x gaming | GeekGirlCon - Part 4

When Did I Realize I Was a Geek?

Guest post by GeekGirlCon Manager of Gaming Alyssa Jones

World of Warcraft: 4th place at the 3v3 PvP tourney!

World of Warcraft: 4th place at the 3v3 PvP tourney!

My journey to Geekdom is perhaps slightly different than my fellow GeekGirlCon cronies. My story is about a shy girl looking in from the outside of the Geekverse.

Although I didn’t think so at the time, my family was actually incredibly geeky throughout my adolescence. We’d watch Next Generation every Sunday, played hours of Golden Eye, and fought over who got to be Storm when we were pretending to be X-Men (I won, by the way).

But my life at home did not reflect my time at school. In kindergarten (at the not-so-far-from-infancy age of 5), my classmate informed me that Power Rangers were for babies. I was Shy Level: Hinata (extremely shy), so finding new friends didn’t really seem like an option at the time.

A photo of a young red-headed woman wearing 3-D glasses and holding a game controller.

Observing the effects of the Void on video games at PAX 2010

As I changed schools, I adjusted by finding other, more relatable interests. But I always had my eye on that table in the back of the library where the boys were playing Magic: The Gathering, discussing their D&D characters, or going on about how to get flame arrows in Ocarina of Time (which I already knew), but I was still too shy to join in.

Eventually, I felt so disconnected from Geekdom, that I started to feel unworthy of donning the title. I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to build a great Magic deck, I watched Dragon Ball Z, but not GT, and I could never remember how many sides my attack die had. Since video games were the only medium I felt I was decent at, I turned in my Nerd Badge for a Gaming License, and was known to all as a Gamer.

A photo of Alyssa in cosplay as a Sith, from the Star Wars series.

Sith happens.

In my freshman year of college, I hit level 60 with my priest in World of Warcraft. At the time, I played WoW a lot (as in, “I only know the day of the week because of the raiding schedule,” a lot). My dorm R.A. actually held a mini intervention one day when I neglected to walk to the cafeteria with the rest of the dorm. Naturally, I was excited to be level cap, but I didn’t expect any of my real life friends to care.

However, the next day, I walked into the common room after class to find that my friends had planned a party to congratulate me on getting to 60. There was even a cake (not a lie)! I was shocked that they cared about that part of my life. When I asked why they had decided to throw a party, they explained that since my birthday was in the summer, this was the closest way they could celebrate the passing on to another year/level.

Having way too much fun with paint. Moon Prism POWER!

Having way too much fun with paint. Moon Prism POWER!

And then they said it: “You’re a geek, Lyss. This is probably better than your birthday for you anyway.” This was the first time anyone had ever labeled me as Geek. I was surprised that the people whom I had excluded from my geeky side were well aware of it. Turns out, I couldn’t contain all the geek.

They say admittance is the first step to acceptance and in my case it was true. Since that day, I’ve let myself be more open about what I love. I don’t let the fear of being a total noob ruin my chance to learn something new. Now that I’m a staff member at GeekGirlCon, I love that I get to help others find and release their inner Geek.

Winter Downs
“Rock On!”

What are the kids playing this summer?

by Adrienne M Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services

If you haven’t guessed by now from my previous blog posts on Geeky Gifts for Kids, Video Games for the Family and Board Games for the Family, my family is just a little into games.

It’s summertime, which means that besides doing family chores and playing in the pool, the tweens are enjoying their free time by playing games. I asked my kids and their friends about some of the games they are playing this summer. They are going under the names Mei, damage6, Haruhi, and Boyzsuckjkjk*.

LoLLeague of Legends (LoL) came up as the game to play this summer by several of these just-into-and-out-of middle school kids.  The worst part of the game? “The players can be toxic, and will hate you forever if you do something that they don’t like,” reports damage6 about LoL. This sentiment was shared by all the kids playing LoL. Haruhi and Boyzsukjkjk both said, “The people are mean.” Even though damage6 plays League of Legends, he said he has no favorite games right now. He just likes to play, stating, “I play with people I don’t know and real life friends.”

animal crossingOther games that were brought up included TFL, Pokemon, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Unanimously, the kids said their favorite part of these games is that they can play with their friends. A bonus of Animal Crossing is that you can customize, reports Mei. According to Gamersyndrome, characters, clothing, furniture, and interactions are customizable, giving a lot of individual play.

I also happen to know that Sonic and All Stars Racing: Transformers is being played nightly with one of these girls and her father. This is leading to family bonding and working together to reach goals of unlocking characters, mods, and more races.

What games are your favorites this summer?

*All names given in this post are gamer usernames or pseudonyms.



Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

Ask GeekGirlCon: What is your favorite tabletop game?

Hi readers!

