Apply to Artsy Games Incubator: Animation Edition

AGI: Animation Edition

The Artsy Games Incubator: Animation Edition is a 6-week game making workshop for animators! The program is focused on artists with animation backgrounds who are interested in the creative possibilities of videogames, but who have little to no experience with programming or game making software. Participants will each make their own game, while being introduced to tools, guest mentors, and community resources that will further their exploration of the interactive medium. At the end of the program, they will also have the opportunity to showcase their work at TAAFI (Toronto Animation Arts Festival International) in June 2014. By making videogame creation more accessible to a wider variety of artistic practices, AGI: Animation Edition hopes to continue the exploration of game art beyond 8-bit pixels and ultra-realistic CGI, into more diverse and expressionistic territory.

Number of participants: 6
Cost: FREE!

Toronto Animated Image Society
1411 Dufferin St, Unit B (just north of Dupont)
Runs every Thursday from APRIL 3 to MAY 8 (6 sessions)
6:30 – 9:30 pm
Coordinators: Matt Hammill (Asteroid Base) and Sagan Yee (Hand Eye Society)


Please fill out this form by March 26.  We will select and inform our 6 applicants in the last week of March, before the first session on April 3.

No programming experience is needed, although some familiarity with computers and digital art-making software such as Adobe Photoshop may help. We are primarily looking for applicants with prior experience in animation and basic knowledge of its fundamentals, though there are no restrictions on the visual styles and techniques practiced. If you have any questions, please contact program coordinator Sagan Yee at

Historical Note: While the original Artsy Games Incubators (2007-2009) involved any kind of artists, this new AGI series will focus on specific artforms. Animation is the first, and a writing-focused incubator will follow in the fall. Subscribe to the HES mailing list if you’d like updates or hear how to apply.

This program was made possible by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. The artwork above was created by Matt Hammill.

AGI: Animation Logos

March 2014 Game Event Roundup

Toronto folks at GDC 2011

It’s March, so we all know what means: it’s GDC month! This year there is a fair amount of Toronto representation at the San Francisco conference, so be sure to read below to see who’s nominated for what prize, as well as a look back at how Toronto folks have faired at IGF in the past few years. All the GDC and IGF announcements will follow the regularly scheduled Digest items. (Above: Toronto contingent at GDC 2011 searches for a cell signal, courtesy Mark Rabo.)

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.


March Events

Saturday, March 1 – Sunday, March 2: Board Game Jam

Monday, March 3: Games with Friends #52

Wednesday, March 5: Pre-GDC OMDC Meet-and-Greet

Friday, March 7: Long Winter 2.5, with games curated by TOJam

Thursday, March 13: She Got Game Launch Party

Monday, March 17: Games with Friends #53

Thursday, March 20: Introduction to Game-Making Tools

Saturday, March 22: DMG March Social

Wednesday, March 26: Torontaru

Wednesday, March 26: DMG Open Studio/Workshop Session

Wednesday, March 26: Meet the Artists: Jim Munroe and Jonathan Mak

Wednesday, March 26: Bad Dog Epic Wednesdays: The Video Game Show

Friday, March 28: Dames Playing Games #2: Girly Board Games

Saturday, March 29: #DMGTalks 3: Freelancers Rights and Union Literacy

Monday, March 31: Games with Friends #54

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 3.24.36 PM

Local Game Releases

Necrophone Games released Jazzpunk!

The Yawhg hit Steam!

The ezine Flushed was released, and contains the Twine games as {f}art by Soha El-Sabaawi.

Not to stop there with Twine, Soha El-Sabaawi also released reProgram (pictured above).


Toronto Folks In The Media

The 2014 Canadian Video Awards were announced and the nominees include: Pipe Trouble, Actual Sunlight, Guacamelee!, Rogue Legacy, and The Yawhg.

Kris Ligman wrote about Fancy Video Game Party for Gamasutra. Gamezebo got in on the Fancy Video Game Party fun, too. You can also check it out on BlogTO Alex Hayter was interviewed about 5 Things Not to Miss at Fancy Video Game Party over at Dorkshelf.  And finally, the event was also previewed in the Torontoist.  

For footage of the actual event, check out Inner Space‘s look at Fancy Video Game party.

Jazzpunk was reviewed over at Polygon! Also read more about it on PC Gamer.  AND also on CBC.  OH, and Giant Bomb and Have I mentioned Jazzpunk was released?

