WordPlay is our free festival celebrating the most interesting uses of writing and words in contemporary games. Each year there will be a curated game showcase, talks by creators about the craft, and ways for the public to learn about making games.

WordPlay 2015

Program Information

WordPlay 2015 will be held on Saturday, November 7th, 2015, from 12 – 5 p.m. at the Toronto Reference Library. Admission is free.

To RSVP (not required), please visit our event page on Facebook.


Mainstage Program

Our mainstage program will run continuously with short intermissions in the main atrium, and will include:

    • An opening presentation by Interactive Fiction legend Emily Short on why IF matters, and is enjoyable to engage with as a creator.
    • A retrospective of the complete works of Christine Love featuring the author herself, in conversation with fellow developer Kara Stone.
    • Insights from the development team of Night in the Woods, with a panel-style conversation of the role that text narrative plays in both NitW and Lost Constellation, as well as the collaborative process of bringing those narratives to bear.
    • Author Sherwin Tjia will present thoughts on gamebooks, empathy and other topics intersectional to writerly games in concert with the launch of his new book You Are A Kitten!
    • The creator of the critically-acclaimed Her Story, Sam Barlow, will be engaged on his past and present work in a unique, Twine-based interview format by developer/critic Kaitlin Tremblay.


  • 12:00 p.m. – Emily Short
  • 1:00 p.m. – Night in the Woods Team
  • 2:00 p.m. – Sherwin Tjia
  • 3:00 p.m. – Christine Love
  • 4:00 p.m. – Sam Barlow


2015 WordPlay Showcase

WordPlay will feature a showcase of playable games selected by a jury of creators, critics and writers from within the text narrative game community. Showcase titles for this year include:


Additional Attractions

The Choosatron

The Choosatron is a Choose Your Own Adventure®-inspired story printer, blending digital and analogue storytelling. WordPlay will feature a dedicated room with Choosatron machines that are pre-loaded with a variety of family-friendly Twine games.


Workshop Information

In coordination with the Toronto Reference Libary Digital Innovation Hub, WordPlay is pleased to present introductory workshops on several popular free tools for creating text-based narrative games.

Tools selected for workshops this year include:

Availability is limited. Participants may be required to provide their own laptop computers. To pre-register for a workshop, please visit the following form:

WordPlay 2015 – Workshop Registration


About WordPlay

WordPlay is presented by the Hand Eye Society in partnership with the Toronto Public Library Digital Innovation Hub, with support from the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

For more information, including media requests, please contact will@handeyesociety.com.

WordPlay 2015 – Committee

Festival Director: Will O’Neill
Technical Coordinator: Daniel Harley
Submissions Coordinator: Kelsi Morris
Volunteer Coordinator: John Rathiganthan
Members at Large: Kara Stone, Kaitlin Tremblay
Promotions & Publicity: Evan Munday
Founder: Jim Munroe

WordPlay 2015 – Showcase Jury

Sam Kabo Ashwell (Invisible Parties, IF Criticism)
Jake Elliott (Kentucky Route Zero)
Brendan Hennessy (King of Bees, Bell Park: Youth Detective)
Soha Kareem (reProgram, Penalties)
Tom McHenry (Horse Master, Tonight Dies the Moon)
Squinky (Dominique Pamplemousse, Coffee: A Misunderstanding)


WordPlay 2013

Christine Love does a Twine workshop.

See here for the Wordplay 2013 Showcase. WordPlay 2013 also featured the world première of the Kentucky Route Zero release “The Entertainment.”

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 2014

Andrew Plotkin talking about Hadean Lands.
Live Porpentine Game Playing
The iPad nook.
Our first awards.



See here for photos and the Wordplay 2014 Showcase. WordPlay 2014 also featured the world première of a Porpentine game played live by our audience. The week prior we also had an exhibit of new writerly games.

Hadean Lands: The Alchemy of iPhones and Social Capital

Interactive fiction legend Andrew Plotkin from Boston, MA discusses Hadean Lands, a text adventure made for iOS which he Kickstarted 4 years ago and released just the week previous. He is introduced by XO podcaster Keith McNally.

United We Fall: Storytelling Systems in Dungeons of Fayte

Montreal’s Brent Ellison and Tanya X. Short talk 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 introduce them.

partners Produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

Festival Director: Will O’Neill Technical Coordinator: Daniel Harley Submissions Coordinator: Kelsi Morris Volunteer Coordinator: John Rathiganthan Members at Large: Kara Stone, Kaitlin Tremblay

Festival identity: Beehive Design