How You Can Help the Game Curious? Program

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“What kind of movies do you like?”

“I don’t like movies. Too violent.”

Sounds silly, right? But that conversation happens all the time, just with “games” instead of “movies”. Lots of people confuse a single well-known genre with the totality of the medium.

But we believe there’s a game for everyone, just like there’s a book for everyone. Not everyone is an avid reader, but thanks to a cultural literacy around books, pretty much everyone has an appreciation for them.

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Game Curious? is a game literacy program to help people become familiar and comfortable with games. People who have never identified as gamers, but who are none-the-less interested in exploring the breadth of expression currently blossoming in games.

If you are reading this, you are probably familiar and comfortable with games! But you can still participate:

Bring a game curious friend (or two) to our first session.

Your game curious friend is perhaps that friend whose eyes don’t glaze over when you talk about a game you like. Whose eyes linger on the games on your phone. Maybe it’s your aunt, or a cousin, your boyfriend, or the friend who’s up for doing anything so long as it’s interesting.

Half of each session people get to play a selection of games, and the second half is a discussion about those games. Sagan Yee, who ran the last amazing Game Curious? program as well as our recent Artsy Games Incubator, is curating and coordinating again.

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It starts Saturday Sept. 13 and runs for six weeks. Here are the details:

Saturdays 1-3pm
Toronto Reference Library
(Browsery, Main Floor)
789 Yonge St. (Bloor-Yonge subway station)
FREE!
Recommended for ages 16+
Facebook Event

More information and an optional registration here.

If you have any questions, email Sagan!

 

September 2014 Game Event Roundup

Our not-too-long, not-so-hot Canadian summer has come to an end, and hopefully you’re ready to face September, a.k.a. the Monday of months. If you feel like hiding under your covers indefinitely, we’ve got a few new Toronto indie games for you to play. Or, if you feel like getting out and enjoying the last of the warm weather, we’ve got a some more gaming events you can attend. So face your return to school or work with your chin up, secure in the knowledge that you’ve got lots you can do when it’s quitting time. Don’t forget to check out the Toronto Gaming Calendar, which will be updated as more events become announced throughout the month. (Remember, the calendar can also be added to your googlecal.) Note only the events marked with an asterisk are Hand Eye events — for the rest, we’re just signal boosting for this amazing community.

Game Curious? poster variant by Sagan Yee

Toronto Game Events

* Saturday, September 13: Game Curious? Play and Discussion group begins (alternate poster pictured above)

Saturday, September 13: DMG September Speaker’s Social, featuring Sarah Anne Drew of Every1games

Wednesday, September 17: Playing Nice in the Sandbox: Legal Considerations for Collaborative Content Creation by Artists’ Legal Advice Services (ALAS).

* Saturday, September 20: Game Curious? Play and Discussion group

Saturday, September 20: DMGtalks: Gigs and careers in fandom and geek culture

Wednesday, September 24th: Torontaru

* Saturday, September 27: Game Curious? Play and Discussion group

Monday, September 29: ArtsVote will be running a mayoral debate around how Toronto can better support arts and culture — perhaps also videogame arts?

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Local Game Releases

Depression Quest is a browser-based text adventure game, exploring the realities of living with depression. It’s been available online for some time, but now it’s gotten a free release on Steam.

A bird game that’s actually beatable! Lucky Mask Games has released Fishy Feathers for free on the iTunes App Store. You control a diving bird collecting food and avoiding predators, and helping it grow into a majestic bird of prey.

Brandon Gardiner has released the delightfully bizarre Drunk Cloud on both iTunes and Android, in which you control a cloud stumbling home from the bar, collecting hot dogs, and avoiding happy clouds trying to “harsh his buzz.”

Uken Games has launched Titans, a collectible card-based fantasy RPG. The original soundtrack is also available, composed by DMG-er Maggie McLean.

 

Toronto Folks In The Media

The first issue of Two Clones, an online magazine about games, comics, and fandom in general, has been released, including contributions from Toronto devs and Hand Eye members. Check it out — grab a free issue before 5pm on Sept 1st!

Bento Miso recently held a workshop on how to apply for Ontario’s Interactive Digital Media Fund, and recorded the talk, hosted by Kim Gibson,  for posterity. If you’re an indie dev, and want government capital, check it out.

Coinciding with the Steam release, Kill Screen has an article on Depression Quest.

Asteroid Base’s Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime has been selected as one of the titles in this year’s Fantastic Arcade, at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. It also appeared at Pax Prime as part of the Indie Megabooth, as did N++ and Analogue: A Hate Story.

Ben Rivers announced his new game Alone With You will be a Playstation 4 and Vita exclusive.

 

Special Announcements

Dames Making Games has launched the Codex, a database and resource of the organization’s members and creations.

SXSW interactive 2015 has a novel feature where you vote for which panels will be featured at the show. The folks behind LongStory, along with Bento Miso, could be presenting a panel entitled “But where’s the market for that?!” on the role of community in helping unique titles find their audience, as well as an analysis of market-driven innovation. Help the community out, and vote here.

 

Gamemaking Help Offered/Wanted

Kaitlin Tremblay is looking for short horror stories to use in her upcoming game, Lights Out, Please. If you’re a crafty writer of things spooky, throw your hat (or pen) into the arena.

