A recent Ask GeekGirlCon about what the games we played as children had me thinking about games I play with my children. As gamers prior to having kids, of course my husband and I were going to play lots of games with our children. Playing games with babies tend to be things like singing nursery rhymes and peek-a-boo – not exactly the pinnacle of gaming. When my children were that young, games on the computer and consoles were not under three friendly, but a quick Google search shows many options for that age now.
When the kids hit about age three, you can start getting both video games and board games robust enough for the younglings. My daughter was four when the oft-maligned Barbie Horse Adventures came out. She loved this game. The plot was basically to go collect horses and ponies that had left the stables and return them to the stables while making them happy by keeping them away from skunks and feeding them fruits and veggies. There was a whole beautifying aspect to the game, but it did not interest my daughter. She loved this game, which we had for Xbox or Playstation 2 (I don’t recall which) at the time. There have been several games in the series released since on several different consoles.
Nintendo GameCube and Wii have catered to younger users and the whole family more than other Next Gen gaming systems. The Kirby game series, especially on Nintendo systems, was popular with my kids and my nephlings. The Super Mario Parties are always a hit. They started in 1998 and the latest edition, 9, released in 2012. My husband and I have played hours of the various Mario Parties with our children as they have grown older. The kids always have their favorite characters that they want to play. These games have a mish-mash of cooperative and competitive play.
We also enjoyed Animal Crossing and Viva Pinata. On these games, the kids could have their own characters and towns/gardens, and we parents could also have them to interact with the kids. This led to a little less “parent plays and child watches” – as was the case in Super Mario Sunshine – and a little more child plays without a lot of competition. Rock Band, with its multiple difficulty levels, edited lyrics, and collaborative play, was also popular in our house for many, many years.
My kids are pre-teen and early teen now. They play a wide variety of games. However, we recently had a revisit of Kirby Air Ride and the latest Mario Party. Puyo Puyo has become quite popular in my house, too, which harkens back to my own childhood days of playing Tetris. Truth be known, a Wii U has just made an appearance in my house. The family is currently playing Nintendoland, which we find loads of fun with its recycling of familiar Nintendo characters and versions of mini-games. Nintendoland has both cooperative and competitive play, with 1 to 5 players.
I would not want to leave out games on the good ol’ desktop. Desktop games do not lend themselves well to family play, unfortunately. Nearly all the console games I mentioned have multiplayer modes or a method of collaborative play. As my pre-teen has grown older, he has enjoyed perusing some of the video RP games his dad has played. He’s spent much time watching Dad play his own characters and building some characters. (Unfortunately, my RP characters are gathering dust in the server.)
Of course, I haven’t even touched on tablet or smart phone games.
Games have rating systems. All the games mentioned are rated E for Everyone, ages 6 and over, except Rock Band, rated T for Teen. Ratings and manufacturers recommended ages are based on content and not play capability. I will admit to not strictly adhering to the suggested ages at all times. Our kids have done well at ages 6 and over playing Rock Band, we simply avoided more suggestive songs. In addition, game play is rather individual. My kids have been able to play Mario Party games since about age 3, but were not able to play Super Mario Sunshine with the same rating – they mostly enjoyed watching the adult play it. There is also lots of advice on how much screen time any person, especially children, should get in a week or a day. But for a little family fun time, a video game can be just the thing to share your own gaming enthusiasm with your kids.
Do you have video games you play with your kids? Tell us about them.
A holiday once reserved for cheesy cards and chocolate has been transformed into a global movement.
This Valentine’s Day, one billion women from around the world will demand an end to violence against women by … dancing?
From Seattle to Singapore, the UK to Uganda, women (and men who want to join) will band together to host dance parties and flash mobs. They will be taking part in One Billion Rising, a movement to unite people to demand an end violence against women.
Why is the movement important? One in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That is, one billion mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, and friends violated. And that is not acceptable.
But imagine what these one billion women can do when they unite. Now that’s a revolution.
One Billion Rising transcends borders, continents, and cultures. With the tagline: “WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence,” it gives everyone across the globe a common rallying cry.
So, why dancing? From the One Billion Rising website:
“Dancing insists we take up space. It has no set direction but we go there together. It’s dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive. It breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere at anytime with anyone and everyone. It’s free. No corporation can control it. It joins us and pushes us to go further. It’s contagious and it spreads quickly. It’s of the body. It’s transcendent.”
Plus, who doesn’t like to let loose and dance here and there?
Check out this great video from South Africa for a little inspiration.
