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The DIY Games Room @ Canzine on October 21st. Featuring ANNA ANTHROPY and many more!

October 9, 2012

I just realized that those of you who read this blog regularly may not know that for several years now, I’ve been Broken Pencil Magazine‘s DIY tech columnist.  Every issue I dedicate 500 words to the practice of DIY technology, in a piece called Error State.    Much of what I’ve been writing about there are intersections between DIY (hacker) and gamer cultures.   So when BP’s editor and I began a discussion about Canzine (Canada’s Largest Zine and Indie Culture Fair) we figured it was about time that we brought some of the work that I had been talking about to Canzine to show roken Pencil readers some of the work by local game makers in an environment where they could sit, play and chat with game creators.

And the Toronto DIY Games Room @ Canzine was borne.

We put out an open call to digital and non-digital game makers alike and now have a nice programme for visitors to experience.  And  a more recent development brings to us one of DIY gaming’s most luminous figures, whose games will be playable and who will be there in person to meet players and sign copies of her book.

That’s right! Anna Anthropy is going to be at The DIY games room selling copies of Rise of the Videogame Zinesters and signing them!  TO celebrate her attendance, we will be featuring a few of her games for you to play: Keep Me Occupied, Dys4ia and Lesbian Spider Queens.  A big thanks goes out to Toronto’s feminist game making collective Dames Making Games, Bento Miso and Digifest for sharing Anna with us.  Anna will be Teaching a workshop at Bento Miso on OCt 19th, and speaking on a panel at Digfest on Oct 20th.   This is a great chance to meet one of DIY games’ greatest champion.    Rise of the VideoGame ZInester is a fantastic book that charts the history of contemporary DIY games and their makers, while featuring a wealth of information on those interested in making their own games.  I highly recommend it.

In addition to Anna, we’ve got a great deal of other games coming in!  Toronto’s Game Culture Non-Profit, the Hand Eye Society will be loaning us two of their handmade Indie game cabinets: The High Roller and the Twin Stick.  Each cabinet has a half dozen games by local game maker, harkening back to our arcade pasts with vintage style roller ball and twin stick controls!  Both are free to play!!

On the digital side we’ve got a few more game makers rounding out the programme.

Toronto’s Asteroid Base (Jamie Tucker and Matt Hammill-some of you may know Matt’s game Gesundheit) will be showcasing their game Lovers in a Dangerous Space Time.  Originally made for the 2012 Global Game Jam,  it’s a 2-player co-op micro-platformer set inside a pink Death Star locked in battle with hordes of space baddies.  Players work together running back and forth between ship control rooms, manning turrets, lasers, shields and thrusters to rack up points and stave off a vacuumy demise.  In mish-mash terms you could describe it as Jumpman meets Asteroids meets Han saying “Don’t get cocky.”

And finally on the digital side of things, we’ve got the work of one of my favorite Toronto game makers, Damian Sommer.  Damian’s work often defies genre as he plays with game mechanics and our expectations.   For the game room, he’ll be bringing 3 of his games: Friendship in 4 Colours: Friendships will be forged. Friendships will be tested. Friendships will be broken. The Clown Who Wanted Everything: The essence of platforming and item collecting boiled down to its raw core, then dressed back up as a clown.  The Yawhg:  There are six weeks before the dreaded Yawhg comes to destroy everything you know. What will you do while you await your doom?

AND with all these we’ve still got the NON-DIGITAL games.

Eric Avery will be bringing his game Catastrophe!  A board game where each player take on the role of a house cat. The human has left for work and won’t be back for eight hours. It’s time to cause as much trouble as possible! Each cat must race through various rooms of the house and ruin as many objects as possible to earn points and the title of top cat!

Halifax’s Grow  Giant Games will be sending us a copy of their storytelling card game SkullDuggery, where the players break into buildings, defeat traps using special Gear cards, then steal Loot. Players describe their clever plans, exactly how they use their equipment to get past the traps, to the the other players, and they then vote to determine the success or failure of the plan. A few lucky players will draw a blank wild card which they can use to create any item they wish.

Toronto’s Christopher Chung will be bringing his Card Game Tribal Clash. Fantasy elements are strewn into this game as you control Swordsmen, Archers, and Mages from various Clans and use strategy and luck to defeat your opponents! With three determinants of combat, it’s not so easy to win as you must utilize the cards effectively and read your opponents’ strategies to amass seven cards in your Dungeon; the one with the most points after all combat has concluded is determined the winner!

And lastly, I will be bringing an updated version of We Are Legion, the co-op board game where you play as Anonymous hacking corporate servers and making information free again!   We Are Legion was made by myself and Alison Pattern for the 2012 Toronto Board Game Jam and took home the Best of the Jam grand prize.  We’re currently labouring to get a final version out which will be available for free online in the near future.

Canzine is happening on Sunday October 21st from 1pm-7pm at the 918 Bathurst Centre, just north of Bathurst and Bloor in Toronto.  See you there!

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