Spring Break in Seattle can be a bit of a challenge. The weather’s unreliable to say the least, and you’ve probably already visited the Seattle Aquarium (although the fish offer some excellent indoor fun for sure). This year, though, there’s a warm, dry, educational, and fun indoor option if your kids are into video games—as most kids are.

Since most kids who play games are also interested in how games are made, Monday through Wednesday next week Pixelkin, EMP, DigiPen, and Nintendo are teaming up to offer families Power Up at EMP, three days of games and game-making workshops. On Monday and Tuesday afternoons (April 13th and 14th), top experts will present panel discussions about making games and careers in the video game industry.

The Games


Video games in the Sky Church? Yes!

First things first. Nintendo is being awesome and offering your little gamers a pop-up arcade in the Sky Church. Kids will get the chance to play crazy-popular games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Just Dance 2015. And they’ll also get to check out a bunch of terrific new indie games for the Wii U, like a skateboarding game called OlliOllli.

The Panels

Pixelkin’s Nicole Tanner has organized two great panels for parents and kids.

  • The first panel, “Putting Together the Pieces of Video Game Development,” gathers industry pros to talk about what it takes to get into the industry. A writer and a designer of the popular Nancy Drew series, the lead game designer and the art director from E-Line Media (makers of the award-winning title Never Alone), and an indie game developer will share their experience and wisdom.  That panel is Monday April 13th at 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. in the JBL Theater at EMP.
    The art director of Never Alone is coming!

    The art director of Never Alone is coming!

  • The second panel, “Anyone Can Be a Game Developer,” highlights the technology now available to help everyone—even kids—make their own games. Experts like Sax Persson from Microsoft’s Project Spark and Laker Sparks from Roblox will talk about the amazing creations being made on their groundbreaking game-making platforms. The educators on the panel—Aina Braxton and Jason Pace from the Digital Future Labs at the UW Bothell and Raymond Yan from the Digipen Institute of Technology—will also share details about how kids might go about pursuing game development in college. See the panel on  Tuesday April 14th 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. in the JBL Theater at EMP.

The Workshops

DigiPen—whose students created the prototype for the phenomenal game Portal—will be there to help kids learn a thing or two about designing their own games right now.

Portal 2 ATLAS P-body

Portal started as a student project at DigiPen, a leader in game-developement education.

Roblox, too, will offer hands-on workshops. Roblox is an innovative platform that lets anyone create games, share them, and sell them. (Some kids are actually making tens of thousands of dollars a year making games on Roblox.)

Both workshops are drop-in, drop-out style, so you can peruse the event and the museum at your own pace.


This amazing Frank Gehry-designed building is home to the EMP Museum.

This amazing Frank Gehry-designed building is home to the EMP Museum.

If you live in (or have visited) Seattle, you probably know how amazing the EMP is. But it’s more even amazing right now because it’s hosting the Indie Game Revolution exhibit, a festival of creativity that’s just too much fun. The exhibit features the past, present, and future of indie games and gives you a glimpse into the fascinating world world of indie-game art, music, and innovative gameplay.

The Details

If you want to check out Power Up, you’ll need the details:

Dates: Monday–Wednesday April 13–15, 2015
Times: Noon to 5 p.m.
Location: EMP Museum, 325 5th Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109
Price: Power Up and Indie Game Revolution are free with museum admission. Museum admission for nonmembers is $24 for adults ($21 online), $15 for kids 5-17, and free for kids 4 and under. EMP Members get in to everything free. Or, if you have a Seattle Public Library Card, you can get in for free. All you need to do is go to this website and follow the instructions. Limit one pass per library card per week.

Click here to check out the Facebook event.

See you there!

This article was written by

Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.