Want to plan a rising? There’s a user-friendly toolkit for that! Interested in joining a rising? You can search for one; it is easy for groups or entire organizations to participate.
On this globally recognized holiday, there’s no better way to counter violence against women than with love.
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
“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
“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
“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
“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!
“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?
Our Manager of GeekGirlConnections, Terra Olsen, has some fantastic tips in store for the geek on a mission to network and take advantage of a new career! Take a gander at her advice.
Writing a resume, be it your first or your twentieth, can be a daunting task. I have compiled my favorite tips for resume building in the hopes of make it more manageable.
1.) Style Properly
* Use an easy to read font.
* Use a proper format. Chronological formats are popular (experience first, then your education and skills), but it also works well to use a customized format (where you address the job to which you are applying at the top).
2.) Know your Audience
* When building a resume, it is extremely important to know your audience. For example, if you’re applying to a graphic design firm, then it’s appropriate to build a creative resume that stands out. On the other hand, if you’re applying to an engineering firm, then it’s appropriate to have a straightforward and clean resume.
* Try to put only relevant experience on the resume. There is no need to list every single job you’ve ever had. If you’re new to the working world, list the jobs you’ve had, but be sure to make them as relevant as possible for the position to which you’re applying.
Happy 2013, everyone! While the New Year is here and the holiday season winds down, take a look at these geektastic events in January!
Saturday, January 5:The Doubleclicks & Molly Lewis in Seattle! Geek girl music at its finest! From the Facebook event page: “There’s no cover charge, but we do the indie “suggested donation” thing – so if you can afford it, please support the tour with a donation of $5 or $10 – or maybe buy a CD or a poster!”
Saturday, January 12:Seattle Elvis Invitationals at the EMP Museum From the Facebook event page: “The 16th annual search for Seattle’s best amateur Elvis Impersonator. **Buy tickets in advance, this event sells out every year!** 21 and over with ID required.”
Friday, January 18-Sunday, January 20:RustyCon From the website: “Rustycon has a focus on literature, science, art, costumes, and gaming. After dark, many fen can be found enjoying the various parties and night time events. Join us as we explore the alternate worlds of the human imagination.”
Saturday, January 19:Vox Fabuli Beginning Puppetry Class From the press release: “In this fun, dynamic class, you’ll learn the foundations of good stage puppetry – focus, physical commitment and basic puppet operation. We’ll focus on how to make your puppet seem alive and connect with the audience. You’ll get lots of hands-on time with professional arm-and-rod puppets plus a simple practice puppet to take home so you can keep working on your skills. No puppet experience required, class recommended for ages 15 and up, and class size limited to 16.”
Saturday, January 13: Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival From the webpage: “EMP in partnership with SIFF will present the eighth annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival on January 19, 2013 at the Seattle Cinerama Theater. The festival brings together industry professionals in filmmaking and the genres of science fiction and fantasy to encourage and support new, creative additions to science fiction and fantasy cinema arts. The festival will showcase animated and live-action in science fiction and fantasy films.”
Monday, January 21:Nerd Nite – Gotta catch a ball! From the Facebook event page: “Eat your heart out, nerds! This month we’ve got Pokémon… we’ve got board games… and as always, we have fabulous new, nerdy friends and ample amounts of beer!”
Wednesday, January 23:Central Cinema’s TV Dinner featuring GeekGirlCon presents “Red Sonja” From the invite: “Whether your introduction to Red Sonja was from her debut in a short story in 1934, her first appearance in Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian comic series in 1973, or her own feature film in 1985 (this one, in fact), you can relive the action of Red Sonja’s revenge on Queen Gedren. Enjoy snacks or a meal while attending a showing (or two) of Red Sonja.”
Friday, January 25:An Evening at Merlotte’s Burlesque Show From the Facebook event page: “You are cordially invited to a special night of music, burlesque, and vampires with the citizens of Bon Temps! Join us for one of two shows, either at 7 p.m. or 10 p.m. on January 25 at the Highway 99 Blues Club for a celebration of all things True Blood.”
How are you going to celebrate the first month of 2013, readers?
It’s another year and another 365 days for geekery and nerdiness! When asking the GeekGirlCon Staff what their geeky resolutions for 2013 are; here’s what some of them said:
This would be a great cosplay!
