I didn’t know I could be so excited for New Pokémon Snap to come out until Becca posted about replaying the original Pokémon Snap from 22 years ago. Her post immediately transported me to my childhood TV room, trying to capture all 63 featured Pokémon on film. Would the New Pokémon Snap scratch the nostalgia itch and be worth the full price? Would I still get excited about taking pictures of Pokémon I didn’t know? I found out soon after I started playing—the answer is YES!
Here are three little ways New Pokémon Snap captured my heart, and one way it did not:
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 downmemory 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.
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!
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.
We’ve made it to our penultimate weekend of GeekGirlCONLINE, but we’re not slowing down yet. Our fourth weekend of GeekGirlCONLINE is all about GAMING, so tune in on the GeekGirlCONLINE Twitch channel for a ton of amazing panels, workshops, and livestreams sponsored by our awesome gamemaker friends at Valve!
This piece was written by Emily Mozzone, one of GeekGirlCon’s Marketing Designers. If you’d like to pitch a guest post, contact us at email@example.com!
There’s no doubt that Animal Crossing has come far as a Nintendo IP. For those of us who have played since the beginning, Animal Crossing has metamorphosed from an odd, obscure game that none of your friends played into the worldwide phenomenon it is today. The data backs this up: Animal Crossing for the GameCube sold a little over 2 million copies worldwide, while Animal Crossing: New Horizons “sold some 1.88 million copies in its first 3 days on sale in Japan” only, and that’s not even including digital copies.
A lot has changed in the Animal Crossing universe since its launch 19 years ago, and overall I think these changes are for the better. The game is generally more accessible and friendly to players: I’m thankful that I live in a world where I can just fly to my friends’ islands over the internet rather than try to find another kid who owns Animal Crossing on the GameCube and then trust them enough to physically swap our memory cards. I’m glad that kids don’t have to get constantly berated and teased by their villagers (let’s be real, GameCube NPCs were savages).
But as the series has progressed and strived to be even more fun and enjoyable, I think a little bit of the magic and freedom has been lost. f
Historically, Animal Crossing has been about taking your time. We live in a world that constantly asks you to rush, be productive, make money. In video games, we fight, we level up, and we try to win. Animal Crossing throws all this out the window. There is no way to win: Animal Crossing simply asks you to value “family, friendship, and community.”
So what’s changed in the Animal Crossing world? Why do I feel like the game has strayed from these original values?
by GeekGirlCon Tumblr Adminstrator Member Emily Hendrickson
I’m more neutral about Animal Crossing’s Bunny Day event than a lot of other people. And from a game perspective, I understand why Nintendo made the eggs so ubiquitous. This is a children’s game, and if you were a kid who actually wanted to find recipes for and make all the egg items, you’d want the materials readily available. Plus, learning some of the recipes is contingent on how many eggs you’ve found; so, it makes sense to make quickly finding a lot of eggs easier.
All that said, the event has some major issues, which have been meme’d nonstop pretty much since the event began. And since the Bunny Day event is overlapping with the Cherry Blossom event, I feel it’s apt to compare the two and to answer why one (Cherry Blossom) is so much more popular than the other (Bunny Day).
For those of you who love to play all kinds of games when attending a Con, I have some great news for you! This year the game floor at GeekGirlCon will be expanding! We will be featuring both video games and tabletop games on the third floor of the convention center.
Distinguished blog readers, children of all ages — ENGAGE is proud to present The Gauntlet 2019! Gather round Mox Boarding House Bellevue on May 19th to marvel as Team GeekGirlCon dazzles the audience with their extraordinary gaming skills!
The Gauntlet is an invitation-only 8+ hour tournament, consisting of tabletop games from a variety of genres, plus trivia. This year, 16 teams will compete for the shiny Gauntlet trophy.
Our team is excited to play games and raise funds to benefit El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races), which serves as a voice for the Latinx and immigrant communities in Seattle and King County. Since 1972, El Centro de la Raza has built unity across racial and economic sectors, empowered the most vulnerable and marginalized populations and strives to provide justice to all peoples. From education and youth-focused programs to community building and development, they offer services to aid the Seattle community and beyond throughout all stages of life.
