Yee-haw! This past weekend, I was invited to work at the Tankee booth at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, Texas. (More details on them coming up!)
To prepare, I got myself in the mood by playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on PS4. That’s right, I’ve been playing a non-Nintendo video game for a change! Can you believe it? Nothing like bounty hunting and fighting O’Driscolls to get you ready for a trip out west.
RDR2 is such a beautiful game, which helps to balance out all the violence and bad behavior. But I admit that going on heists and fighting in a gang wars is actually pretty fun. I also spend a LOT of time just playing poker at the camp lol!
I think it’s pretty funny that your character drinks gin and whiskey to replenish certain stats, and if you drink too much you can get pretty drunk! So realistic. 😜
Anyway, much like in RDR2, my aim was to take some awesome photos at SXSW. I was brought as photographer at the Tankee booth and to assist them with a meet-n-greet with my YouTuber friend Abdallah Smash.
For those who aren’t familiar with Tankee, it’s a new app designed to be a safe place for kids to watch Let’s Play videos of their favorite gamers and influencers. Unlike Youtube Kids, which relies on an algorithm to filter out the bad stuff, Tankee uses a novel concept called “Human Intelligence” (lol) and they literally screen every single video that they host on their platform. In addition to feeling safer that your kids are watching quality gaming content free of adult words and concepts, there are other parent friendly features such as a timer and kid-friendly interaction using digital stickers instead of written comments.
As a proud auntie of a few little gamers myself, I was very excited to learn about their app and I hope you will download it too! It’s free on iOS right now, and available as a beta in the Google Play Store for Android.
As far as SXSW goes, I was too busy to try and check out much of the festival outside of the Gaming Expo. But I did enjoy the show floor, even though it was pretty much the same as all of the other cons that I attend.
Naturally, I head toward the tabletop games section to look at DnD dice. There are such beautiful dice sets out there. I want one that is made out of gemstones! Too bad they are like hundreds of dollars… I’m accepting donations! lol
One major difference between SXSW Gaming and other conventions were the panels. Instead of catering to fan-focused content, the panels were on various industry related tracks: eSports, Game Development, and Game Marketing. As a marketing professional, I thought this was really interesting! I sat in on a panel about how influencers and Let’s Play streamers affect young kids, and there was a big discussion on the lack of quality female streamers on most networks. I felt inspired to go home and really start working on getting my Twitch channel ready for regular streaming!
Of course I didn’t limit my entire trip to just the expo center. I made sure to fit in some sight-seeing while I was in Austin! I visited the Texas State Capitol building and the Zilker Botanical Gardens. It was a lot of fun… I only wish it was a little closer to spring so the foliage would have been blooming.
Now for the nitty gritty. I hate to be judge-y, but having visited TWO whole cities in Texas, I gotta say that I liked San Antonio better. Austin is definitely a cool place, and there are lots of bars and nightclubs – a party town for sure. And I love to party, don’t get me wrong, but San Antonio does it better. The San Antonio Riverwalk is home to a wide variety of bars and restaurants directly on the water. Austin has a riverwalk, but it’s not a home to nightlife – it’s part of a huge park and isn’t even as pretty.
As far as food goes, both cities have a lot of tacos and BBQ. I’ll say that Austin gets a slight advantage in the BBQ department, but San Antonio had wayyyyy better tacos. Factor in just how much I personally love tacos… San Antonio is my fave!
San Antonio also has more of that old-world charm, since the Alamo is the centerpiece of the city. Austin, being the capitol of the state, is more modern and filled with more corporate buildings. I noticed more homeless people in Austin too, for whatever reason.
But that’s really my only complaints about Austin! I had a wonderful time overall, and I love exploring new places. I met lots of really nice people and would entertain the idea of coming to another SXSW in the future… maybe if I had a full festival pass. But those are really expensive!
I have more convention news to share but I’ll do it in a separate blog post. Stay tuned!