“Interactive fiction, which once went by the name ‘text adventure,’ is having a moment.” — New York Times (July 7, 2014)


WordPlay is our free one-day festival celebrating the most interesting uses of writing and words in contemporary games. Like last year, there will be a curated game showcase, talks by creators about the craft, and ways for the public to try their hand at making games.


Sat. Nov. 8, 12-5pm
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St. (Bloor-Yonge subway)
Facebook Event


Featuring international special guests!

  • Boston’s Andrew Plotkin (Shade, Spider and Web) will be talking about the just-released iPhone text game he Kickstarted, Hadean Lands: an alchemical interplanetary thriller.
  • Santa Cruz’s Deirdra “SquinkyKiai (Dominique Pamplemousse) will be presenting their interactive play, Coffee: A Misunderstanding, where all the actors are audience members.
  • Montreal’s Brent Ellison and Tanya X. Short will be talking about their cult narrative game Dungeons of Fayte, which was a big inspiration to The Yawhg.
  • Also: tutorials and demos of easy-to-use interactive fiction tools like Ren’py, Inform, and more!
  • Plus: live audience game playing of interactive fiction, with voice actors! Local multiplayer texty funtimes!
  • Additionally: a showcase of writerly games to you to play juried by Emily Short, Leigh Alexander, Paolo Pedercini, Duff McCourt, Liz Albi & Susan Patrick.


If you would like to volunteer to help (10 volunteer hours earn you Hand Eye Society membership and voting rights in the January Annual General Meeting) please email us and we’ll loop you in on volunteer opportunities in the lead up to and on the day itself.

For other announcements, please sign up for our email updates.

You can peruse some photos of the 2013 event here and videos of the discussion and panel are below.

Christine Love does a Twine workshop.
WordPlay 2013 featured the world première of the latest Kentucky Route Zero release: the intermission between Acts 2 and 3, entitled “The Entertainment,” as well as:

Panel: Where Prose Meets Play

A panel that investigated the intersection between books and games, by people who have one foot in both worlds: webcomic writer Ryan North (To Be or Not to BeDinosaur Comics), Hugo-award winner Peter Watts (Crysis 2 novelization), game & comic creator Rachel Kahn (By Crom!), and author/illustrator/game maker Matt Hammill (Sir Reginald’s LogbookLovers in a Dangerous Spacetime). Moderated by novelist and game maker Jim Munroe.

Discussion: Kentucky Route Zero

Hand Eye Society co-founder Miguel Sternberg (They Bleed Pixels) sat down with the Chicago-based creators of Kentucky Route Zero, a magical realist point-and-click adventure game with Flannery O’Connor influences that’s charmed the festival circuit (Independent Games Festival, Indiecade). Miguel asked Jake and Tamas thoughtful questions posed by the community.

WordPlay 2013 Showcase

These were the games chosen by the WordPlay 2013 Showcase jury.

About 2/3s of these games are free, but remember you can always support the game makers by following them, writing about them, or emailing them thoughtful feedback.

Actual Sunlight & Actual Sunlight 3D (Will O’Neill)
Aisle (Sam Barlow)
And the Robot Horse You Rode in On (Anna Anthropy)
Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)
Conversations With My Mother (merritt kopas)
Counterfeit Monkey (Emily Short)
Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha (Porpentine)
Depression Quest (Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey, & Isaac Schankler)
Ergon / Logos (Molleindustria)
Even Cowgirls Bleed (Christine Love)
First Draft of the Revolution (Emily Short, Liza Daly, & inkle)
Forumwarz (Crotch Zombie Productions)
LongStory (The LongStory Team)
Lost Pig: And Place Under Ground (Admiral Jota)
Negative Space (Maddox Pratt)
SAVE MERLIN THE PIG! (Leigh Alexander)
Spellirium (Untold Entertainment)
The Gostak (Carl Muckenhoupt)
The Yawhg (Emily Carroll & Damian Sommer)
TRUNKED (Ian Daffern)
Violet (Jeremy Freese)
We Are the Firewall (Alan DeNiro)
Word Realms (Asymmetric)

Produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

 Festival Director: Jim Munroe
 Festival identity: Beehive Design
 Promotions Manager: Kaitlin Tremblay
 Volunteer Coordinator/Library Liaison: Sarah Chu
 2013 Showcase Jurors: Cecily CarverLiam O’DonnellSagan Yee