Christine Love’s Even Cowgirls Bleed was up a Valentine’s Day themed-post over at The Guardian.

Guacamelee! was spotted on Haywire Magazine’s List of Games We Liked in 2013. This list also includes Christine Love’s Hate Plus  and merritt kopas’ s Consensual  Torture Simulator.  It also featured Starseed Pilgrim  and Rogue Legacy.

The Star talks to Jim Munroe about the Hand Eye Society’s Torontrons.

Capy Games was named one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Game Companies by Fast Company.

Stage Select Expo got covered by Indie Statik!

Now Toronto did an awesome write-up of Vector.

Rollers of the Realm was nominated for a Gamer’s Voice Award at SXSW!

And it’s a Toronto Twine takeover, as Soha El-Sabaawi’s reProgram and Kaitlin Tremblay’s Lights Out, Please were featured on Rock, Paper, Shotgun.


Gamemaking Help Offered/Wanted and Special Calls

People write in to say:

“I love writing music and I find being able to contribute to projects extremely rewarding. I’ve always wanted to write music for a video game but was never sure how to go about doing so. Learning about the hand eye society was very exiting! In the past I’ve composed for a Canadian short film that was shown internationally, a limited production play, music for college and university students and even had a piece played on the CBC. I have a bit of experience restoring arcade cabinets if anyone needs some advice or if that’s helpful at all. I’ve just signed up for a soundcloud account so my music can be sampled. Please contact Nik Stewart.”

“My name is Brent Pollard, and I’m looking for opportunities to get involved in video game design and development, in addition to learning how to use tools like Unity and various programming languages. I love creating things, and am very good at writing and editing. I would love to get involved with a project of any size – and feel free to email me with any writing or editing requests. Please contact Brent Pollard.”

“Greetings! Avi Kohl, 3D Generalist at your service and soon to be relocating to Toronto. 3 years ago, I discovered Blender and the rest is history. Please contact Avi Kohl.”

Not what you’re looking for? You can also check out the Help Offered/Wanted board for earlier postings.

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 3.21.25 PM

And We’re Off To GDC and IGF!

OMDC presents The Ontario Social at GDC with partners Interactive Ontario and the Hand Eye Society on Thurs. March 20th, 6-8pm. Invite only, email Kim Gibson for details.

GDC IndieMegaBooth lineup includes Asteroid Base’s Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime.

MK-Ultra Games will be at GDC with Knight and Damsel. Castle Pixel will also be there with Rex Rocket.

Phantom Compass will be at GDC Play with Rollers of the Realm. As will Rocket 5 Studios with The Phantom P.I.


GDC Panels Featuring Local Games Folk

Monday, March 17: Rogue Legacy Design Postmortem: Budget Development: feat. Kenny Lee and Teddy lee (Cellar Door Games)

Monday, March 17: Massively Multiplayer: A Dozen Schools Teach Together, Collaboratively and Competitively: Steve Engels (University of Toronto)

Tuesday, March 18: Super Time Force: Solving the Time Travel Paradox: feat. Kenneth Yeung (Capy Games)

Wednesday, March 19: What Modern Interior Design Teaches Us About Environment Art: Dan Cox (Ubisoft Toronto)

Wednesday, March 19: Indie Game Public Relations: 5 Years of Painful Lessons: Chris McQuinn (Drinkbox Studios)

Wednesday, March  19: Make Things Worse: Enabling Setbacks for Consequential Play: Patrick Redding (Ubisoft Toronto)

Thursday, March 20: #lostlevels

Thursday, March 20: Learning from our Mistakes: A Postmortem of Guacamelee!: Chris Harvey (Drinkbox Studios)

Thursday, March 20: Enter the Stage: Cinematic Dialogue in Performance Capture: Richie Nieto (Ubisoft Toronto)

Thursday, March 20: Bridging the Gap Between Your Audio Engine and Your Game: Sean Lohrisch (Capy Games)

Friday, March 21: Curating Video Game Culture: The New Wave of Video Game Events: feat. Jim Munroe (Hand Eye Society)

Friday, March 21: Super Spy Crash Course: Teaching Players in Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Laurent Malville (Ubisoft Toronto)

Friday, March 21: Modernizing Splinter Cell’s Gunplay: James Everett (Ubisoft Toronto)


IGF 2014 Toronto-based Nominees

Seumas McNally Grand Prize: Jazzpunk. Honourable mentions include The Yawhg.

