10 Apr Curious Cabinets Arcade Exhibit: Open Submissions!
We’re looking for SIX Toronto-based game artists (or people who work at the intersection of games, interactive digital media and other artistic disciplines) to showcase work for one of two unique arcade machines — the One-Button Torontron and the SpriteBox — as part of a 1-month public exhibit to be held at Electric Perfume in mid-July.
Read on for more information about the cabinets, the submission process, and our April 29 Info Session!
The One-Button Torontron, like our other Torontrons, is a vintage arcade cabinet repurposed to play local contemporary indie and art games. It encourages a return to the concept of “public play” and approachability for a medium too often seen as insular and anti-social. Unlike most arcade cabinets however, the One-Button — true to its name — has only a single button, leading to more minimalist game designs that are accessible to people from diverse levels of gaming experience and physical ability. Any game that can take input from a mouse click, button or key press can be ported to this machine, so this could be a great fit for artists with basic programming knowledge or those who are interested in exploring accessible controls.
Currently the One-Button holds just one game: Silent Skies by Michael Todd (Electronic Super Joy), made for Kokoromi’s GAMMA IV. It was also showcased at our Arcadian Renaissance exhibit for Nuit Blanche 2010.
The SpriteBox is a horizontal “cocktail” style arcade cabinet for two players seated across from each other, presenting an interesting opportunity for games that utilize face-to-face interactions. There are more options for controls than the One-Button, including a joystick, roller ball, and 3 buttons per player. The exhibit version will feature a physical modification that transforms it from a commercialized object into an interactive installation: Instead of dropping in quarters to activate a game, the cabinet has been outfitted with a modified receptacle that is large enough to deposit a small item (which serves the same technical function as a coin). In order to play one of the installed games, players can insert a note, confession, poem, or trinket; perhaps even written comments about the games themselves.
Every week, Electric Perfume and the Hand Eye Society will use social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) to post photographs of the recovered items to be shared as part of an online extension of the gallery exhibit.
Here is a PDF with more detailed technical information for interested developers: SpriteBox Dev Info
The deadline for Open Submissions is MAY 10 2017.
We may accept some submissions on a rolling basis, and other artists may be curated specifically for the exhibit; however, all artists who apply will hear back within two weeks of the deadline. Curated artists may also be invited to give a brief presentation of their work at the public launch event, which will kick off the exhibit and help promote awareness of it and the artists. We can pay artist fees of $300 for the exhibit of each accepted game, to a maximum of six games.
Note that this exhibit is not intended to be a commission of new work; but in the event that you don’t already have a suitable game that can be readily adopted to either of the two cabinets, or if you are interested in developing something more custom-made, your commitment to have an exhibit-ready piece by July will be adequate as a submission. Think 1-3 months isn’t enough time to make a game? Consider perhaps using an event such as TOJam as a means to getting your proposal off the ground 😉 There are plenty of brilliant games that were made over a weekend, so if you’re starting from scratch, let the timeline be an inspiration rather than a limitation!
For this exhibit, we are looking to display games that are thematically and/or mechanically relevant to an “alternative” ethos: Small games that can be completed in a short amount of time which explore unconventional, experimental, or politically engaged subjects or aesthetics, and which use the specific interfaces of the cabinets to enhance the game’s theme. Although we welcome all sorts of submissions, we are particularly interested in work that deliberately explore artistic territory not usually found in mainstream games, and which have the following characteristics:
- Short rounds: About 5-10 minutes.
- Aesthetics: The game should be as interesting for spectators to watch as it is to play.
- Polish: The game should be reasonably playable and include instructions for new players, as well as credits.
- Non-violent (or at least has an unconventional take on conflict as a design concept).
- Content should reflect the spirit of our Safer Spaces Policy.
We welcome and highly encourage work from self-identified women, BIPOC, LGBTTQQIAAP, and artists from other marginalized backgrounds, as well as emerging game-makers. Artists retain all rights to their work and may request the removal of their work from the cabinets at any time. Curated artist may ask to spend time with the machines in order to better develop for them, arranged by request and with the help of the cabinet officers; we will be on hand to work with the artists through installation and development.
CURATION TEAM: Sagan Yee (Executive Director of the Hand Eye Society), Nik Stewart (SpriteBox Arcade), Daniele Hopkins and Kyle Duffield (Electric Perfume)
APRIL INFO SESSION
In order to give interested artists as well as the general public an opportunity to check out the cabinets before the exhibit, we will be holding a FREE Info Session at Electric Perfume at the end of April where we will talk more about the hardware (featuring the creators/stewards of the cabinets themselves), how to develop for them, and more details about the exhibit itself. There will be some presentations to inspire people to think about the different player interactions each of the systems offers in terms of meaningful and effective game design, as well as look at interesting examples of existing 2-player and 1-button games such as endless runners and chess variations.
Electric Perfume (805 Danforth Ave, steps away from Pape Station)
Saturday April 29
Torontron Officer Ken Cho examines the One-Button Torontron.
Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we look forward to hearing from you!