7 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Northwest Film Forum in Seattle’s Capitol HIll neighborhood
Ticket prices: Free for members of Three Dollar Bill Cinema, $5 for not-yet-members ($6.16 with fees)
Get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day with this collection of short films from past screenings at TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival and Translations Film Festival! The event page lists 12 short films. Read them here.
2016 was a pretty interesting year for games: with the rise of VR and announcements about new generation consoles, there’s a lot more going on for gaming than in previous years. I didn’t get to play everything that I wanted to (of course), and although I played a lot of AAA games as well, I’m trying to spend more time looking at indie offerings. Here (in no particular order) is a quick list of some of the indie games that I played last year and would recommend:
Inside is a side-scrolling puzzle/platform game from indie studio Playdead, where you control a boy who, from the first scene, is being chased by soldiers, dogs and scientists. Although the narrative doesn’t do much to explain what’s happening, you do get to wear mind control helmets to move zombies around to solve puzzles, and there’s an underlying commentary about autonomy and ownership. The art is minimal, with the setting being mostly black and gray, except for your character and interactable objects. Likewise, there’s very little soundtrack, with only audio cues, and the sound of your character’s footsteps, which really adds to how eerie the setting is.
This one came out in 2014 but I only got around to playing it in 2016. There are lots of games about war, but This War of Mine is unique in that you play as non-combatant residents of a war-torn city–all the fighting you do is for your day-to-day survival. I think this one hit home particularly hard because I started playing as the Siege of Aleppo was intensifying at the end of the year, and there are some incredibly heartbreaking choices you have to make. It’s not a game I would say I enjoyed per se, but I think it is definitely one that is worth playing for the lessons in empathy, understanding and acceptance it can teach. (And if that’s not emotionally wrenching enough for you, there’s now an expansion called This War of Mine: The Little Ones where you experience the besieged city through the eyes of a child.)
Overcooked is a great little cooking game where couch cooperation is key to success–it’s not enough to just be good at the game as an individual; where it gets fun (and tricky and frustrating) is playing with a group of up to three other players, where you have to navigate a kitchen without bumping into each other to source, prepare, cook and serve food. With some clever mechanics that focus on teamwork and cooperation, hilarity (and a little bit of rage) ensues.
I absolutely love Unravel. It’s probably the most visually stunning game on this list, and it’s a little game with a lot of heart. You play as Yarny, an anthromorphic ball of yarn who—as the name suggests—unravels as he traverses across levels, using his yarn to solve puzzles and move objects around. The mechanics in the game are pretty straightforward, but what ties Unravel together (if you forgive the pun) is how lovely it is. The story is poignant and bittersweet, but it is incredibly clear that the developers really put their love into making it the game that they wanted. Also, you’d never imagine that a ball of red yarn could have so much emotion and personality.
I’m a huge fan of adventure games, but the majority of them that I’ve played are of the point-and-click variety. Firewatch is almost like a grownup version of that, with a mystery that drives the story and a first-person perspective that works surprisingly well for the narrative and the puzzles. You play as Henry, a volunteer lookout for Shoshone National Park, and your only means of connection to the outside world is via a walkie-talkie. As you patrol your part of the park, you discover a whole host of different storylines that interweave. I really enjoyed the way Firewatch set up dialog trees so that your responses in your conversations would drive how your experience in the game evolved.
Salt and Sanctuary
If you like the grindiness of games like Dark Souls, but set in a 2D platformer, where you can play cooperatively with your friends (and not just people who invade your game), Salt and Sanctuary might be worth checking out. It’s a hard game, but there are lots of player customizations, and playing with your friends helps soften the blow of the many, many, times that you’ll die in the game.
The Flame in the Flood is a roguelike survival game, where you play as Scout, a survivor in a flooded, post-apocalyptic America where the land has been transformed into a series of islands that she has to traverse on a makeshift raft. As she and her dog Aesop travel down the river, Scout has to contend with wild animal attacks, snakebites, hunger, and staying warm and dry, all the while as she uncovers the mystery of where everyone went during the rapture. What keeps the game together is the river, which varies between calm streams to rushing rapids that you have to maneuver through to get to the next destination. Will it take you where you want to go? Or will you be dashed upon rocks? I also highly recommend the soundtrack for The Flame in the Flood; I didn’t stop listening to it for weeks after I finished the campaign.