If you can’t make it to the event itself, consider making a donation to our team! Your donations will benefit El Centro de la Raza in their efforts to bring after school programming for low-income middle school children. Giving through our donation page will also unlock power-ups to aid our team in the Gauntlet. We’d love to win that shiny Gauntlet trophy!
Image description: A series of board games stacked on a table. Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr
Over the weekend of GeekGirlCon, there are of course a whole slew of activities for you to enjoy. From the various geek-themed panels, to the family-friendly DIY Science Zone, from Artist Alley to the bustle of the Exhibitor Hall, there’s always something to see and do.
Image description: an attendee with a Pikachu hat plays King of Tokyo at GeekGirlCon. Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr
Speaking of seeing and doing, the gaming spaces at GeekGirlCon let you do just that. Whether it’s getting yourself immersed in a board game or creating your own at our Game Design Challenge, our gaming floor is going to be packed with games that you can borrow and play. As a bonus, we’ll be bringing back our Let’s Play stage for a second year, and with that comes a whole series of new and fun games to watch and talk about.
One of the things that GeekGirlCon is known for is our introduction to role playing games, and this year is no different. Our game master laureate Andy Munich returns lead some RPG sessions for new and old dungeoneers alike, and join the D20 Dames on Saturday night on our Let’s Play stage as they behead (or befriend) monsters and punch creeps in order to collect loot!
Image description: Two children and an adult sit at a table to playtest a game. Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr
If card games are more your speed, you’re also in luck! Dungeon Mayhem is an action-packed, easy-to-learn, family-friendly, and (importantly) not-yet-released new D&D card game, and it’s available to try at GeekGirlCon! Check it out before it hits the shelves in your friendly neighborhood game stores! You can also meet the designers who will be be demoing the game over the weekend.
Image description: a family plays a video game together. Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr
On the video game front, In particular, we’re especially proud to be presenting some of our very own GeekGirlCon staffers and their friends as they play Overwatch and talk about their regular gaming sessions! We’ll also have accessibliity advocate Cherry Rae on stage during our Witching Hour event to play the spooky game Oxenfree!
Of course, there are many, many other things happening on the gaming floor and around the Let’s Play stage for you to discover! For more information, check out our gaming basics guide. See you at the con!
Image description: Jo sitting, looking up to where a tan ferret is perched on her head, licking its lips. Source: Jo Lau
In this edition of Hey, Staffer, I’m taking the reigns from Jo (JC) and interviewing her for a change. I have been honored to work for the past year under Jo as a GeekGirlCon Copywriter to her Manager of Editorial Services. Jo has recently transitioned into a new role here at GGC–read on to learn about her new position, her “drunk toddler-puppy hybrid” pets, and plenty more!
Who are you and what do you do at GeekGirlCon?
Hi! I’m Jo, or JC Lau. I’m GeekGirlCon’s Campaign Project Manager! My job is to make sure that our various campaigns are coordinated and that all the different teams that touch them are aligned on how we want to show the world our best side. It involves taking marketing requests from other departments, parsing out the requisite tasks for each marketing team, and then making sure it all gets done. It’s a lot of herding cats, but the cats are lovely and want to make things work out.
It’s E3 week! The Electronic Entertainment Expo–or E3 for short–is one of the biggest events on the gaming calendar, with developers and publishers showing their latest and greatest upcoming releases. As a huge gaming nerd, I’ve been following it pretty closely, so I’m going to share my thoughts with you.
Obviously there’s a lot of gaming content, and I’m not going have time to go into all of the games that were announced. That said, there have been a couple of common threads:
As games move more to a “games as a service” (rather than single release games), a lot of game titles are trying to reflect that they’ll be around for all posterity, leading to such title names as Halo Unlimited, Doom Eternal, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, and Super Meat Boy Forever. Because if anything survives the impending apocalypse, it’ll be video games.
