Gamer Spotlight: Shanna Hartzell


Shanna Hartzell

Treasurer, This is Geek

Farmington, Minnesota

Twitter: @thisisgeeknet

What is the first video game you ever played?

Lion King on Sega. It is still without a doubt one of my favorite games. We played very Disney happy go lucky games only at my house.
I didn’t have a computer or cable growing up so I had no way of knowing what other games existed.
Which looking back on it, that is a super smart parenting move.
I remember my cousins always having more systems/games than I did so it was always a treat to play Duck Hunt and Dr. Mario while at their house.

What is your favorite game of all time?

I feel like this is an impossible question. I also have a very overdone answer: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It is just a game that I can always come back to. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve played through the entire thing.
Also Kingdom Hearts but that has A LOT to do with being a Disney fanatic.
And I mean I did dedicate years of my life to World of Warcraft……
But I also love board games…. yup impossible question.

What do you do for fun when not playing video games?

I work for a software company as a Development Operations Tech. My entire office is very nerdcentric so playing games while on lunch isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
I also help run a charity called This is Geek. We run a video game convention, 2D Con, locally in Minnesota as well as help out other organizations so it is not uncommon for every weekend to have some event going on weather I am staffing or just there to represent my charity. 
I love to workout and read. And of course there is a lot of sword fighting on the swing set, bike rides and trips to the zoo/museum/insert fun educational facility here.

How do you balance gaming and family life?

My family life is my gaming life.
Obviously through the infant/diaper/no sleep stages I basically quit gaming altogether.
At that time I was a single mom working full time and going to school so once bedtime rolled around I was either exhausted or studying.
Fast forward through potty training and sleepless nights and my now 5 year old son, James, can kick my butt in Mario Party, Tsuro, munchkin and is anxious to play any game.
A weekend favorite is just hanging out on the couch playing some Disney Infinity together.
But overall family will always come first and not just my own.
Fun fact: Any child age 13 or under requires a parent to be present so 2D Con follows those rules by allowing one free parent per family with children age 13 or under at time of event.
Family and transparency are two of our largest business models. I try my best to bridge the gap between parents and kids.
I am his parent first but James will always be my best friend.

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