The gaming community is huge and diverse, and there’s no better way to experience it than at a convention. We went to a lot of events this year, but below are some of our absolute favorites.
1) E3 2014
E3 is a trade show that happens every year in Los Angeles, California. This was my first year going and it was a bit overwhelming! E3 was a chance for us to see all the upcoming games from 2014 and 2015, giving us a better idea of what families had to look forward to. E3 was the first time we got our hands on games that would later become favorites, like Valiant Hearts and LittleBigPlanet 3.
2) Seattle Retro Gaming Expo
The Seattle Retro Gaming Expo is a celebration of all things Retro. Families could play games early consoles—giving parents a chance to show off games from their youth. The expo also had a lot of great vendor booths run by local artists who create everything from jewelry to stuffed animals to wall art. We wanted to know what kind of family gaming memories the attendees had, and they sure had some great answers.
3) PAX Prime
This was absolutely one of my favorite projects. For four days I canvassed attendees at PAX, Seattle’s biggest gaming convention. Every Labor Day weekend, some 80,000 people converge on the Washington State Convention Center for gaming, panels, arts and crafts, and more. PAX is a chance for video game fans to play games that haven’t come out yet and to attend talks by experts on gaming. There was even a panel about getting kids to build games!
If you want to attend PAX, you have to jump on the badges when they go on sale. They disappear pretty quickly. Look out for sales in late spring and early summer!
Every convention we went to this year was fun, but GeekGirlCon was hands-down our absolute favorite. A local Seattle convention that celebrates women, GeekGirlCon featured a DIY Science Zone for kids, free-play games (including one of our favorites, Child of Light), and art by local vendors—including the talented little girl featured in this video, who made her own comic book.
If there’s a must-attend convention for families in Seattle, GeekGirlCon is it. It’s small but doesn’t lack things to do, and it’s a safe space for everyone.
5) Indie Game Revolution Launch Party
The launch party for EMP museum’s ongoing Indie Game Revolution exhibit was open for all ages. Tons of independent games were available to play, some of which weren’t on the market yet. The games were coupled with developer interviews and great party atmosphere. The Indie Game Revolution is still going on at EMP museum. Don’t miss it!
Bonus: Portland Retro Gaming Expo
Portland Retro Gaming Expo is Portland’s celebration of retro games. We had a great time checking out vintage consoles and arcade machines and playing charades with the people who visited our booth.
So what’s coming up in 2015? Look out for us at Emerald City Comicon and PAX Prime, as well as at the EMP Museum this spring. We’ll be running some workshops in tandem with the Indie Game Revolution exhibit.
Have you been to any of these conventions? Let us know which is your favorite in the comments below.