“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



  • a new reading nook with iPads to enjoy some of the showcase games on!
  • last year we debuted The Entertainment, this year Porpentine made a game just for WordPlay!
  • WordPlay 2014 Awards Ceremony, with envelopes and everything!


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:

A live audience playing of Aisle
, a one-move text adventure set in a grocery store by Sam Barlow. Narrated by Jason McIntosh.

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 hadean@handeyesociety.com.)

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.

A live audience playing of a never-before-seen game by Porpentine,
that she made for WordPlay 2014. Narrated by Twine gamemaker Kaitlin Tremblay.

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.

Christine Love does a Twine workshop.

See here for the Wordplay 2013 Showcase. 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 2014 Showcase

These were the games chosen by the WordPlay 2014 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.

80 Days (inkle / Meg Jayanth)
A Dark Room (Amirali Rajan)
Always Sometimes Monsters (Vagabond Dog)
Begscape (Porpentine)
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)
Nested (Orteil)
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. McCourtLiz Albi & Susan Patrick