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.
Between 12-5, the public is invited to play the 25 showcase games chosen by the jury in the Learning Centre. In the reading nook in the Browsery our friends at OCAD and Ryerson have lent us some iPads for you to play some of the showcase games on.
The Atrium stage will feature the following programming:
Hadean Lands: The Alchemy of iPhones and Social Capital
Interactive fiction legend Andrew Plotkin from Boston, MA will be discussing Hadean Lands, a text adventure made for iOS which he Kickstarted 4 years ago and released just last week. He will be introduced by XO podcaster Keith McNally. (Emily Short says of Hadean Lands, map pictured above: “This game ranks off the charts on the ingenuity measure.” For a chance at a free cross-platform copy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Coffee: A Misunderstanding
Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai (who made the IGF-nominated Dominique Pamplemousse) from Santa Cruz, CA will be presenting their queer and socially awkward interactive play about the weirdness of online friendships, where all the actors are audience members.
How Do you Make Writerly Games?
15 minute demos of different tools that allow you to make writerly games. Aaron Reed (gamemaker and author of Creating Interactive Fiction With Inform 7, cover detail pictured here) will be doing parser-based tool Inform 7, Jason Stevan Hill from Choice of Games will be doing ChoiceScript, and WordPlay festival director Jim Munroe will be debuting a new touchscreen-friendly tool he and Juhana Leinonen have developed called Texture.
United We Fall: Storytelling Systems in Dungeons of Fayte
Montreal’s Brent Ellison and Tanya X. Short from Montreal will be talking about their cult narrative game Dungeons of Fayte, which was a big inspiration to The Yawhg. Yawhg co-creator Damian Sommer and Hand Eye Society co-founder Miguel Sternberg will be introducing them.
WordPlay 2014 Awards
New this year! Our esteemed jury will have made their decisions regarding the three WordPlay awards selected from the showcase games. Representing the jury will be D. F. McCourt.
You can peruse some photos of the 2013 event here and videos of the discussion and panel are below.
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 Be, Dinosaur 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 Logbook, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime). Moderated by novelist and game maker Jim Munroe.
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.
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.
80 Days (inkle / Meg Jayanth)
A Dark Room (Amirali Rajan)
Always Sometimes Monsters (Vagabond Dog)
Choice of the Deathless (Max Walker Gladstone / Choice of Games)
Colorado Red (Alice Maz)
Coming Out Simulator (ncase)
Consensual Torture Simulator (merritt kopas)
Elegy for a Dead World (Dejobaan Games)
Fuck Everything (Lena NW)
Horsemaster (Tom Mchenry )
Ice-Bound (Aaron A. Reed and Jacob Garbe)
Invisible Parties (Sam Kabo Ashwell)
Loose Strands (Darned Sock Productions)
Memoriam (Lee Williams)
Paradise (Devine Lu Linvega)
PRY (Tender Claws)
Redshirt (The Tiniest Shark / Positech)
Sext Adventure (Kara Stone and Nadine Lessio)
She Who Fights Monsters (Gaming Pixie)
Silent Age (House on Fire)
Thomas Was Alone (Mike Bithell)
Three-Fourths Home (Bracket Games)
With Those We Love Alive (Porpentine, Brenda Neotenomie)
Produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.
Festival Director: Jim Munroe
Festival identity: Beehive Design
Gamemaker Liaison: Will O’Neill
Volunteer Coordinator: Sarah Chu
2014 Showcase Jurors: Emily Short, Leigh Alexander, Paolo Pedercini, D. F. McCourt, Liz Albi & Susan Patrick