16 Jun Comics vs Games: TCAF-feinated Recap!

Wow, Comics vs Games is already a month in the rearview mirror! Let’s take a look back at one of our most successful cross-disciplinary events, which takes place every year during the Toronto Comic Arts Festival at the Toronto Reference Library and seems to get bigger and busier every year. Sharing space with even more comic goodness on the second floor, our arcade of 32 game exhibitors benefited from loads of traffic and even some local news attention as the two-day comics festival attracted twenty thousand people from all over the country and beyond. We were incredibly fortunate to have OMDC as our sponsor this year, as well as a fantastic lineup of exhibitors and speakers, some of whom were kind enough to share their feedback and positive experiences below. We’ve even got photos this time! Yay!

Some highlights: A lively discussion about Twitch streaming as a platform for artists to engage their audiences online; constant lineups to try the VR Superhero game; microtalks on every subject from designing games for colour-blindness to the digital hybridity of comic and game art; and inventive table displays including a moss-covered keyboard, helium balloons, and an entire papercraft Russian castle! Click here for the full list and summary of every game and speaker.

For feedback or inquiries about Comics vs Games and the Hand Eye Society, or to submit corrections to this post, please contact the team at cvsg@handeyesociety.com! And if you’re currently working on a game, consider exhibiting with us at next year’s TCAF. There are no restrictions on the types of games that are selected; as long as you can be physically present with your game at the festival, you are eligible to submit! Sign up for our newsletter to get next year’s announcements.

Finally, as a reminder to those of you who are Hand Eye Society members, you can keep celebrating your love of comics, graphic novels and sequential art all year round with a 10% discount off regular titles at the following stores:  The Beguiling, Little Island, and Page & Panel: The TCAF Shop.

Photos by Beck Sorley

IMG_2836HES banner

Here’s  a Dropbox link to the full photo set!


The show was a great experience for our whole team. We had a blast, met cool people and most of all it was a powerful experience. Having people of all ages play our game and show excitement was incredibly rewarding and invaluable. — Kyle, Project Grand Vault

The diversity in players at CvsG was inspiring. It presented us with an interesting opportunity to see how a truly general public perceives our game. Unlike other festivals which focused on more traditional gamers, CvsG offered us a space to see what folks from all walks of life thought of our game. The diversity in audience was match by the diversity of the curation. This resulted in an event which showed people the wide breath of games in a way which is rarely done so effectively. — Maurice Grela, No Holds Billiards

Comics vs Games is always one of the highlights of TCAF. The Hand Eye Society works tirelessly to bring interesting speakers together in unique ways and exhibit games that are truly important–and it shows. I was honored to be a part of the CvsG programming after so many years of being a fan, and what I learned from my fellow panelists can’t even be measured. — Kalervo A. Sinervo, microtalks panelist

Comics vs Games was a lot of fun, and everyone who ran it was a pleasure to work with! I hope to attend again in the coming years. — Dawn, Those Without Shadows

It was a great chance to exhibit for a slice of society that you don’t necessarily see at videogame conventions and aren’t necessarily diehard gamers. I got a lot of invaluable observations from playtesting that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. I’m not really a big comics fan, so it was also a mind-broadening experience to merely be around a bunch of creators from a medium I don’t really interact with. — Kenny, Sky Rogue

We loved attending Comics vs Games, and got to meet a whole bunch of cool new people and introduce our game to hundreds and hundreds of new fans! — exhibitor

Comics vs Games was a great way to show Real Army Simulator to a whole new audience! — Derek Quenneville, Real Army Simulator

This year’s event went extremely well. It was fun, our volunteers were diligent and helpful, and there was even time for me to get to play some of the games. 🙂 — Kai Winter, HES volunteer coordinator

I had a lot of fun, met awesome people and everyone from TCAF were really helpful. — Rafael Pacheco, GalaCollider 

For exhibitors like us, I believe you measure the success of an event to the professionalism of the organizers. So it’s with no doubt that I would say this event was a huge success. Thank you everyone and see you next year! — Mark Mikulec, Cupkins

As the biggest event I’ve ever presented at, I expected to see some backlash regarding the themes within my game An/Other. Instead, I received nothing but overwhelmingly positive feedback from all players. At around noon on Saturday, I received a tap on the shoulder. Much to my surprise, it was a reporter from CityNews who had heard about An/Other and wanted to feature it on the news that day. After giving me some time to mentally prepare, the reported returned with their cameraman and they interviewed me and filmed my booth. The segment featuring my interview and An/Other was broadcast on CityNews that night.

In addition to the wonderful TCAF attendees who played An/Other all weekend, I met several people on Sunday who came to play An/Other after discovering it through that CityNews interview and have been getting e-mails from others. Over the course of the weekend I had many amazing conversations with audiences about An/Other that wouldn’t have been possible without the Comics Vs Games exhibit at TCAF. Thank you for giving me such an invaluable and unforgettable experience. — Jordan Sparks, An/Other

Thanks to our speakers!

Benjamin Rivers, Keith Makse, Yifat Shaik, Derek Quenneville, Kalervo A. Sinervo. Alex Rushdy and Andrew Baillie, Leisha RiddelNic ter Horst, Rosemary Brennan, Shawn Mcgrath, Rachel Kahn


Thanks to our exhibitors!

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build – Alan Hazelden, Benjamin Davis, Ryan Roth
Aces Over Eights – 14 Hours Productions
Alea – Paloma Dawkins, Cale Bradbury, Caila Thompson
An/Other – Jordan Sparks
Auto Age: Standoff – Phantom Compass Inc.
Balloon Buoyancy – Nawaf Bahadur, Peter Harthen
Bravery Network – Gloam Collective
Cryptark – Alien Trap Games
Cupkins – Joydrop Ltd
Dodge Club Party – James Montagna, George Mathews, Lindsay Collins, Tommy Pedrini
Don’t Fall In The Hole – Oooweeooo
Endlight-Outside – Bigpants
GalaCollider – NeoCrux Ltd
Hackers Versus Banksters – Crawley Software
Last Fight – Piranaking
LongStory – Bloom Digital Media
LOUD on Planet X – Pop Sandbox
No Holds Billiards – Maurice Grela, Kevan Yip, Michelle Skarupa, Em Halberstadt
Project Grand Vault – Dead Cell Games
Quick Drop – Woolly Walrus Games
Real Army Simulator – The Really Serious Game Company
Runbow – 13AM Games
SHNIPERS – Brenden Cameron
Shuyan – Mark Media
Sky Rogue – Fractal Phase
Sokobond – Alan Hazelden, Harry Lee, Ryan Roth
Super Hero VR – Red Meat Games
Those Without Shadows – Dawn Davis
Visual Novel Chill Zone – PIZZAPRANKS (Andrew Baillie)
Wits & Warfare – Red Meat Games
Za Vas (To You) – Brittney Oberfeld, Kimberly Koronya, Lee Tran, Jen Costa, Mike Romaniak

Thanks to our staff, volunteers, TCAF and sponsors!

Hand Eye Society Staff
Miguel Sternberg
Ken Cho
Sagan Yee
Leisha Riddel (Twitch panel moderator)
Kai Winters (volunteer coordinator)

Comics vs Games Volunteers
Aedan A
James Brownlee
Annie Lee
Jessie Sheng
Joshua P’ng
Archie Wisco
Jason Bond
Leif Conti-Groome
Beck Sorley (photographer)

TCAF Staff
Christopher Butcher
Miles Baker
Kim Hoang

And last but not least, a HUGE thanks to the OMDC, official sponsor of this year’s Comics vs Games program!