“I have two geeky resolutions this year. My first resolution is to attend a convention that I am not volunteering at in any way. For most this may sound easy, but I work a lot of cons, so it’s more difficult than it seems. My second resolution is to cosplay at least once this year. Maybe I’ll dress up as Illyria, even if it’s just from the neck up.” – Jex Ballard, Manager of Volunteer Administration
These two adorable creatures are already into Kristine’s goals for 2013.
“I don’t so much believe in making resolutions just because it’s a new year. I DO believe in continuing to treat people as I wish to be treated, making healthier choices in life, and lastly being true to myself so I can be happy. There’s also the matter of planning a honeymoon this year… Happy New Year’s everyone! Thanks for making GeekGirlCon a reality and see you in 2013!” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
A fantastically decorated page.
“My resolution this year… well, one of a couple, actually… is to start writing things down. This includes everything from tasks at work, to outings with friends, to starting up an altered journal so that I can note day-to-day activities, movies, good and bad times, everything that I possibly can! That, along with the usual of eating better, more exercise, just generally treating myself better — this should keep me busy.” – Kris Panchyk, Exhibitor Services Manager
I’m right there with you.
”Save Community from cancellation and get Dan Harmon back on the show. Should be easy enough, right?” – Abby Reinheart, Manager of Hospitality and Transportation
So what say you, readers? What is your geeky resolution for 2013?
Never fear! GeekGirlCon’s Last Minute Geek Gift Guide is here!
Kinda Last Minute
There’s always Amazon, but if I can, I like to think a little smaller. CafePress, ThinkGeek, Etsy, and HalfPrice Books have a wide variety of products guaranteed to appeal to the geek in your life: t-shirts, toys (both pop culture and scientific in nature), coffee mugs, movies, books, bumper stickers — and the list goes on!
Local comic and games shops may offer gift cards or gift certificates if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of geek one place. Find out what genre your geek loves the best, then ask an employee to point you in the right direction. It saves time, and gives your shopping experience a personal touch–as well as giving that employee the opportunity to show off their own geek cred.
Mostly Last Minute
It’s definitely time to go local, people. If you’ve got a steampunker or a scientist in your midst, shops like UW Surplus, Second Use, and Hardwick’s are goldmines. New and used machine parts, tools, building materials, furniture, and stuff you never thought about using might be just what your geek is looking for.
There’s also a search option on Etsy for “shop local”. Find something you think your geek will like, and contact the artist. If that handmade awesomeness is available, it’s as easy as meeting the artist at a local coffee shop to exchange your money for the nifty gift.
TOTALLY Last Minute
Tickets to local events can be found on Brown Paper Tickets, a fair-trade ticket company; you can print them and hide them in a festive box for your geek to open. Brown Paper Tickets sells tickets to concerts, movies, author readings, and conventions. For instance, you can gift your geek with passes to GeekGirlCon ‘13! (shameless plug, I know…)
I don’t know about you, but I love to poke around in museums and educational attractions. Don’t tell the kids about the educational part, though, or you might have a fight on your hands! Some suggestions for local places and events:
Pacific Science Center: The big one going on now through January 6, 2013 is the King Tut Exhibit. There are also rotating movies at the IMAX Theater, as well as camps and scientific exploration stuff for the kids.
NO TIME WHATSOEVER
As an absolute last minute option, there is probably a gift card rack at your local supermarket or convenience store. Those racks have gotten bigger over the years, and sometimes that card is the gift your geek will value most. They get to pick what they want at their leisure, online or in a store, and you don’t have to worry about having your gift exchanged or returned. Some racks contain gift cards for iTunes, a favorite restaurant, or online gaming sites. Even a gift card to that Seattle coffee chain looks pretty in its little envelope, and geeks love their caffeine.
Barnes and Noble Gift Card
My favorite gift, for anyone looking, is a Barnes and Noble gift card. Any denomination welcome. *wink*
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?
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:
Comic books were once a child’s domain. Now not so much. Today’s Batman and Iron Man are aimed more for teenagers and, let’s face it, those more in their 30s than for those beginning their love for the graphic novel*. You may look fondly on your younger self, sitting around following the adventures of Wonder Woman, the X-Men, or Archie. But where do you start for your child?
The following 10 comic books are ones that I’d recommend for children ages 7-12, who might find a story to love. And, parents, you just might love them too.
I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J. M. Ken Niimura
There are monsters in every child’s life, but one girl, Barbara Thorson, is ready to fight them. And she’s preparing the world for her battle or at least trying. Barbara’s tale touches your heart, especially as she fights her demons: both real and imaginary. Between Kelly’s thoughtful writing and Niimura’s beautiful art, they bring Barbara’s story to life. Let I Kill Giants warm your heart.