Excellence in Design: Honourable mentions include The Yawhg.

Excellence in Audio: The Yawhg. Honourable mentions include Jazzpunk.

Excellence in Narrative: The Yawhg.

2014 IGF Main Competition Finalists: Jazzpunk and The Yawhg.


A Look Back at IGF

2013: Guacamelee! and Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime were nominated for Excellence in Visual Art. Starseed Pilgrim was nominated for Excellence in Design. Guacamelee!, Starseed Pilgrim, and Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime were also nominated for the 2013 IGF Main Competition.

2012: Super T.I.M.E. Force won the Microsoft XBLA Award. It was also nominated for the 2012 IGF Main Competition.


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

What Does a Fancy Videogame Party Look Like?

Last Friday’s sold-out Fancy Videogame Party saw over 600 people attend our huge event at the Art Gallery of Ontario, celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Hand Eye Society in collaboration with The Wild Rumpus.


With attendees dressed in everything from tuxedos and ball gowns to t-shirts and cosplay, the party presented a diverse selection of video games from across the globe. Games such as Towerfall: Ascension and Nidhogg (both above) drew large audiences thanks to their competitive play.


The AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre proved to be the perfect venue for the night, with multiple levels, a “floating” seminar room, two bars, and various private nooks for relaxation and out-of-the-ordinary interactive experiences all set to a luxurious backdrop of concrete and glass.


One of the busiest areas for the night was JS Joust, a physical game played with motion controllers that challenged players to a 7-person last-one-standing battle.


The Interstellar Selfie Station: Print Club Edition was a non-stop human turnstile of party-goers grabbing selfie stickers of themselves in pixelated art style.


With a huge backdrop of games projected behind them, the night’s DJs Ryan Henwood (above), Dualryan and Coins set the party mood with their fantastic tunes, much of which has been featured in popular Toronto-made indie games.


Community partners Site3 coLaboratory helped us to build Splintercade machines, on which players could battle in rounds of Turnover and Tether.


Media coverage was great too!  SPACE TV (pictured) did a terrific 3 minute video, and the party was also featured in the National Post, Torontoist, Vice, CanoeGamezebo, Dorkshelf, Toronto Star & Got Game.


Thanks to community partners Vector Game + Art Convergence Festival, the party also hosted a roaming arcade backpack by the UCLA Game Lab.


Toughest-sport-in-the-world Super Pole Riders was previewed in its PlayStation 4 build, making for one of the more uproarious games at the party.


The massive space made for an interesting atmosphere that felt half-nightclub, half-gallery (but by all reports, all-fun). Tenya Wanya Teens with its special multi-coloured-many-buttoned controller was also featured in on the bottom floor alongside The Yawhg, both of which provided more narrative-driven offerings to the crowd.


While two large capacity areas hosted the bulk of attendees, a private room complete with bean bags and loungers was available for those desiring a chill-out space along with the visuals and sounds of Panoramical, played using a special midi controller.

More photos:





Photos: Dean Tomlinson (w/ AGO watermark) and Stephen Reese (Hand Eye Society).

How did you enjoy the Fancy Videogame Party? Feel free to sent comments/pictures to


Super Pole Riders (Bennett Foddy)

Towerfall: Ascension (Matt Thorson)

Nidhogg (Messhof)

JS Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)

Interstellar Selfie Station: Print Club Edition (Love Conquers All Games & Nadine Lessio)

Turnover (Chad Toprak, Kalonica Quigley, Rhys Van Der Waerden, Shannon Barnes and Arden Beckwith)

Tether (Matt Rix, Dan Cox & Whitaker Trebella)

Panoramical (Fernando Ramallo & David Kanaga)

Tenya Wanya Teens (Uvula, Wild Rumpus & Venus Patrol)

The Yawhg (Damian Sommer & Emily Carroll)


Ryan Henwood




Splintercade (Jonatan Van Hove)

UCLA Game Lab Arcade Backpack (UCLA Game Lab)


The sold out FANCY VIDEOGAME PARTY is almost here! Fanciness levels are now at a “9″ on the party scale and awkward dancing is ready to commence this Friday, February 21.

