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


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.)

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.



August 2014 Game Event Roundup

Crisis of the Non-Infinite Summer! August is upon us, and your time for either fun in the sun, or fun in your basement marathoning with your console and title of choice (we don’t judge) will run out before you know it. Well, with our handy calendar telling you what a Toronto gamer can get up to, you can make the most of this final month.

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.

Main Banner

Toronto Game Events

Friday, August 1-Sunday, August 3: Improv Remix, a groundbreaking video and live performance fusion!

Tuesday, August 5: Play Your Story: Art and Visual Design

Monday, August 8- Wednesday, August 10: ROM Game Jam: The Evolution Revolution (pictured)

Saturday, August 9: Dames Making Games Julivewire Showcase and August Social, featuring the playable results of their last Game Jam!

Tuesday, August 12: Play Your Story: Intro to Programming

Tuesday, August 19: Play Your Story: Sound Design

Tuesday, August 26: Play Your Story Games Showcase

Wednesday, August 27: Torontaru

New Releases

Local Game Releases

Kara Stone and Nadine Lessio’s Sext Adventure is an experimental hypertext game played from your phone, and it’s been making waves in the media. Come see what the chatter’s all about.

The Phantom PI: Mission Apparition  (pictured) is a spooky adventure game set in a huge haunted mansion. In the words of the developer, it tasks you with “helping deceased rock’n’roll legend Marshal Staxx escape the torment of a larcenous poltergeist named Baublebelly.” What’s not to love? It’s available for iPhone and iPad.

After much delay, TO Game Jam creation PondScum finally sees release for Android. It’s difficult to describe what it is. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

Drink Box Game’s Guacamelee! proved popular enough that they’ve put out a Super Turbo Championship Edition for the PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U.

Finally, we have Buzzle, a combination endless runner/puzzle game for the iOS where you guide Charly Ironfly through 4 unique, obstacle-filled worlds. The game’s currently featured on the front page of GreatApps.


Toronto Folks In The Media

Blog TO has been kind enough to provide a list of the best gaming nights and groups in Toronto. Take a look, and you might see some familiar names.

Didn’t believe me about Sext Adventure getting all that attention? It’s gotten coverage in Wired, Motherboard, and The Mary Sue.

Pocket Gamer is covering Phantom PI’s big win at the Big Indie Pitch in San Francisco.

Polygon has written a piece on the depiction of mental health in gaming, including mentions of indie title There Are Monsters Under Your Bed.

Meanwhile, Toronto indie game designer merritt kopas has written a lengthy, fascinating article for Lambda Literary about indie hypertext games and trans women.

Retro Runner: Princess Power has shown up on Gaming Rant as their Featured Indie.

Finally, Shu’s Garden got written up in The Guardian.


Special Announcements

Submissions are now open for the Gamercamp 2014 interactive & games festival. If you’re a game maker, don’t miss this chance to show your work off. Early bird submissions are on now until early August. Submissions in general finish the first week of September. Apply now! The festival runs October 17 to 19.

Createrra is developing a new tactical strategy RPG, Empyrios. You can follow their progress on their blog.

Mana Crowd is a Toronto-based company dedicated to supporting indie games by serving as a combination crowdfunder and game publisher. The live beta of their site has just been launched.

Attila “Gabriel” Branyiczky, a Toronto-based indie developer, is Kickstarting a new title, “Robo’s World: The Zarnok Fortress.” A 2D action platformer set on a giant spaceship, it’s described by the creator as “Majora’s Mask cross Mega Man.” It’s been shown off at Bento Miso’s Games with Friends, and will appear at Con Bravo 2014. For more information, and to help the game out, check out the Kickstarter page.


Gamemaking Help Offered/Wanted

My name is Gillian Blekkenhorst, and I’m a freelance production illustrator. I have experience doing UI layout design and pitch illustration for game design packages,  2D asset creation including sprite animation, backgrounds and a bit of 3D modelling, and good old fashioned illustration for books, board games, or concept art. You can see my portfolio at http://blekkenhorst.ca

That’s all for now! If there’s any September 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 on Twitter.

The Games and People of Artsy Games Incubator: Animation Edition

The Artsy Games Incubator: Animation Edition was a 6-week game making workshop for animators that we ran a few months back.

Check out the video about it that includes gameplay footage of the games that the participants made as well as shots of their TAAFI panel.

Then download their games and play them yourself!

The next Artsy Games Incubator is for writers and will be starting very soon. If you’re not already, make sure you’re subscribed to the Hand Eye email updates for info on how to apply.


CrumbQuest (Lilja Hlín Pétursdóttir)
Download (30.8m, cross platform .swf)



Keys (Debbie Yu)
Download (4.7m, Windows .exe)



Dream Warrior (Paloma Dawkins)
Download (37.5m, Windows .exe)



Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods (Christopher de Castro)
Download (7.6m, Windows .exe)

Futility (Mike McDonnell)
Download (7.2m, cross platform .swf)

Thanks much to the mentors, our partners, the instructors and the participants themselves for sharing the betas of their games.

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