19th September 2010

The IN-Side Track: Interactive Exchange 2010

On the night of September 12th, Toronto’s McCaul St was egregiously quiet. Within the walls of OCADU, however, Interactive Ontario’s IN|2010 was enjoying a strong beginning. The room, sparsely lit and ultimately subdued in atmosphere, was party to a broad assortment of digital media pioneers. The Interactive Exchange 10occasion was particularly blessed with its concurrence to the opening of START. Ian Kelso, the President and CEO of Interactive Ontario, described the evening best in his greeting to the crowd.

“This is a preview—it actually doesn’t start until tomorrow, but thank you for bringing us into your space.” The thanks was better expressed by the round of applause. “These shows, called Start, the goal of the program itself is to promote art games created in Toronto, and some beyond, and to let you play, and decide for yourself, what is art in the creation of video games? So I really encourage you to play and develop all the games that are here. There’s some really, really fabulous games. So you won’t be disappointed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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19th September 2010

Arcadian Renaissance Celebrates Indie Development

Hand Eye SocietyRemember the golden age of video arcades? The clatter of clanging tokens, 8-bit bleeps and the cheers of caffeine-fuelled competitors? Waiting patiently in line to shatter your best friend’s high score on your favourite game?

The Arcadian Renaissance — an interactive installation for the upcoming Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Arts Festival — will capture that same boisterous spirit of competition and camaraderie while featuring the best of the Toronto indie gaming scene. But without the wasted quarters and the faint smell of nerd sweat.

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the celebrated all-night arts festival, is partnering with the Hand Eye Society to feature six vintage arcade consoles that have been modified to play games by local developers. Starting at sundown on October 2, the exhibit will be featured in the atrium of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the newly opened headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Arcadian Renaissance
The Hand Eye Society’s “Torontron” arcade cabinet has been seen at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, the Flash in the Can Festival and most recently, FanExpo. Five more Torontron-style cabinets have been built especially for the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche event, thanks to support from local game companies Metanet, Spyeart, RSBLSB and Untold Entertainment, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The featured games were chosen to reflect Toronto’s vibrant indie gaming scene: highly accessible yet artistically sophisticated — and fast enough to play so that everyone gets a turn. The Arcadian Renaissance is expected to be a popular attraction for the city’s tech-savvy citizenry at the all-night event that drew over a million visitors in 2009.

“This is an amazing time for Toronto’s gaming community, not just as far as business is concerned, but culturally as well,” says project coordinator Jim Munroe. “Developers with artistic or experimental aspirations can create games that will be enjoyed by the masses. That’s the idea behind The Arcadian Renaissance: that video games can bridge the gap between high art and populist entertainment.”

Visitors can check out The Arcadian Renaissance at 350 King St. W. on October 2, 2010. The exhibit will run from 6:57 p.m. until sunrise, with a special midnight tournament of Nidhogg, a swordfighting game by celebrated Brooklyn-based indie developer Mark “Messhof” Essen, shown on the big screen.

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