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.

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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

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.

July 2014 Game Event Roundup

The long, lazy summer marches on, and that same debate you’ve had since childhood continues: go outside and play, or stay in and log some serious game time. No matter your choice, with plenty of Toronto events and new indie releases, we’ve got you covered.

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.


Toronto Game Events

Wednesday, Jul 2: Body Games: Wearable Electronics

Thursday, July 3: Learn to Program Video Games with Stencyl

Saturday, July 5-Sunday, July 6: Julivewire! A Hardware Game Jam

Saturday, July 19: DMG Speakers Social

Wednesday, July 30: Torontaru (turned 1 year old last month!)

Thursday, July 31, 2014: Introduction to Game Making Tools

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.54.45 AM

Local Game Releases

Lightbound, an arcade multiplayer shooter (or “tactical light show” in the words of the creators) is now on Steam Greenlight. Promote it here!

Get Set Games’s dungeon crawler Storm Casters is out on iTunes. (pictured above)

Also released was a collaborative science fiction romance Twine game, You Were Made For Loneliness, featuring work from Kaitlin Tremblay.


Toronto Folks In The Media

The Toronto Star’s coverage of E3 had a local twist, featuring Below, N++, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, and Knight & Damsel. Lovers also showed up on Paste, as one of their Top 10 Favourite Games of E3.

It’s a good month for coverage in the papers, as the National Post has gotten in on it too, with coverage of Boss Level, featuring work from Kara Stone and Golden Gear Games’s new release, Fate Tectonics.

Will O’Neill’s Actual Sunlight has recieved an extremely thoughtful, philosophical analysis on Pixels or Death.

TOJam 9’s coverage on DorkShelf continues with an interview with Kim Koronya, a member of Team Fembots, about motherhood and Game Jams.

Meanwhile, DorkShelf has also interviewed merritt kopas about her newest creation, SPACE/OFF. You can also check her out on Tech Girls Canada’s Portraits of Strength.

Storm Casters can be found on Touch Arcade, also!

Want to hear more from Retro Runner: Princess Power? Check them out on Retro Yak, Episode 5 of Grab It Magazine, and on their Greenlight page.


Special Announcements

Mark Chandler says: “Toronto is filled with gamers like you. We deserve a dedicated PC & Video Game Expo. Together we can make it happen!” You can support the GamesCon Kickstarter here.


Gamemaking Help Offered/Wanted

Illustrator for your digital and board games! I have experience with both, but I’m looking to get some more. Find my art in my website. Or on Tumblr. Contact Katherine Verhoeven.

I am interested in making games, but I don’t have any working experience, just examples from classes I’ve taken. I have my bachelors in computer science, and I have some computer science graduate credits as well, including classes in game AI, android games, and game theory. Here is my linked in page for more details here.

I am not currently in the Toronto area but looking to move there once I find employment. Anyone looking for a student willing to learn new things, or just help out with random coding projects on the side, you can email me here (please put something about the HES in the subject so I know its not spam).


That’s all for now! If there’s any July 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. Thanks to Anthony Geremia for help this month.

Stage Select Gaming Expo — Let’s Play!

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Christine Kim from Stage Select fills us in on their first-ever gaming expo:

On Saturday June 28th, doors will open at 9AM at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and stay open til 2AM for the first-ever Stage Select Gaming Expo. There are many events happening on this day including panel talks, developer showcases, gaming rooms, live music, marketplace, artists alley and more!

Gamers, developers, educators and enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to attend this inaugural event. This all-inclusive celebration of play includes video games, table-top games, board games, live-action, cosplaying and, you guessed it, even more…

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The events at Stage Select will begin with a keynote address by Dr. Sara Grimes. Grimes’ speech frames Toronto as a leading community in promoting a more diverse gaming culture. This is due to a number of initiatives that have been started here in Toronto and also through the games that are designed in this city. Her talk will discuss some of the research that has been conducted at Semaphore lab, where she is Associate Director. Learn more about some of the reasons why “inclusive play” is a vital goal that benefits the game community as a whole.

Visit your favourite local studio as they show off their latest releases or yet-to-be released games at our developer showcase tables! Some of the studios you’ll see out are Rocket 5 Studios, creators of Jazz Punk Necrophone Games, Asteroid Base, Drinkbox Studios, Uken Games just to name a few.

Castle Board Games will be serving up sweet treats and fun board games in the Table Top Gaming Room. There is so much to play at this event including: a multiplayer arcade, LARPing, RPGs, and more.

Let’s Play videos are fast-becoming one of the most popular types of videos on YouTube and for the first time in Toronto watch your favourite YouTuber play live! We are featuring the hilarious duo The C_ntrollers and also The Collegiate Alliance who are based in New York. Other live performances will include Improv by the Dandies!

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Start the night off right with performances by The Blast Processors, Epic Game Music and our DJs, Dj Cynex, DJ MartyMcFly, and Used DJ!

Saturday June 28
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (9 Garamond Court, Toronto)
9AM – 2AM
Tickets: $25 online $30 cash at the door
Twitter: @StageSelectTO

Starting on June 16th The Edge 102.1 radio will be giving away 20 free tickets. More details to come on the Stage Select website. In case you’re not one of those lucky 20, get your tickets today at!

Stage Select is a volunteer-run organization whose mission is put on the most exciting, inclusive, and innovative events that celebrate everything encompassing play.

Artsy Games Incubator at Toronto Animated Arts Festival International

art by Matt Hammill
We are delighted that the participants of our Artsy Games Incubator: Animation Edition will be discussing their brand new games for the first time at TAAFI next week!
The games will also be available to play in the free Maarket during the festival.
June 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM
Six animators, six weeks, six video games! Come see the results of the Hand Eye Society’s ARTSY GAMES INCUBATOR: ANIMATION EDITION, a workshop where animators bring their unique talents and creativity to an interactive medium for the first time. During the six week program participants were given access to game-making tools, guest mentors, and community resources. On this panel, the participants (Paloma Dawkins, Christopher de Castro, Virpi Kettu, Mike McDonnell, & Debbie Yu) will showcase their final projects and talk about the process of game creation, as well as the challenges and rewards of applying an animator’s skill set to a different mode of storytelling. This is the start of several workshops aimed at introducing artists from different backgrounds to the creative possibilities of video games. Moderated by Sagan Yee and Matt Hammill, with the generous support of the Toronto Animated Image Society and the Ontario Arts Council.
Also of interest to game enthusiasts…
June 14, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Former ROCKSTAR GAMES cinematic director/director of production Navid Khonsari who worked on the GRAND THEFT AUTO, franchise games, MAX PAYNE, and The WARRIORS, has now co-founded his own company iNK Stories and is in development of a new game franchise titled 1979 REVOLUTION THE GAME, based on the events surrounding the Iran Revolution. Listen to insights on how he handles creating video games based on real life events and unparalleled impact it can have as a new form of entertainment is not only groundbreaking, but the inevitable next step for our industry.
Check out the rest of the TAAFI talks, screenings and workshops!

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