GeekGirlCon Blog

Melinda May, a Superhero Without Superpowers

When I was growing up, I often observed that there was a distinct lack of good women role models in film and TV. Women characters always seemed to fit into a limited set of stereotypes: the damsel-in-distress, the leading man’s beautiful-but-personality-free love interest, the femme fatale, and the Cruella de Vil-style villain. The first good woman character I remember as a small child was Wonder Woman from the 1970s TV series. I adored her; not only did she beat up the bad guys with ease and always came back from adversity to save the day, but she had some fantastic moves! The twirling transition from Diana Prince to Amazon Goddess, the iconic crossed bracelets stance to defend against gun attacks, and best of all her boomerang tiara! Dressed in my Wonder Woman pyjamas, I would proudly strike a pose with my arms crossed.  Usually indignantly whilst being given a ticking off for leaving my toys on the floor!

Cerys Willoughby
“Rock On!”

Oh (Pokémon) Snap!

Image Description: Pokémon Snap box art featuring an assortment of generation 1 Pokémon emerging from a camera lens. Text: Pokémon Snap: Catching Pokémon is a Snap!

Trainers! Today is the day! After a 22-year wait (yes, you read that right) we are finally getting a new Pokémon Snap. As I have waited not-so-patiently for this long-desired sequel, this week I thought I would fire up my Nintendo 64 and play through the original Pokémon Snap for a trip down memory lane. I was not disappointed.

Originally released in 1999, Pokémon Snap was a delight to fans of the franchise. Up until this point, the Pokémon games had only been available for the Gameboy. Pre-dating the wildly successful Pokémon Stadium, this was the first time that many Pokémon had been rendered in 3D (and it kinda shows. I mean, look at that low-poly Eevee). This could be a big reason why only 63 of the original 151 Pokémon were available in the game.

Image Description: A screenshot from Pokemon Snap featuring Eevee frolicking in some rocks.

After a little (okay, a LOT) of dusting and some fiddling with cables, I was able to hook up my N64 and boot up the game. Oh my, it was like a literal time machine! The instant wave of nostalgia that flowed over me as I heard the familiar theme music was intense. All of a sudden, I was a 12-year-old girl again, giggling with my siblings about the silly pictures we would take and begging my parents to take me to Blockbuster so I could have those images printed out as stickers so I could share them with my friends.

Professor Oak greeted me like an old friend and explained the rules of the game. But I was in for a little bit of shock on that first run though the beach level of the game. I was having a hell of a time aiming my camera and it took me a minute to figure out why—I have been so used to modern gyroscopic controls for aiming that I have totally forgotten how to aim with a joystick! Yep, I was trying to aim the camera by moving my whole transparent purple N64 controller. Needless to say, I didn’t get many good pictures on that round.

Even once I came to my 1999 era senses, this game was still challenging. In every level there is so much going on! In this rail shooter style game, once the level starts you are on a set path and pace, with a limited time to capture any given scene. Trying to get just the right pose at just the right angle as you are continuously moving through the environment is hard, but so satisfying when you get it right.

Though there is a limited number of Pokémon available in this game, one thing that still impresses me about it is the replay value. You will play through the first few levels, then Professor Oak will give you the apples. Apples can lure out Pokémon and make them exhibit different behaviors, and you play through the levels over and over again to find how they react to the treat. Then later you get the pester ball which can bother a Pokémon out of hiding or encourage it to spontaneously evolve, and the Pokéflute which will wake up sleeping ‘mon and make some others dance.

On top of that, there is so much happening in the environment around you that you would be hard pressed to get everything in a single run through a level. Pokémon are appearing on all sides of you, sometimes only offering a good shot for just a moment before disappearing off screen. I found that it was easier to do several runs of a single level and only focus on getting shots of a few Pokémon each time so that I would have a maximum chance of catching Pokémon in a rare pose and get the highest score possible.

