic background of a large wooden Mancala board. This iOS game allows one or two players to compete.

Mancala FS5 is an iOS game with different skins for the game board, including the jewelry box seen here.

Mancala Snails: This version includes instructional levels to help understand the mechanics of the game. Unfortunately the stones are rendered as yellow snails and the uniform color across the board makes it difficult to count how many pieces are in each cup.

Novel Games Mancala has a rainbow colored set of stones, making things a bit easier to count. But turn down the volume. The music loop will have you pulling your hair out.

UPDATE: Play the new Mancala game I designed for the Keats Foundation here.

Solving puzzles in “The Heist”

The Heist is a beautifully designed collection of different puzzles for iOS . It contains four puzzle types, most consisting of sliding pieces. The structure of the puzzles will be familiar to many users because they borrow elements from other games, such as ThinkFun's Rush Hour and square sliding tile toys. But the game is rendered so beautifully that it brings it all to a higher visual level, making it satisfying both to the mind and the eye. As you proceed in the game the puzzles get more challenging, but you may jump from different types whenever you'd like. Ultimately you need to solve a full set of puzzles to unlock the "vault", opening up yet another set of exercises for your brain. Available for iPhone and iPad.

EJ Keats: Kitten for a Day Dot to Dot

kitten for day, keats, connect dots
I recently created an interactive dot to dot game for the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. It's based on the book "Kitten for a Day" and there are 9 different connect the dots puzzles. A hidden drawing is revealed step by step and the player is rewarded with a short animation upon completion of each puzzle. This engaging game is perfect for learning numbers, counting and task completion. Play "Kitten for a Day" Dot to Dot now. See all the games I've created for Ezra Jack Keats. More books by Ezra Jack Keats