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Peterson
One of my favorite comic books about the bravery of small things: in this case, mice. Mouse Guard draws you in with its beautiful art and keeps you around with its big heart. The Mouse Guard valiantly defends all mice territories from threats like eagles, weasels, foxes, crabs, and sometimes even larger creatures. Despite their size, the mice risk their lives for each other and work together to bring down their larger enemies. Soon Saxon, Kenzie, and Liam will be your new friends. Buy Mouse Guard.
Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona
Ever wonder what would happen if you found out your parents were super villains? That’s just what happens to these six teenagers (plus, one pet velociraptor). After finding out that their parents play for the dark side, they run away and plot to stop their parents. Also Vaughan doesn’t forget that they need practical things like food and shelter. How would you react to finding out that your parents are evil? Join the Runaways on their epic adventures.
Dolltopia by Abby Denson
I pretty much cannot stop raving about Denson’s Dolltopia. As a little girl, I played with dolls, mostly Barbies, Ninja Turtles, Batman, or Star Trek ones, all the time. There were extensive narrations in my head and certainly, ones like Denson’s book, that defied heteronormative gender identities. But before you go thinking Dolltopia might be too much of an intense genderqueer narrative for a child, it’s just subversive enough. It is, at its crux, a story drawn in all black and white and hot pink about a group of dolls that escape humans’ homes to find themselves. Whomever they may be. And there’s nothing stronger to give a child to read, but a book that tells them that they will be loved, no matter who they are. Get some subversive fun in your life.
Rose and Isabel by Ted Mathot
Take a historical trip back to the Civil War with Rose and Isabel, two sisters who don’t sit idly by while their three brothers go off to fight with the Union soldiers. But Rose and Isabel are no ordinary women; they come from a long line of warrior women. And even though they were taught pacifism and kindness all their lives, neither will tolerate the loss of their family. Travel back in time to meet these strong ladies.
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Vol. 1: Super Crush by Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa
Ever want to know what Mary Jane thought of Spider-Man when they were in high school? Now you can walk the halls with Mary Jane, Peter Parker, Flash Thompson, Liz Allen, Harry Osborn, and Gwen Stacey as they all try to figure out who they are becoming. Miyazawa manga-style art makes this teenage romp even cuter. Discover Mary Jane and Spider-Man in their early days.
Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale by Dan Parent
Who doesn’t have fond memories of going to the orthodontist and reading Archie and the adventures of the rest of the gang in Riverdale? It can’t just be me. Well, today, the whole loveable gang’s still around getting up to their typical shenanigans that still make adults go “those darn kids!” Recently, current writer and artist Parent has introduced a new pal to the bunch, Kevin Keller. Kevin’s most famous for being Archie’s first gay character. Get to know Kevin and how he’s just another darn kid.
Doctor Who: The Only Good Dalek by Justin Richards and Mike Collins
Hiding from Daleks behind couches is a strong British childhood tradition I’d like to bring to the States. Exterminate! Here the Doctor and Amy Pond must stop the Daleks from invading Earth (again) and follow up on some rumors about there being a good Dalek. (The Doctor is not a believer.) My favorite scene is where a Dalek sinks into lava; now that’s something I’d like to see on the show. Do you believe in good Daleks?
GoGirl Vol. 1 by Trina Robbins and Anne Timmons
When Lindsay inherits her mother Janet’s superpowers, her teenage life involves more than just algebra. Inspired by Robbins own relationship with her daughter, GoGirl fosters a great mother-daughter relationship, not to mention equally awesome female friendships. In the first story, Lindsay saves her best friend Haseena, who’s been kidnapped, with the help of Janet and Haseena herself. Thoughout the book, Lindsay learns a lot about life, growing up, and her mother’s love as she starts fighting crime. And, of course, her adventures are just really a lot of fun. Take an adventure with GoGirl!
The Saga of Rex by Michel Gagne
Rex, a fox, gets taken from Earth to a faraway world to be studied. Due to his charismatic nature, he ends up traveling the universe and meeting his soul mate. In a comic with few words, Gagne paints every cosmic scene and discovers other worlds, species, and a bit of magic through the point-of-view of a fox. This adorable fox will melt your heart no matter what planet you’re from.
What comic books do you recommend for those under 12?
*Graphic novels are collected versions of comic books. Though sometimes these book might go straight to graphic novel format and skip the single issue.
Erica McGillivray is the Director of Marketing for GeekGirlCon.