WordPlay-ID-LargeCurl up with a good game.

A free one-day festival celebrating the most interesting uses of writing and words in contemporary games. 

The 2014 festival is happening Saturday November 8th, 12-5pm. For our call for submissions and 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. 

What do writerly videogames look like? Come check out our showcase and play 20+ examples. Sometimes they’re mostly text on a screen, like Anna Anthropy’s twisted And the Robot Horse You Rode in On. Sometimes they’re gorgeously illustrated with prose inspired by magical realism and Flannery O’Connor, like Kentucky Route Zero. In Actual Sunlight, you battle depression as an RPG character. In Forumwarz, you can get into a war of words with virtual trolls on the web. In The Yawhg you decide what to do in the brief time before your town meets its doom. In Cart Life you have to remember when to pick up your kid from school after slinging coffee all day.

Featuring the world première of the latest Kentucky Route Zero release: the intermission between Acts 2 and 3, entitled “The Entertainment.”

Saturday, Nov. 16th from 12-5pm
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St. at Bloor

Writerly Games Showcase
20+ games will be available for the public to play exploring a broader range of human experience than most think possible in games. Some games made by many people, and some by a single person; classic parser text games, hypertext multimedia pieces, and those using new interactive fiction techniques; games made by local people (some attending their games) and games made by exotic international creators.

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 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.


Or Download the Audio Only MP3
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.


Or Download the Audio Only MP3

Workshop: Make Interactive Fiction with Twine
Toronto game developer Christine Love (Analogue: A Hate Story, Hate Plus) will be leading a workshop for beginners to learn how to use Twine. This easy-to-use tool allows people to make games that work in the browser without using code, and has opened up game making for a larger, more diverse community. Many of our Showcase games this year were made with Twine — give them a try, then give Twine a try yourself!

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
 Showcase Jurors: Cecily Carver, Liam O’Donnell, Sagan Yee

WordPlay Showcase

These were the games chosen by the WordPlay 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)

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