Even now, I’m still finding new things in this very old game. For some reason, it never occurred to me to look behind me while on the track. I decided to do so while playing through the cavern level. Nearing the end of the course, you can free a Pikachu from a Zubat with a well timed pester ball, which will result in Pikachu flying past you tied to a bunch of balloons. It took a few tries, but I managed to get it, and I thought this was the extent of the interaction. I proceeded to play through the level, playing the Pokéflute to make the Articuno egg hatch. Now, Articuno is my favorite legendary bird, and I was hoping to get one last chance at a good shot of it, so I turned around behind me to see if it would come up again. I was almost too shocked to take a picture when I saw the Pikachu riding Articuno!

Image Description: A screenshot from Pokemon Snap featuring Pikachu riding on the back of Articuno in a cave.

It is interactions like this that made the original Pokémon Snap so popular. There was always something new, a hidden Pokémon, a new pose. As the Pokémon franchise has grown over the years, fans have continuously asked for a new Pokémon Snap so they could have that same fun again with all new Pokémon. Well trainers, that day is finally here!

As I fidget through the rest of my workday until I can rush home to open my mailbox and start a whole new Pokémon Snap journey, I’m curious. What will this new game be? Will all 932 Pokémon be available? What new features can we look forward to? I suppose I will just have to find out. 

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

An Earth Day for 2021

Yesterday marked the 51st Earth Day! I’m sure that there are many sites that will list tips to reduce your carbon footprint and be a better steward of the Earth. This is not that kind of post.

The Earth Day Flag [Image Description: a photo transfer of a NASA image of the Earth on a dark blue background.] Source: Wikipedia

Did you know that the first Earth Day was a massive protest? What started as a nationwide environmental teach-in became a 20 million person protest, demanding the US government do more for the environment. The Earth Day protest proved successful; over the next few years, the US enacted a slew of environmental agencies and standards. Here’s a sample of what happened within the next three years after the first Earth Day:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (1970)
  • Clean Air Act (1970)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970)
  • Banning of DDT (1972)
  • Clean Water Act (1972)
  • Endangered Species Act (1973)
  • Leaded Gasoline Phase-Out (1973)

While we have many environmental protections in place, we have a lot of work to do to ensure everyone has access to clean water, pollution-free air, and opportunities to recreate in beautiful parks. Most often, it is underserved and underrepresented communities that suffer environmental catastrophes. We don’t have to look far back in history for examples: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Flint water crisis from 2014-2019, and the ongoing battles against the Dakota Access Pipeline clearly show how environmental issues intersect with racism and poverty. 

While it’s too early to truly celebrate any recent victories in social and environmental justice, I find this spring more hopeful than the last. Where is the hope I speak of? Hope is found in every piece of trash we compost, in every company we hold accountable, and every environmental act our governments pass. Hope is found in standing in solidarity with protestors, donating to bail funds, and fighting white supremacy. Hope is found whenever we view environmentalism with an intersectional lens; it’s all connected, as they say, in a loop that never ends.

[Image Description: A woman with a day pack stands at the base of a redwood tree and is looking up. The tree is massive, and makes the woman look very small.] Source: personal photograph.

Learn more about the history of Earth Day:
EPA History: Earth Day (EPA)
Earth Day at 50: A look at the past, present, and future (NOAA)

Learn more about threats to our Earth:
Climate Change (NASA)
What is Ocean Acidification (NOAA)
Pacific Ocean takes perilous turn (Seattle Times)
Why biodiversity matters (Nature)

Environmentalism +
Environmental & Climate Justice (NAACP)
Feminism and environmentalism go hand in hand (Greenpeace)
Why Queer Liberation Is an Environmental Justice Issue (Earth Justice)
How to Unite the Fight for Racial Equity and Environmental Action (NRDC)

Kalyna Durbak
“Rock On!”

#GeekGirlTalk: Race and Sexuality in Bridgerton

Who We Are Vaguely and in Terms Only of the Media We Seek Out Most Often:

Teal (plain)
Literally any teen TV show, YA, women’s and feminist media, everything Star Trek
Caitlin (italics)
Star Wars, Marvel & the MCU, documentaries, and trope-defying comedy.