Today we’re announcing the complete lineup for the party, curated by the Hand Eye Society with rambunctious co-organizers The Wild Rumpus and hosted by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

With an anticipated audience of almost 700 attendees, tickets are now completely sold out. If you’ve got a ticket, we look forward to celebrating 5 years of the Hand Eye Society with you! If not, try your best hunting for tickets on Twitter or the Facebook event page!

For details from the initial lineup announcement — including The YawhgTetherInterstellar Selfie Station PRINT CLUB EDITION, Tenya Wanya TeensJS Joust and Nidhogg – see our previous post.


Featured DJs

Ryan Henwood (Toronto)

Ryan Henwood

Ryan Henwood is a sound designer and musician working on the upcoming Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime and The Phantom P.I. He wears the mask of vocoding to bring happy dancey space music to the masses.

Dualryan (Toronto)


Ryan Roth aka Dualryan is an ambient electronic artist whose music has been featured in indie game hits such as The Yawhg, Electronic Super Joy and Starseed Pilgrim.

Coins (Toronto)


Performing under the moniker “Coins,” Peter Chapman has had music in Mod Nation Racers and Tales From Space: About a Blob and its sequel Mutant Blobs Attack. Best described as “Electro house chippy tune dance party.”


Gaming Fanciness

Towerfall: Ascension
by Matt Thorson (Vancouver)


This competitive arena battle game pits four players against one another in intense archery combat matches alongside a macabre collection of power-ups. Out on the Ouya now as Towerfall and coming to PC & PS4 as Towerfall: Ascension in 2014!

Pole Riders
by Bennett Foddy


Perhaps the most difficult sport ever conceived by humankind, Pole Riders challenges two combatants to knock a ball into their opponent’s zone. The catch? The ball’s attached to a wire and you each have to use a giant pole to reach it. Eat your heart out, Olympics.

by Chad Toprak, Kalonica Quigley, Rhys Van Der Waerden, Shannon Barnes and Arden Beckwith


Best described as a “A four player multigravity steal-the-ball-n-run frenzy,” Turnover is the most likely game at the party to give you an enjoyable amount of vertigo. Turnover will be played on our custom-made Splintercade game boards — see below!

by Fernando Ramallo (Berlin) & David Kanaga (Oakland)


PANORAMICAL is an album of interactive musical landscapes with analog controls, a series of morphing musical places for players to explore, fiddle and immerse in. Setup in a private chill space at the party, PANORAMICAL is coming to PC/Mac in 2014!


Hardware Hacking Wizardry

UCLA Game Lab Arcade Backpack
Concept by UCLA Game Lab (Los Angeles), design by Steven Amrhein (Los Angeles)

Photo by Myleen Hollero

This videogame arcade backpack will be touring throughout the Fancy Videogame Party, featuring games such as Burn & Turn (Peter Lu),  Scratch Race (Mark Essen) and Cruise Control (Eddo Stern). Brought to the Fancy Videogame Party thanks to local community partner Vector: Game + Art Convergence Festival, taking place Feb 19-23, 2014.

Designed by Jonatan Van Hove (Copenhagen), copy built by Site3 coLaboratory (Toronto)


Thanks to our wonderful Toronto-based community partner Site3 coLaboratory, we’ll have playable Splintercade arcade machines at the party. The Splintercade is a mixed material display platform designed by Jonatan Van Hove that is played on the floor, at standing height.

Torontrons at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Photo: Nick Kozak

As this Toronto Star article reports, our iconic indie arcade cabinets are now available for free play to the public in the AGO’s Community Gallery as a part of an exhibit called AGO: Artsy Games Organizing. It also features infographics showing the world-wide spread of the Torontron idea and a timeline of Toronto’s game community over the past five years.

You can check out the exhibit at the Fancy Videogame Party, if you were lucky enough to get tickets to our birthday bash before they sold out last week. If not, access to the Weston Family Community Gallery is free during AGO hours and the exhibit runs until March 21st. (And feel free to come by the Artist-In-Residence Studio down the hall to say hi!)

We’re currently taking applications for venues to host the cabinets after that. We’re also looking at upgrading the hardware, so if you have an old PC you’d consider donating please get in touch.

Tickets are still available for the final game-related AGO event, Meet the Artists: Jim Munroe, Mark Connery & Jonathan Mak.

Photo: Nick Kozak, Toronto Star

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