Jane McGonigal, PhD, is perhaps the world’s most famous expert on gaming. In 2010 she made a wildly popular (more than 3 million views) TED talk. It’s called “Gaming Can Make a Better World,” and in it she explains the personal and societal benefits of gaming. McGonigal’s first TED Talk helped inspire me to work in the world of video games and helped set me on the path to creating Pixelkin. In her latest TED Talk (which has more than 4 million views), McGonigal asserts that gaming can make you live longer. (She has math!) Read More
At Emerald City Comicon, Aina Braxton cosplayed her own personal superhero—Inferna Bird of Paradise. She wore sparkly face makeup and a bright red costume, complete with a cape and knee-high boots. She looked awesome. She explained how she’s been developing the costume—and the Inferna’s backstory—for years. (Her background as a performance artist might have helped with that.) One motivation for her to create her own superhero was frustration with the fact that there aren’t a lot of superhero characters who are like her.
In fact, people of color, women, and anyone who doesn’t fit the cultural norms often feel left out when it comes to representation in the media. Braxton believes media representation matters. All kinds of kids should be able to see themselves represented in media.
As part of her work around this issue at UW Bothell’s Digital Future Lab, Braxton examined some of the Black characters in video games—and what those characters mean to Black students. Recently she did a workshop on the topic with high school students from the Seattle area. We asked her to go into a little more detail on the workshop for Black Opportunity and Leadership Day and what she found out. Read More
A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with Matt Hooper, a Seattle attorney who represents video game and media clients. Matt has a strong interest in “games for good”—video games that promote learning, health, and social justice—and he speaks often about games to scientists, business leaders, and educators. In 2013 he won a Telly Award for one of his presentations.
When I arrived at a downtown Starbucks for our interview, Matt was playing Plants Vs. Zombies on his phone.
Pixelkin: Did you play video games when you were young?
Hooper: I had a Nintendo when I was about nine to 13, but other than that I didn’t play many video games at all. I only really got involved in the video game space when I moved to Seattle a few years ago. Prior to that, most of my work was internet-based or film-based. I was in L.A. for 26 years and northern California six or seven years and then came to Seattle. Read More
In my time working for Pixelkin, I’ve constantly been reminded of the sheer immensity of the video game universe. There is always more to read, more to watch, more to play, and more to understand. Luckily, I am young enough that I started learning when I was just a wee lass. It’s given me an advantage not everyone has.
That’s why our staff pulled together “Get Connected: A Pixelkin Guide to Family Gaming.” It has everything you need to get started in the world of video games. It’s well-researched, it’s easy to skim, and it’s super pretty. Oh, yeah, it’s also free.
We know games can do great things for families. And we want your family to do great things. So download the “Get Connected” e-book today!
Here’s a preview of the first few pages (there are 36 total). To get the whole guide emailed to you (or to a friend), just enter your email address in the box at the bottom. Read More
A couple of weeks ago Marshall Lemon published a piece on the Escapist about the intersection between journalism and violent video games. Lemon reported on a piece by Greg Perreault, PhD candidate in Journalism; Perreault thinks criticism of violence in video games has diminished in the past two decades. Read More