Did you know that today is International TableTop Day? Find a game to celebrate with this installment of Ask GeekGirlCon: What is your favorite tabletop game?

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

“My favorite tabletop game is Betrayal at the House on the Hill published by Avalon Games. Every time you play this game, there is a different scenario. You build the game board as you go, and every time a different set of circumstances triggers the big bad Haunt. There are dozens of endings to this game and I’ve never seen the same one twice. I remember the first time I played I was beyond intimidated because my friend had to pull out his giant binder of endings and I thought it was the rule book. Even though the game varies so much, it’s still easy to learn and easy to play. And did I mention everyone has the chance to randomly become a traitor? What’s more fun then turning on your friends half way through the game because you’ve lost your sanity and turned evil?” – Jex Ballard, Volunteer Program Manager



“We play a lot of games in our house but my favourite game to play would be Antoine Bauza’s Tokaido. Tokaido is simple, relaxing game where you and fellow players travel along from Tokyo to Edo on the famous Tokaido.

This is a simple game with point to point movement where each player chooses a traveler at random to travel one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. During your journey, you will buy souvenirs, eat amazing meals, visit temples, meet new people, and see gorgeous vistas all as you travel the East sea road.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

“It is so hard to choose a favorite! Right now, I would say it is Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. I had a lot of doubts when I picked up the game, as I have played many bad games based on TV shows or movies. Battlestar Galactica is a rare board game that is not just a lot of fun, it also remains true to the show. You really feel as though you are playing a character on Battlestar Galactica. While the game is mostly cooperative, one or more players are secretly cylons or cylon sympathizers working against the human crew. There is a lot of bluffing, deception, and deduction. This makes it fun to play over and over!” – Susie Rantz, Manager of Public Relations

Your turn, folks! What’s your favorite tabletop game? Any suggestions on what to play next?

“Rock On!”

Ask GGC: What was your favorite childhood video game?

Here’s today’s Geek Fact of the Day: The Sims launched on February 4, 2000. Happy Birthday to The Sims!

In honor of this nostalgic video game many of us played growing up (or still play today), we asked GeekGirlCon staff members to share their favorite video game from childhood. Check out some of their answers.

Elevator Action NES Cover

Elevator Action NES Cover

“Choosing only one game was really hard for me as I have so many good memories of game time growing up. However, there is one little known game that I always come back to partly because I played it so much and partly because almost no one has ever heard of it. It’s Elevator Action. In this 1983 NES classic you’re a thief trying to get into the hotel, steal the goods, and get to your getaway car (using the elaborate elevator system, of course) without getting shot by the good guys or squished by one of the many elevators. It’s partly puzzle, partly reactionary, and mostly just plain fun! There’s nothing better then hearing that short few notes that said you made it to the car and you’re headed to the next level!” – Jex Ballard, Manager of Volunteer Administration

Torin's Passage

Torin’s Passage

“My brother and I LOVED Torin’s Passage. It’s a point-and-click PC game, and you play Torin, who’s on a quest to rescue his family from an evil sorceress called Lycentia. Torin travels to the “lands below” to worlds beneath the surface of the nested planet, through colossus crystal columns called phenocrysts. He is aided by a purple cat-like creature called Boogle, which is able to change itself into a variety of shapes. It’s got lots of fun puzzles (some of which were pretty hard for a children’s game), but the best part was the humor. The game was designed for parents to play with their kids, so a lot of the jokes went over my head as a child, but they are hilarious now. BRB, searching Ebay for Torin’s Passage…” – Amber Dawn Bushnell, Designer

Classic Frogger

Classic Frogger

“Frogger! At the end of every semester when I was in Catholic grade school, we had a school party day at the local roller rink, Rollero. I never had very good balance with wheels on my feet (I still don’t), so I spent most of my time–and lots of quarters!–in the little video arcade room. There was Donkey Kong, some ridiculous shooting ducks game, Ms Pac-Man (also a favorite), and then there was Frogger! For some reason I loved being the little green frog dashing across all those lanes of traffic. I wasn’t terribly good at it–we only went twice a year, plus a birthday party here and there–but I just loved it. Play the game here.” – Sarah Grant, Copywriter

Classic Centipede

Classic Centipede

“The game was simple: one button, one 2 ¼” trackball.* Me versus one determined centipede! I would play that game for an indeterminate amount of time on a pair of quarters at our local arcade. Once I played before a high school volleyball match and I played so long, that the next day, I had to hit the ball with my left hand because my right was so sore. If I see the game, I’ll get a nostalgic twinge and dig for quarters in my wallet so I can play.

“The coolest thing is that several years ago, I learned that the game was designed by Dona Bailey, one of the few female game programmers in the industry.

*The same size as a billiard ball.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator

The Magic Map!

The Magic Map!

