Design a Game! ­

First Second. (Maker ­Comics). Nov. 2022. 128p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781250750518.
Gr 4-8–Gaming summer camp is held in the distant future in a galaxy far, far away. Young campers arrive at Space Station Ludum Omega to take a crash course in game design. Camp Professor Zephyr introduces the latest installment of the “Maker Comics’’ series by stating that “anyone can make a game with even the simplest of materials.” A diverse cast of humans, aliens, and robots learn about the basics of game development with no more than paper, pencils, playing cards, dice, and scissors. Siblings Shontoya, Shondra, and Shen are competitive gamers in class and with each other. Despite ongoing family drama, Professor Zephyr encourages them to focus on game theory and activities. Lessons are split into topics (e.g., mechanics and probability) and each day the students play a game that illustrates the concepts learned. By the end of camp, the gamemakers have built and tested their first game prototype. This title introduces complex gaming concept fundamentals through instructional scaffolding. The graphic novel format allows readers to engage in challenging learning experiences alongside the characters. Each lesson includes step-by-step instructions with clear illustrations. The digital artwork features panels of various sizes and splash pages that highlight plot conflict. Camp harmony and strife are symbolized by cool and warm color schematics. A glossary, printable game board, and a playtest feedback form is included in the back matter.
VERDICT This is seriously high-quality instruction. A perfect pick to help kids “get their game on.”

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