Rocket 5 Studios is looking for an experienced Unity game programmer for a high profile, short term contract gig starting in early September and wrapping up mid-November. Unity and C# skills required. We’re looking for someone who is easy to work with. It’s a bonus if you’ve shipped a few games. If you’re interested, or if you know anyone who may, feel free to pass this along. Contact hello@rocket5studios.com.

Dara Gold is a Toronto based 2D game artist and illustrator. She’s ready to jump in at any stage of a project, be it initial concepts and designs to final art assets, promotional materials and UI. If you’re currently in need of an artist for your video game or creative project check out www.daragold.ca or contact her at gold.dara@gmail.com.

That’s all for now! If there’s any October events or Toronto video games news, releases, and rad media coverage you want shared, don’t hesitate to pass it along to Anthony via email or to @HandEyeSociety on Twitter.

Hand Eye Rocking the Ontario Science Centre this Thursday

July at ScienceRocks!

We’re collaborating with the Ontario Science Centre for their ScienceRocks! Night this month.

ScienceROCKS! transforms the Science Centre into a music playground, where adults 19+ can rock out to live performances, engage in innovative presentations, explore the new exhibition The Science of Rock ‘N’ Roll and enjoy ROLLING STONES AT THE MAX on the IMAX® screen. Each evening event rocks a different theme, and all are accompanied by great food, cocktails and rock-it science! August 21’s theme invites you to Experiment with NEW TECHNOLOGY & MAKING MUSIC.

Here’s some of the things we’re bringing to the night:

  • See a special sneak preview of Pop Sandbox‘s upcoming music-based mobile video game featuring top Canadian indie artists.
  • Learn about Jonathan Guberman‘s research and development process for the Pianocade, a synthesizer inspired by vintage arcade games, and play a few tunes yourself.
  • Get your groove on with booty-shaking tunes from DJ Dualryan, who will be spinning a selection of electronic music ranging from ambient to trance.
  • Play through albums by Beck and deadmau5 or compose your own musical levels in Sound Shapes, an award-winning video game that is part instrument, part gaming experience.

More info and buy $15 tickets here, 19+.

Volunteer Orientation: Get Involved With the Hand Eye Society

By now many of you will have heard that membership in the Hand Eye Society is gained by those who contribute 10 hours of volunteer time to any videogame culture project in the city. Those who have contributed these hours report it at the Annual General Meeting in January, which only members are allowed to attend and vote at. It also allows them to run for the board and be hired for Hand Eye projects.

As a videogame arts not-for-profit, much of our ability to execute our initiatives comes from volunteer power. But it’s also a great way to engage with like-minded game enthusiasts and advocate for a medium you love.

Here are some of the Hand Eye Society projects we’ll be discussing our needs for:

  • Game Curious?: Our play & discussion group is starting next month, and we need to get the word out! We’ll also need people at the sessions themselves.
  • Pop-up Arcades: We’re doing game exhibitions at the Wavelength music festival and the Ontario Science Centre in August, and we need friendly people to invite people to play games.
  • WordPlay Festival: We need folks to help us help the public with the showcase of writerly games, as well as be on the program advisory team.
  • and other new projects, like the Toronto Videogame Wiki, as well as (perhaps) ideas you bring?

If you have 10 hours between now and the end of the year, it’s the perfect time to jump in!

Thurs. August 14, 6pm-7pm
Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street, North of Bloor)
Room B1, in the basement next to the Star Newspaper Room

Drop us a line if you can’t make the session & let us know which of the above appeals to you.

Free Gamemaking Incubator for Writers, One Week to Apply

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The Artsy Games Incubator: Writing Edition is focused on writers of all stripes — novelists, journalists, bloggers, scriptwriters, zinesters, poets — who are interested in the expressive possibilities of videogames, but who have little to no experience with programming or gamemaking software. Meeting once a week for six weeks, participants will be introduced to tools, guest mentors, and community resources that will further their exploration of the interactive medium. By the end each will have made their own game.

After the program, they will also have the opportunity to showcase their work at WordPlay Festival of Writerly Games in Toronto as well as submit to the international Interactive Fiction Competition, now in its 20th year. By making videogame creation more accessible to a wider variety of artistic practices, AGI: Writing Edition hopes to continue the exploration of game art beyond stereotypical characters and action-driven plots into more diverse and expressionistic territory.

Our previous incubator focused on animators, and you can check out their games and video documentation here. (Please note that in contrast to these games, the games produced by the Writing Edition participants will be mostly text-based.)

PROGRAM DETAILS
Number of participants: 6
Cost: FREE!

Story Planet
1165 Bloor Street West (near Dufferin), Toronto
Runs every Wednesday from August 20 to September 24 (6 sessions)
6:30 – 9:30 pm
Coordinator: Novelist, filmmaker, and gamemaker Jim Munroe
Contact: jim@handeyesociety.com

Please fill out this form by August 13, midnight.
Update: applications are closed. We will select and inform our 6 applicants by August 15th.

No programming experience is needed, although some familiarity with computers will help. We are primarily looking for applicants with fresh writing styles and sensibilities we haven’t seen in games before, and while past experience is useful to note there are no particular requirements regarding publication.

Historical Note: While the original Artsy Games Incubators (2007-2009) involved any kind of artists, this new AGI series will focus on specific artforms. Subscribe to the HES mailing list if you’d like updates or hear how to apply to future incubators.

The Artsy Games Incubator is a Hand Eye Society initiative made possible by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. The artwork above was created by Matt Hammill.

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