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Creative Computing Example Projects - Stories

Sample Scratch projects demonstrated during the stories session of the Creative Computing workshop at MIT Media Lab (July 16~18, 2009)

Scratch makes it possible for a wide variety of people to create their own interactive stories. These are projects that I shared during the stories session of the Creative Computing workshop at MIT Media Lab (July 16-18, 2009) as part of Google's CS4HS initiative. From single frames to navigable worlds, this is a collection of my favorite stories told with Scratch.


Speedra and Kristen by kris0707

I'm constantly surprised by the Scratch website. After months of seeing interactive projects, I was captivated by a large collection of Scratch projects that were single, static frames. This person used the website's project notes area to describe what was happening to the characters in the narrative. Here, we find that Speedra (beloved pet of Kristen) has been injured, after having defended her owner.


Thursdays on a train by MahoAshley

This was created by a community member whose work I've been following for a while. She regularly creates lush, elaborate, anime-inspired narratives. Her multi-scene projects are technically and aesthetically impressive, but I found this single-scene project really engaging. It made me ask all sorts of questions about the character and the context, which I consider an important attribute of great Scratch projects.


Worst day ever by Maki-Tak

I love this project for the way it integrates different cultural and social references. Most obviously, this is a music video for a SpongeBob SquarePants track, which connects to pop culture. But it also integrates personal references (the main character is a representation of the creator) and community references (the "Hamsters are in!" poster refers to a craze that swept the Scratch community), creating a uniquely personal space. I particularly love the end, where the creator announces the establishment of a custom animation business.


Day dream by cremeglace

The previous projects relied predominantly on Scratch's paint editor for producing images. In this project, the creator imported media into their project - a practice that Scratch was designed for. The creator used the project notes to describe how the project was developed: 

"For those of you who are curious, I actually drew in a sketchbook, took digital pictures, and then ran them through photoshop to get the right contrast to extract pure black/white figures. Really clumsy, but the project was due the next day and I didn't have a scanner on hand. The whole process took 6 hours, most of it spent drawing and processing pictures and extracting music clips, the rest spent adjusting wait times. The actually coding was simple because the whole thing is pretty linear and non-interactive." 

While the vast majority of participants in the Scratch online community are kids, Scratch is being used in a variety of contexts. For example, this project was created by a student at Harvard, as part of an introductory computer science course.


Mimi by chkroc

With community-generated content, there are no promises. I might find an amazing project one day, and not see another project by the same creator for months. So, I'm always excited when I see a series of stories. Whether the projects are inspired by news, talkshow, tv, or other episodic formats, there are a variety of serial productions to be found on the Scratch website. I find this series, about a little cat named Mimi who is tormented by a pair of mischievous mice, particularly endearing.


Bee game by vally

The Scratch website was launched publicly in May 2007, which was a few months before I joined the group. One of my favorite stories about the launch is how surprised members of the Scratch Team were when this project appeared on the site a week or two after the site went live. Unlike the previous projects, this multi-scene, interactive project (created by a young girl in Germany with some help from her brother, sister, and father) is a hybrid story and game. The project integrates voice, sound effects, multiple languages, photos, and drawings -- and leads you through an adventure to save a captured grasshopper from an evil spider!


How to draw by MahoAshley

While it's possible to work with Scratch independently from the website, the website is an amazing library of projects that demonstrates what people can do with Scratch. There's a wide range of expertise and capability with Scratch on the site, which can be intimidating to newcomers. The community is supportive of those who are new and we see lots of tutorial-style projects, like this one. Here, someone created a step-by-step guide for how to draw the main character from a popular Scratch story.


Night at Dreary Castle by GrayBearProductions

Scratch online community members connect with and support each other in a variety ways, not just through the generation of tutorials. Some members of the community have organized themselves in companies or production studios. By appointing managers, designers, and developers, the members of the production groups are able to create bigger, more elaborate projects. Night at Dreary Castle was created by Gray Bear Productions (founded by three young people and expanded to more than twenty members) in honor of Halloween. Inspired by an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure format, this project underwent 33 iterations before being released for the holiday.