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The Art of Coding: How To Choose Your Own Adventure

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Comic Con without video games would be like watching a movie but skipping the whole second act. A workshop at this year’s Comic Con, titled “How to Choose Your Own Adventure,” will create an immersive experience for those who attend.

“The workshop (actually not a workshop per se) will involve participants being able to experience a very simple text-based game that will allow for choices as the player follows the narrative, and the outcomes will be different based on those choices,” says Eric Molinksy, who will be one of the facilitators of the workshop. “The idea will be not so much to wow with the content of the game as to give a fun example of what coding can be used for.”

While gamers are adventuring through the game, making their own unique choices and reacting to their own unique outcomes, there will be a code tutoring center nex tdoor. “The idea is to direct ones who are interested to that as a means of finding out more,” says Molinksy.

David Haywood and Bret Fearrien created the game that will be played at the workshop. Beyond enjoying a homemade video game, the idea is to show users how one can code and create a game.

“The adventure game is set to resemble ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ novels, where the reader decides which path for the narrative to take,” says Fearrien. “Obviously, these little adventures are shorter. But for me, they are a callback to those kind of novels from my childhood.”

Though both consider themselves to be coding beginners, Haywood says the game “is a testament to how easy it is to learn how to code with Python.”

The game will promote their upcoming coding area in the Young Adult section in the Medford Library. “To accomplish this, we collaborated via Google Docs to write the narratives for the games, then we set aside a few days to code the games in Python,” adds Haywood.

Raspberry Pi computers will be used for the workshop. For those who aren’t familiar with the type of computer, Molinsky describes, “Raspberry Pi’s are very minimalist Linux-based computers that will almost fit inside an Altoid tin. They were designed for helping kids all over the world, especially in underdeveloped areas, learn about coding.” He says these inexpensive computers range from $35 to $70 depending on if a user is simply looking for a motherboard or a kit.

“One of our reasons for using this is that it’s a very small investment to try out the idea of a coding station, and since coding is it’s focus, it’s equipped with the programs and info we need right out of the box,” he adds. This workshop, and the type of computer, goes beyond just having fun for a few hours playing a game. The idea is to foster creation and to challenge one’s own curiosity. “If curiosity is piqued as far as what’s behind the game, how you make it do what it does, that can certainly be a road to more exploration and learning skills that could be useful in a variety of ways in our tech future.

Molinksy compares coding to learning how to drive: “When I learned to drive a manual I found out what was going on when I let the clutch in and out and changed gears, which helped me to visualize the process taking place and drive better because of having a certain amount of mechanical sympathy. The same thing can apply with a technical process.”

He hopes this workshop encourages even those who enjoy video game playing to learn more about the coding and creation process behind what is being played. Perhaps understanding how the computer works will alleviate frustration countless people have come across when something isn’t working right.


How to Choose Your Own Adventure

11 am – 4 pm, Saturday, April 28

12 pm – 4 pm, Sunday, April 29

Teen Library, Medford Library, 205 S. Central Avenue, Medford


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