So many games are coming to Nintendo Switch! Super Smash Bros., Fortnite Battle Royale, Super Mario Party, Overcooked 2, and Fallout Shelter were announced on that platform, for example, and some of those are playable right now. If there’s one thing to take away from E3 so far, it’s to go buy a Switch. I’m surprised at how many non-Nintendo games got announced as being ported over, but the future of gaming is there for when you want to play on the go.
While a lot of the big titles involved shooting things (aliens, zombies, other combatants) in the face, I thought that the offerings from smaller, indie studios offered a bigger range of types of gameplay, such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps, We Happy Few, and Unravel Two. I have to say that I am super excited about Unravel Two; it’s so wholesome that it basically brought me to tears when I watched it at the EA conference.
More generally, there has been recent moves to improve diversity and representation in games and the games industry, and I was also looking out for ways that that was demonstrated at E3. While I felt like there was increased representation in the games that were shown, the overwhelming majority of presenters at the conferences were still white men.
So, I rewatched all the press conferences and tracked some data. Here’s a breakdown of the major press conferences, by demographic:
Note: for the purposes of gathering this data, I included Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elijah Wood in the Ubisoft presentation, and did not include the two translators for the Nintendo treehouse presentation (both were men).
Of the 77 presenters, there were a total of zero women of color. Everyone also presented as able-bodied.
What this tells me is that–where the presenters are ostensibly representative of a particular game’s leadership–the leaders of the largest game publishers, gaming consoles, and game titles are still overwhelming white and male. Of course, for each title there are only a very limited number of presenters that have to represent the studio, but those are commonly the studio or project leaders. I also don’t believe that any presenter or company was doing this intentionally or maliciously. But (to quote a recent speaker at a disability and gaming bootcamp), if you do not intentionally, deliberately, proactively include, you will unintentionally exclude. I think that’s what happened here. Despite its recent moves for diversity and inclusion, the people who determine the future and direction in which the industry moves are still homogenous.
Having said that, the games themselves seemed to show a openness to including players from underrepresented groups, with much clearer steps towards diversity and inclusion. I’m still trying to stick to my resolution to play games that do not have a grizzled white male protagonist (which makes me relieved that I can pick the gender of my character for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed game), and the offerings announced gave me some pretty decent options for the rest of 2018 and beyond.
For female representation, I felt that there were several games that stepped up to the (very low) bar of having a female protagonist. For example, Gears of War 5’s main character is female, and the Tomb Raider franchise continues having a female playable character. Battlefield V recently stirred up a small controversy for merely putting a woman on the cover of a game about World War II. (Spoiler alert: therewerenumerouswomenwhoparticipatedinthewar.) Wolfenstein Youngblood offered us not one, but two, female protagonists.
I was excited enough when it was announced that in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey that you could finally pick the gender of your assassin and romance anyone in the game, but then The Last of Us 2 one-upped that for even greater LGBT representation:
Ubisoft: you can be a lesbian if you want, top that 😉
Sony: you ARE a lesbian, no questions asked, look at the girls kiss
That said, all of the female characters mentioned here (except for Kassandra in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey) are white women. Apart from games with character creation (such as Fallout 76, Beyond Good and Evil 2, and Anthem), representation for women of color was maddeningly scarce. I mean, there were more attempts at putting a female skin on previously male characters, such as Super Smash Bros offering a female version of pikachu and Cuphead having a playable female drinking vessel(?), than there were actual playable characters that were actually women of color.
So, I can appreciate that the games industry is trying to be more inclusive and there are going to be baby steps–a LOT of them. But even though this handful of games I’ve mentioned here are trying to broaden representation, the real test of what counts as progress for me will be how these games evolve their communities to make them more accommodating and inclusive. Making people of color and women feel represented will likely get new players into fanbases, but the gaming communities and how they are included will be what makes them stay. We’ll have to see how that plays out, but I want to hopeful that we’re moving in the right direction. I want us to live in a world where people can play what they love without judgement. We deserve as much.