Lecture Review: “You Have Died of Dysentery: Meaningful Gaming in Education” (PAX, 2016)

Dropping into a lecture about edutainment games might sound more like an assignment than a highlight of videogame expo PAX, and yet teacher Ashley Brandin presents valuable context to where videogames can grow in “You Have Died of Dysentery: Meaningful Gaming in Education” because we should demand better quality videogames that can provide educational experiences and expect more from videogame developers in terms of how they can use videogames as tools to educate beyond historical facts and typing tutorials.

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Concert Review: VG Pianist, MC Frontalot, Bit Brigade (PAX, 2016)

Videogame expo PAX hosted two nights of concerts over Labor Day weekend. The Friday night line-up consisted of opener Martin Leung the Video Game Pianist, nerdcore rapper MC Frontalot, and headlining the evening was Minibosses-tribute band Bit Brigade. I skipped the Saturday night line-up of Triforce Quartet, 1UPs, and Super Guitar Bros., although with more planning, rest, and effort, I probably could have enjoyed it as much as Friday’s festivities.

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Amazing Heroes: Mutant Mindsurfer’s Dare

In order to live a fulfilling life, you should dare yourself to make decisive decisions based on your own desires, rather than the desires of others. I could have surfed to a networking event that I didn’t really want to attend. The event could have helped me practice flattery to climb the professional ladder or I could have mined for new contacts. I figured I would mutate more value from venerable action figure and comic book store Amazing Heroes, and while I don’t know how that path would have turned out, I don’t regret my choice.

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Movie Review: A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

A Woman Under the Influence is a harrowing yet unfulfilling glimpse into a family suffering from the stresses of 1970s America. Mabel is nervous, awkward, and insecure about herself. Nick switches between concern and control for his wife. Mabel lashes out against a world she doesn’t understand. Nick caves into the pressures of his peers. Their kids know that mommy ain’t right and daddy ain’t fair. Their parents know that they have issues. There is just one problem.

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Yard Sale: Project Motherboard

The sign from the road caught my eye. I hadn’t seen any garage or yard sales on craigslist in the area, I wasn’t on a strict timeline, and I needed to check my map app for directions. Two other signs guided me through a friendly neighborhood to a quiet upper-middle-class cul-de-sac. I won’t always stop at a garage sale. I’ll usually glance over the sale and park if there’s anything that catches my eye such as cool or interesting items, toys, tools, or in this case, thin rectangles holding videogames and movies.

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Rummage Around: Twenty-Five Cent Screwdrivers

When you’re not in a big hurry, and have some general goals in mind, you may find a better outcome than you’d expected. My work bag needed some cross-head (“Phillips”/Thompson) screwdrivers and I figured it would be a good excuse to stop by my favorite pawn shop. I didn’t urgently need more screwdrivers, so happening into a rather new shop at Pike Place Market called Rummage Around – equal parts thrift store, antique shop, and hoarder’s garage sale – was a nice surprise.

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