“When I was a kid, I bought King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow at my neighbor’s garage sale (for 25 cents!). It quickly became my favorite game of all time. As a kid, it was thrilling to use the game’s magic map and discover some seriously awesome lands. I loved that Sierra incorporated stories like Wonderland (the Isle of Wonder), Beauty and the Beast (Isle of the Beast), and Theseus and the Minotaur (Isle of the Sacred Mountain). Both my sister and I played through King’s VI many, many times – frequently as a team. I sincerely hope a King’s Quest reboot is on its way!” – Stephanie Little, Web Administrator

“Mine was Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego? One of my earliest memories of DOS games. My dad was a total astronomy enthusiast and just sat me down with this and I was hooked, engaged by the graphics and enthralled with researching V.I.L.E. operatives, planets, and moons. Since I love space, this definitely stood out for me more than any of the other games in the series. The imagination behind the dossiers was particularly impressive. I remember reading that thing more than a few times, for sure. A few years ago I wanted to play it again to see how it held up but there’s next to nothing on the Internet about that installment of the Carmen Sandiego series. Definitely the best one, too.” – Kathryn Storm, UX Designer

So readers, what’s your favorite childhood video game?

“Rock On!”

Ask GGC: What was your most memorable gift?

Hi folks! In this installment of Ask GGC, we asked our staff members about the most memorable gifts they’ve received. Read up on what some of them had to say:

“My first pet, a baby black and white kitten I named Domino! I asked for a cat (from Santa) when I was seven and decided to test Santa’s reality by putting my christmas list in a neighbor’s mailbox down the street (instead of my own where my parents could find it!) I never mentioned wanting a kitten to my parents, and I wanted one SO badly … and it turns out the neighbors found my letter and brought it back to my parents the next day. So Christmas morning, I woke up to a little black and white ball of fur under my neck! It was seriously one of the most magical moments from my childhood! I was convinced Santa was real!” – LB Chambers, Manager of Fundraising

Sarah’s gift: a talking Dalek!

“I dated a very nice guy several years back, and he was pretty good with gifts. For my birthday, he got me a pair of sterling silver earrings with pretty purple stones, and a gift card to Barnes and Noble — both right on the money. The best gift he ever got me came wrapped in the newspaper — comic section, of course. I opened as we were driving to dinner, and I remember bursting into delighted laughter. He got me a talking Dalek from Doctor Who — black case, flashing lights, rollers underneath it. When I hit the button it croaked out, ‘Exterminate the Doctor!’ and ‘Obey! Obey!’” – Sarah Grant, Copywriter

You can’t go wrong with Snoopy!

“One year, I asked Santa to bring me everything Snoopy … which were my exact words. ‘Bring me everything Snoopy!’ My mother saved all the letters, so there’s tangible proof. Among the avalanche of Snoopy memorabilia, two items tie for some of my most memorable gifts. There was the super-cool Snoopy snow cone machine that my cousins always wanted to use during the summer. It was a lot of work for a little treat! And I loved my Snoopy soap dispenser. The contraption attached to the counter with a suction cup, and it used a weird granular dry soap that looked like dry laundry detergent.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator

“My most memorable gift was a Super Nintendo from my dad that was bundled with Donkey Kong Country when it first came out. We didn’t have much money growing up, so any kind of gift more than $50 wasn’t something I could hope for. My Pa and I used to play on the NES together (he’d ALWAYS AND FOREVER beat me at Tetris) so he thought of it as an investment in family time. My SNES still works perfectly, and I marathon Donkey Kong every so often!” – Meg Humphrey, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

Stephanie and her boyfriend, Robert, celebrating after completing a half-marathon.

“My awesome boyfriend spoiled me on my birthday! He bought tickets for Wicked and got me a Camelback — complimenting my geeky and sporty interests.” – Stephanie Little, Web Administrator

Thanks, Staff! Readers, what was your most memorable gift?

“Rock On!”

GeekGiftGuide: Geeky Gifts for Kids

Holidays are for the kids! Whether you have a geeky kid or are a geek who needs to buy for a kid, here’s your guide to geeky gifts for kids. Your guide writer here has kids ranging from baby to teen to buy for, and I’ve got some ideas for you.

We’ll start at the top: the teenager. Buying for teenagers is almost the toughest. They can be really picky and also pricey. First to ask, what is your teenager into? Mine is into cosplay. Here’s just a few:


Kanna from Inuyasha

Temari from Naruto

Tweak from South Park

“Rock On!”

GeekGiftGuide: Tabletop Gifting

Hey folks!

Do you have a tabletop gamer in your universe who has been on the AWESOMESAUCE list? Can’t figure out what to get that d20 high roller? Well, take a gander at a few of these gift suggestions!


What’s great about DiXit is there are 3 expansion sets! That means more illustrations and endless fun!

