Game Curious?

Game Curious is about exploring the untapped art of video games, for people who don’t necessarily identify as “gamers”. It’s a no-pressure learning environment of discussion, discovery and play, with the opportunity to connect with local storytellers who love the medium.

If traditional literacy is reading and writing, game literacy is playing and making.

Game Curious starts with a series of six PLAY sessions where we curate a selection of games aimed at showcasing the wide variety of themes, stories, and artistic expression that exist within the medium, with a special focus on locally made games. The first hour is an open arcade where people can wander in and play a variety of videogames that have been chosen to fit a particular theme. The second hour of these sessions is dedicated to group discussion, where participants are encouraged to talk about the games and share their thoughts about their play experiences.

 

The MAKE sessions, which take place right after the PLAY sessions, are a 6-week game-making workshop where participants learn to create their own videogame project using free and widely available tools and programs; no prior programming skills required! This part of the program is also free, but there will be a registration and selection process as there are limited spaces.

This program is free and open to the public. It is geared towards individuals 14+. Those under 14 should be accompanied by an adult because some of the games contain mature themes. All staff and participants are expected to comply with our Safer Spaces Policy, which helps ensure an inclusive and secure environment for everyone. Please contact info@handeyesociety.com if you have any questions or concerns!

FAQ

Q: How long does Game Curious run for?

A: It runs for 12 weeks: 6 weeks PLAY, 6 weeks MAKE. All sessions take place on Saturday. See details above for exact dates (we have to skip April 9 due to scheduling conflicts).

 

Q: Do I have to pre-register or pay?

A: Game Curious is always free and open to everyone! You may have to check in as part of the Ryerson Launch Zone’s security policy, but there is no formal registration required for the PLAY sessions and you can drop in and out as you please. The MAKE sessions have a limited amount of space but we will provide more details during the PLAY sessions about how to get involved.

 

Q: I don’t really play videogames / I haven’t played a videogame for years / I only play casual games on my phone! Is this program for me?

A: Yes, absolutely! Game Curious is aimed at people who are curious about videogames; no more, no less. Whether you’re an artist, a parent, an activist, or haven’t picked up a controller in years, we feel there is a game out there for everyone (or perhaps, you will be the one to make it!)

 

Q: I’m a hardcore gamer/game developer. Is this program for me?

A: We welcome everyone to the PLAY sessions; however, if you are already well-established within the gaming community or industry, we ask that you try and bring along a friend who may not be as familiar with games but would like to know more. You can also volunteer, be a guest speaker, or offer to help mentor for the MAKE sessions! Just e-mail the coordinators at ken@handeyesociety.com

We also ask that you please be respectful when commenting or playing the games. We are all here to learn from each other and our lived experiences, so keep in mind that everyone has something to contribute regardless of their background or previous familiarity with videogames.

 

Q: What kinds of games will we be playing and discussing?

A: In previous years we have showcased videogames that cover a huge range of themes and experiences, including drone warfare, senior retirement homes, working in a call centre, living with depression, oil pipelines, and queer coming-of-age stories. There are games with no death or win/lose conditions; games about exploring mysterious worlds or having psychedelic musical experiences; incredibly sophisticated simulators and games that pack entire philosophical arguments into 5 minutes. Some of the themes we’ve covered in each session include: Games set in Toronto; Life, Love, and Death; Art Games; Education, Science and Politics; and much more!

Of course, we welcome suggestions for other games to play or to show-and-tell, as long as they comply with the spirit of the event and our Safer Spaces Policy. If there’s a game or topic you’d like to see covered, feel free to e-mail us or even bring it up during group discussion!

 

Q: Will participants learn how to make games?

A: The PLAY sessions are more about exploring different types of games and discussing them from a variety of perspectives. The MAKE sessions are all about learning to make a videogame; however, there are limited spaces available and we will be prioritizing participants who attend the PLAY sessions.

 

Q: My child is under 14. Can they still participate?

A: Yes, as long as permission is given by their legal guardian or if they are accompanied by an adult.

 

 

Q: Wow, this is awesome! I wish there was a program like this in my area…

A: Actually, we recently got funding from ReFIG to partner with the Mount Royal Game Society to help start Game Curious Montreal! With two research assistants attending the programs in each city, we hope to compile a documentation package that could help people in other communities start similar initiatives of their own. (They don’t have to be called Game Curious —  the information will be freely available for people to use as they like!) Watch this space for more information on the results of this research.

 

For further questions or comments, contact coordinators Ken Cho or Al Donato:
ken@handeyesociety.com
al@handeyesociety.com

Know a neigbourhood or community who would be interested
in a sampler of the kind of programming we do? Or just interested in volunteering and getting involved?

Exploring the Untapped Art of Video Games

Are there any video games that don’t involve shooting and killing?
I’m interested in games, but gamer culture turns me off.
What’s the difference between a platformer and an RPG?
Don’t you have to be good at games to enjoy playing them?
Aren’t video games only for young people?
How can games be used for personal creative expression?
What role can games play in art, science and education?
How can games connect me to real people and real issues?
I want to tell stories using games, but I don’t know how to program!

If you find yourself asking these questions and wanting to know more, then you might be Game Curious!

Program recaps, with photos and video:

 

 

For more information on this program, including informational resources and pop-up arcades and workshops, please contact: info@handeyesociety.com

The current program coordinator of Game Curious is Ken Cho, and the program manager is Jim Munroe. Sagan Yee was the former coordinator from 2013-2015. Game Curious is generously funded and supported by the following organizations: The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Art Starts, the Ryerson Launch Zone, the Ryerson Transmedia Zone, ReFIG, and the Mount Royal Game Society.

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