What did you play in 2016 that you enjoyed? Are there any other indie games that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below! Happy gaming for 2017!
All Geeks, All Games is an event developed by Mox Boarding House to celebrate and promote diversity and inclusiveness in the local gaming community. Everyone is welcome to come by and play board games, play Magic the Gathering, miniature gaming, and more! The event is completely Free!
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 5 is opening night at Pioneer Square’s Gallery4Culture, but the exhibition runs through Jan. 26.
David Jaewon Oh’s Combatants captures the strength and honesty of women in combat sports. The sights and sounds of the often male-dominated gyms where they train come to life in this series of intimate photographic portraits that explore personal identity and gender roles.
“I think Kitty’s summer is kicking everyone else’s summers butt!” this statement on my Facebook page accompanied a picture of my nine year old daughter proudly standing by the door to a conference room at PopCap Games’ corporate offices. Kitty was getting ready to start her second week of Girls Make Games, a game design camp. Our friends and family followed along enthusiastically on social media as I posted daily updates of her camp adventures.
Girls Make Games is a three week camp that was held in July at 24 locations around the world. During the camp the participants learned about different career options in the gaming industry, met people working in the field, and toured game studios. In the three weeks they attended camp they also wrote, designed and developed a playable game.
We love games at GeekGirlCon! We also love awesome events that help kids. So, here’s an opportunity to do both by supporting Extra Life, a 24-hour game marathon to raise funds for sick children and their families. Extra Life has been around since 2008, and since that time it’s raised over $14 million for children in hospital! This year, GeekGirlCon is proud to have two of its staffers taking part on September 16 for this great cause.
Once again, our very own Gaming Event Coordinator, Andy Munich (also known as The 8 Hour Gamer) and our Merchandise Manager extraordinaire, Shubz, will be battling the monsters of the Underdark as part of the Wizards of the Coast team to help raise money for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. Andy will also be running a game of Dungeons and Dragons as a Dungeon Master, so you can see him switch hats and roles throughout the marathon!
For a third year, four intrepid members of the GeekGirlCon staff will be battling it out this Sunday, May 15th at Mox Boarding House for the Gauntlet!
What IS the Gauntlet, you ask?
The winning team also gets a literal gauntlet! Image source: Kristine Hassell
The Gauntlet is an invitational charity tabletop game tournament that includes local industry professionals from across all gaming genres. It’s also a marathon, and not a sprint: teams of four play games for nine hours! In addition to being able to play well, each team gets “power ups” throughout the games, which are special abilities to help boost their chance at winning. But, they don’t come cheap! Power ups are based on each team’s fundraising capabilities. The higher-ranked a team is based on its fundraising abilities, the more power ups they get! All fundraising efforts benefit a local charity. Last year, the teams raised an incredible $93,000, and GeekGirlCon also came fourth out of twenty teams! Information about the previous years’ event can be found on our blog here and here.
This year’s theme is Odyssey, and the charity of choice is YouthCare, a Seattle-area non-profit that works with homeless youth, to help them get off the streets and preparing for life. During the day, Mox will also be hosting other activities, such as face painting, a donation drive and a twitch livestream!
“We’ve been practicing the games as much as we’re able to make the org proud,” says Kristine Hassell, who, along with Hosanna Tolman, Kathryn Storm and Mikey Brant will be flying the GeekGirlCon flag high this weekend. But, that’s not all. In addition to preparing for the games, Team GeekGirlCon has been planning a group cosplay which they will reveal on Sunday!
So, if you’re free this weekend, head to Mox Boarding House and cheer on Team GeekGirlCon! You can also donate for the team’s power up ranking here.
Explore and experience the cultural roots of the Asian-Pacific Islands through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, games, and a lively marketplace. The festival launches Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Seattle with spectacular dances, youth drill teams, drumming, martial arts, and artists from around the state.
Plus our fan-favorite Hum Bow Contest with local celebrities and API Community displays and enjoy children’s activities! This is guaranteed to rock your heritage!
Tuesday, May 3: GeekGirlCon’s giveBIG campaign!
On May 3, GeekGirlCon will team up with The Seattle Foundation for an online fundraising extravaganza! Anything donated to our organization will be matched from a pool of stretch funds. If you’re an information enthusiast, we made it easy for you, click here to read more.