Jill (bold)
Superheroes, space, sci-fi, out-of-the-box sitcoms, cartoons, and PUNS.

Welcome to #GeekGirlTalk, a (biased, subjective, opinionated) conversation about the pop culture we’re currently loving, hating, and obsessing over. To launch this series for the year, I’ll be chatting with Caitlin, one of our content strategists here on the GGC blog, and Jill, our former workshop coordinator, about the Netflix series Bridgerton

Spoiler disclaimer: We definitely talk about a couple of big plot moments, but not in a ton of detail. If you really don’t like spoilers and you intend to watch the show, you might wait before reading.

Since I’m starting us out, I have a confession. I was really, really frustrated by almost everything about the show. Yes, it had our beloved cringey/dreamy regency social customs. It had the effervescent Nicola Coughlan. It had, if we’re being honest, the kind pure, unadulterated vibes that are getting us through this pandemic. But, as a lifelong fan of romance and period fiction and Shonda Rhimes (the show’s executive producer), my expectations were high….and entirely unmet. 

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon Condemns Hate Crimes and White Supremacy: A Message from the Board

In our eleven years, GeekGirlCon has made it our mission to celebrate and honor the legacies of underrepresented groups in science, technology, comics, arts, literature, gameplay, and game development. To keep our community mission alive, we must take a stand against white supremacy and show support for those who are currently living in fear for their lives and safety. 

Since March of 2020, reported hate crimes against Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi Americans (APIDA) have increased over 150%. The APIDA community has been impacted disproportionally from COVID, with over 223,000 APIDA-owned businesses forced to close their doors. Eight lives were lost on March 16, 2021 as a result of one of many hate crimes targeting those in the APIDA community. GeekGirlCon staff are mourning. We hurt for not only the lives of the eight that were lost on March 16, but also for the thousands of lives that are impacted by white supremacy every day. We understand that while the increase of reported hate crimes against the APIDA community is alarming, these crimes are often not reported, spoken about, or acknowledged. 

Our values of community, empowerment, diversity, and inclusion cannot be honored if we stand on the sidelines and ignore the impact of hate crimes in our community. We must acknowledge our peers in the geek community who are victims of hate crimes. We must give them the microphone to hear their experiences, and we must educate ourselves to understand why those who are APIDA are afraid and hurting right now. We must fight for those who are too tired to keep fighting. More importantly, we must create a space for those who need the shelter to recoup. As long as we stand silent, we give the megaphone to those who spew hate and normalize racism.

GeekGirlCon stands with the APIDA community and will ALWAYS condemn white supremacy.  Though we are apart, we still stand with all of those who need our support at this time. We understand that many of our volunteers, supporters, and community members use GeekGirlCon as an escape from the hate, attacks, and harassment. We will continue to create a community that serves as a safe haven for all who need it and to work towards our mission to ensure that GeekGirlCon celebrates underrepresented groups in all things Geek.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

Happy Holidays from the GGC Family

This year proved to be a challenge in unexpected ways, but I’m so proud that we’ve made it this far—that we found solace as a community, that we persevered and kept going. We did it together, and we will continue to push forward together.

Indigo Boock
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon Gift Giving Guide: 2020 Edition

Description: Friends scene where Ross dresses up as the Holiday Armadillo as Monica and Ben look skeptically at each other.

Happy holidays you fabulous geeks! It is a bit of an understatement to say that this year has been a little rough, so we thought we would try to ease a little of the holiday stress by giving you a few gift giving (or asking) ideas selected from our favorite exhibitors from GeekGirlCONLINE. 

This super cute washable Shiba Inu patterned face mask from WinkWare– $17

Description: a teal cotton facemask featuring multiple colors of Shiba Inu faces.

Face masks are the new socks, y’all! They are an incredibly practical gift because everyone needs at least one right now and it shows how much you care about the recipients health and wellbeing. Plus, washable masks have the added benefit of being eco friendly, so this one is really a win-win. This particular face mask from WinkWare’s Etsy shop is made of 100 percent cotton and is machine washable. Check out the many other offerings WinkWear has here, including bags, hats, enamel pins, and more!