Asmodee’s Dixit is a favorite in my household. My husband and I have introduced many of our friends to this fun game, which is recommended for folks as young as eight. With beautiful illustrations and tons of replay value, this game is sure to be a favorite with your geek.

Guesstures, 1st Edition

Guesstures, a table top twist of the game charades, is a classic for players 12 years old and up. Act out suggestions from drawn cards and have your team guess them all before the “mimer-timer” runs out.

Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook, 4th Edition

Now, I just started playing Dungeons and Dragons, and I am having a blast! Whether you’re a seasoned GM (game master) or it’s your first time picking up a character sheet, one can always benefit from some D&D swag!

Do you like some crafting along with your tabletop game? Warhammer is going strong. Visit the Seattle Bunker or a store near you to learn about all the armies and games Games Workshop has been developing. If you are a fan of The Hobbit, there’s a game to go along with it.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — The Bundle.

You can never go wrong with a couple of accessories! For the steampunk enthusiast, check out this steampunk dice set:

A plethora of dice is a tabletop gamer’s ally.

So many dice and no bags of holding in sight? Check out a few of these dice bags on etsy!

What’s on your tabletop gaming holiday list?

“Rock On!”

PAX ’12 : Game on!

PAX 2012 was like PAX usually is: tons of stuff to see, lines to wait in, and free swag to get.

Just walking the show floor is an experience worth the cost of the badge, with grand displays set against the deafening noise of games and attendees. I’m always comparing it to a theme park: tiring, exciting, and fun. I played almost too many games to note, a couple of my favorites being the hilarious Octodad and The Walking Dead.

Borderlands 2

The moments I always remember, though, are the ones spent in random rooms on the second and third floor playing board games with friends and people I’ve only just met. It’s not just because I love tabletop; I think that this is where the community of PAX still lives on through the noise and the overstimulation of the exhibits. There’s a very simple joy in gaming that’s hard to find as you get older, and to be able to share that with your friends is a great feeling.

There’s also a great mix of simple, complex, lighthearted and serious tabletop games available in the library, so no matter who you are playing with (or where your exhaustion level is at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday), there’s something for you. Some of the highlights in tabletop for me were Ufology and Cards Against Humanity, which I had never played before this weekend.

Ryan Gosling may or may not have been at PAX…

Now all I have left is lots of sleep, a Magic the Gathering coloring book to do, and a list of games that I absolutely *must* buy. Oh, and a TMNT costume.

Heroes in the Half Shell!

Julia Santo
Programming Operations Director

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCONTEST: Indie Game: The Movie

It’s time for another GeekGirlCONTEST, everyone! This time, we are partnering with SIFF as they feature Indie Game: The Movie!

According to some of our staff, it is a documentary that should not be missed.

We are going to give away TWO pairs of tickets to see this fantastic documentary for the weekend of April 27th – April 29th. The winner will get to pick from any of the following dates and times:

• April 27: 6:45 p.m., 9:00 p.m.
April 28: 2:00 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 9:00 p.m.
April 29: 2:00 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m.

To enter this contest, post a comment telling us what your favorite video game is before Wednesday, April 25th at 11:59 P.M. PST.

We’ll select two winners at random from the comments. Be sure to include a working email; it won’t be displayed, but we’ll need it to notify you if you win!

(P.S. Be sure to follow our Twitter handle for other potential prizes)

Happy commenting, y’all – and good luck!

“Rock On!”

Bring out your Dice! Or Awesome Ideas! Calling for Tabletop Gaming & Workshops at GeekGirlCon ‘12

The GeekGirlCon Gaming Department is now taking submissions for tabletop gaming demos and workshops for GeekGirlCon ‘12 on August 11 & 12 at the Conference Center, at 8th & Pike in downtown Seattle.

Tabletop gaming!Workshops: Hands-On, Drop-In, Fun, Interactive

Do you have a great idea for a drop-in workshop or class that you would love to see at the next GeekGirlCon? Would you like to host or lead a workshop or class? Workshops and drop-in classes are great opportunities for fun, quick, and casual interaction. Example workshops include painting miniatures and hero/villain mask-making (back by popular demand).

Bring your imagination and send your workshop ideas and proposals to gaming@geekgirlcon.com. 

Tabletop Gaming: Demo Your Games!

Are you a game publisher, creator, or distributor looking for a great venue and enthusiastic audience to demo your game?  GeekGirlCon ‘12 has an awesome tabletop gaming space for your card, RPG, board, or other games. Tabletop gamers range from new and casual to lifelong and serious players, so all levels of complexity or involvement are welcomed.

Tables are currently available for Saturday or Sunday (or both). Reserve your table(s) soon by contacting gaming@geekgirlcon.com for more information.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Join The Discussion #GeekGirlCon

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