(Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 13--Korri Graves, a 14-year-old home-schooler from Bartlett, was enjoying her spring break when her mom sprang some news on her.
"She said, 'I signed you up for this class,'" Graves said.
Normally, those are the last words a teenager wants to hear, especially during spring break. But this wasn't just any class. It was a video game creation workshop held at the Bartlett Public Library Wednesday afternoon.
For a gamer like Graves, that was good news.
Graves was one of 12 teenagers to attend the workshop taught by David Hirschfeld of Bits, Bytes and Bots Computer Adventures. The class was part of Teen Tech Week, an annual event that focuses on technology.
Hirschfeldalso held a session at the Germantown Public Library on Tuesday.
"To have it during Teen Tech week this week, we thought it would be great since it's spring break for most of the schools," said librarian Harriet Burton.
"Sometimes it's hard to fill up teen programs. At first, I was worried because it was spring break. We kept having people say, 'I'd love to come but we're going out of town.' But it turned out OK."
Sixteen of the 17 slots were filled before the workshop.
Hirschfeld taught the teens how to build a PC game entitled "Get the Goodies." The teens designed their own character, picked out goodies for the character to try to catch, and designed their own villains and game backgrounds using software called Game Maker.
Hirschfeld told the teens about a lite version of Game Maker that they could tinker with at home for free.
"It's good to keep them occupied and it's doing something fun that they enjoy, which is making their own video game," Hirschfeld said.
"They're focused on it. They want to learn more. They can take the knowledge that they have here and use it to do programming at home, which is much better than watching TV, or just playing games. I'm teaching them the basics so they have some knowledge of it.
"Now in an hour and a half, of course, they can't learn everything. Hopefully, they'll be interested and will continue with it."
Jaylen Conrod, 12, who attends Mt. Pisgah Middle School, said he plans to do just that.
"I learned how to create a game and now I can probably create my own," said Conrod, an avid Xbox player whose favorite games include Call of Duty and Mindcraft.
Graves, who prefers playing PC games, said she planned to try out her skills as soon as she got home.
"I'll probably try to make something much more complicated," she said.
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