A set of fun vinyl cat stickers from TheVintagePostbox- $8

Description: Three stickers of cats. From left to right: a white and grey striped cat holding four kittens of varying colors, an orange striped cat playing a Switch, and a tuxedo cat wearing an apron and making a latte.

This sticker set would make the purr-fect stocking stuffer for the cat lover in your life! What better way to show your love of cats than by slapping one (or all) of these on your favorite water bottle or on your laptop? I don’t know about you, but I definitely identify with Switch Cat up there (Animal Crossing, anyone?). Seriously though, TheVintagePostbox also has a ton of great original art on their Etsy page you can check out here.

A print of Baby Yoda to brighten up your home from The SomethingPrettie Gallery– $20

Description: a stylized art print of The Child in a desert landscape of yellows, oranges, and pinks.

The Child (aka Baby Yoda) has been a bright light of adorable joy for all of us this year. What better way to keep that cute rage alive than to hang this 8×8 inch print in your very own home? Maybe in your bathroom as an accent piece, or even right in your living room. If Baby Yoda isn’t your thing, check out some of the other fantastic prints from The SomethingPrettie Gallery. You are certain to find something to suit your (or a friend’s) home.

A chic zipper bag to hold all your little treasures (featuring Link and a Korok) from Rin’s Art Shop– $15

Description: A blue floral print bag with a gold zipper featuring Link and a Korok on the right hand side.

Yahaha! You found this crazy useful and cute zipper bag! Measuring at about 8.5×6 inches, this bag is perfect to store your collection of enamel pins, change, makeup, or korok seeds. While you’re there, be sure to check out the impressive selection of charms Rin’s Art Shop creates to go along with it!

This cool crow branch wooden charm necklace from theGorgonist– $20

Description: A necklace featuring a crow sitting on a branch giving some epic side-eye.

This side-eyed, shade throwing crow necklace is everything! It is snarky, dark, and super cool. If you are looking for some truly unique pieces of jewelry to give or get, look no further than theGorgonist on Etsy!

So there you have it! The GGC 2020 gift giving guide! We hope that this list offers some inspiration in your hunt for the perfect gift. We always encourage you to support the causes that are near and dear to your heart this time of year, whether that be shopping small business, locally, female and/or black owned business, or with businesses that give back to their communities (or all the above).

And whatever you may celebrate this season, we wish you all the happiest (and safest) of holidays!

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

Showing Up for Indigenous Communities with Our Money, Time, and Attention

Our community comes together on Indigenous land–the occupied, unceded territory of Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, Lummi, Skagit, and Swinomish. It’s our responsibility to reckon with this reality every day, throughout our personal lives, professional lives, and everything in between. 

However, this acknowledgement is not enough. A continuing priority for GeekGirlCon is to build real, lasting, power-sharing relationships with Indigenous communities. We commit to holding ourselves accountable to this work and doing better. 

Today, Thanksgiving in the United States, is a symbolically relevant day to center conversations about how white and non-Indigenous people perpetuate the ongoing colonization of Indigenous communities. That being said, we must make these conversations–and action–a priority every day. 

Below are some resources for education, taking action, and engaging with Indigenous creators–this is far from a comprehensive list, but rather a place to build from:

Unlearning colonial Thanksgiving myths:

Mashpee Wampanoag

The people harmfully mythologized in our stories about Thanksgiving are currently fighting to defend the status of their Reservation and along with it resources for critical programs. This page describes direct action you can take.

All My Relations podcast: ThanksTaking or ThanksGiving?

The real history of Thanksgiving as told by Wampanoag scholars Paula Peters and Linda Coombs.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

How Kickstarter and Crowdfunding Are Changing Gaming

Post by guest contributor Brooke Chaplan.

Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms have widespread applications across many industries, but few markets have been impacted quite as much as gaming. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, but greater access to specialized products for narrow fan bases is among the main driving factors. There are several things about crowdfunding that should prompt independent developers and emerging studios to pause and reflect on how they can leverage it in their efforts.

GeekGirlCon
“Rock On!”

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