Last weekend Pixelkin attended Emerald City Comicon in Seattle. We conducted two panels for geek parents on Sunday—more on that later! First things first: it was an amazing weekend.

One of the most exciting things to see was how many families with kids attended the con. There were couples with strollers, parents wrangling toddlers, families with tweens, and teenagers wandering with their friends. It’s in keeping with our latest episode of Hi-Res, as well as some of the other articles we’ve published about conventions—they can be a fantastic way to bring gaming and other geeky pastimes to the “real” world. People with similar passions can meet each other and learn more about the stuff they love, and that includes kids!

For us, some highlights of the con were the panels “The Couple That Games Together…” and “Writing For Video Games.” The former had lines going far out the door—this tells us that parents with kids aren’t the only families who love to game together! The latter was conducted by David A. Rodriguez, Narrative Designer of the blockbuster hit Skylanders: SWAP Force, a favorite of kids. Rodriguez talked about some of the elements that go into game design for kids, including the essential difference between making something “scary” vs. making something “thrilling.”

It was also fun to hear from video game voice actors Dwight Schultz and William Salyers discussing their experiences behind the mic. Salyers discussed the cinematic quality of his scenes in Mass Effect 3, and how many fans he has met who were touched by the character he performed. Schultz, who is mainly famous for his screen acting, described his time in video games as freeing. “In video games, you can be anyone,” he said, describing all the roles he could never be cast in on screen because of the way he looked.

The best part of the convention, though, was definitely Pixelkin’s own paneling experience. We’ll go over the details in a later post, but suffice it to say, the audience was inspiring and engaged. They obviously care deeply about talking to kids about media.

If you were there, thank you so much for the wonderful discussions we had on Sunday. It was so great to see you in person!

If you weren’t there, we hope to see you next year!

Emerald City Comicon 2014 was overall an educational, exciting, and wonderful experience, and we’ll definitely be attending in 2015.

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Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.