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Student Project Feature: Gameshelf

by Lauren Alworth

February 14, 2017

Welcome back to our Breakable Toy showcase series! If you’re a board game fanatic like Kat, a Launcher in our 13th Boston Cohort, you've probably experienced a paralysis of choice when it comes to deciding which of your many board games to play. Sorting through stacks of games to find one that fits the mood and the number of people playing is quite the chore. Why not build an app to take care of those pesky decisions? That's exactly what Kat did for her capstone project.

Using APIs from Amazon and scraping information from—a site with a library of over 3,000 board games—Gameshelf gives users the ability to catalog all of their games and offers automatic 'what to play' recommendations based on the number of players the user wants to play with. But that's not all. When you're hanging out with a group of friends, the last thing you want to do is find your computer and log into your game library. That's why Kat decided to integrate Amazon's Echo service with her app, so all users need to do to get a game recommendation is ask, "Alexa, ask Gameshelf to find a [number] player game." Within a few seconds, Amazon queries the user's game database for games that can be played by the number of people in the group and returns a game recommendation that fits the user's criteria. By making the decision to integrate the app with Amazon’s Alexa, Gameshelf allows users to communicate using words rather than text or interface.

On the web side of things, Gameshelf uses React—a JavaScript library that's taught in the Launch curriculum—for a smooth, seamless experience pulls game data from and allows users to add and remove games without requiring a page refresh.

Here’s Kat with the full breakdown:

(If the video isn't working in your browser, here's the direct link)

Other Projects

If you're a music nerd or a data visualization geek and you missed our previous Launcher showcase, do yourself a favor and check it out! Musicabulary, a project built by Filipe, a Launcher in Boston's 12th cohort is nothing short of incredible!

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Breakable Toys

During the final two weeks of every cohort, Launchers flex their creativity and newly-acquired coding skills to create a capstone project, known as a “Breakable Toy.” They utilize everything they’ve learned to build an app of their choosing, with most centering their project around a hobby or passion. 

We love exploring these projects and seeing the amazing feats Launchers can accomplish in just two weeks. With this series showcasing Breakable Toy projects, we hope the world is just as impressed as we are at the end of every cohort.

Have an idea for an app you'd build as a Launcher? Apply here and tell us about it!

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