The wacky get-ups inside Toronto’s black-tie video game party
Arcades are harder and harder to find in Toronto. So what do the city’s most avid players do when they want to hit the town? Enter the Hand Eye Society, an organization that connects Toronto’s game developers and creators, and hosts an annual Fancy Videogame Party (“fancy” roughly translates to a whole lot of cloaks in this case). With gelato and boozy elixirs in hand, guests at the Masonic Temple got an early look at the anticipated Cuphead, a cartoonish run-and-gun indie platformer, and played games like Line Wobbler, an adventure along an LED strip, or Multibowl, 230 retro games combined into a 10-point grudge match. We asked some of the fanciest gamers and game makers about their get-ups and favourite games.
Multimedia fabricator, 24
Video game claim to fame: I helped build an inclusive game controller last year.
Favourite games: Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse just came out, and I’m really excited to play it. The last game I played was Line Wobbler, which is right behind me here. I like how innovative it is.
Sound Designer, 31
Video game claim to fame: Well, I’m working on a first-person shooter, but that’s about as much as I tell you.
Favourite games: I like Journey a lot. The music, especially. The composer, Austin Wintory, blows it away.
Teacher, “older than 27”
Favourite games: Final Fantasy VI and the whole Legend of Zelda series. I get really sucked into the storyline, helping this little guy, Link. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was the first one I played and beat on my own. It has a special place in my heart. I also loved Majora’s Mask, which is on my dress. It was the nicest dress Nintendo World had.
Video game claim to fame: I created Punk Prism Power, a magical girl hack ‘n slash with a chainsaw and sceptre.
Favourite games: I really liked Oxenfree. I’ve been binging on narrative games like Gone Home and Life is Strange.
Software Engineer, 26
Favourite games: Right now, I’m playing Street Fighter V. I love the one-on-one nature of it. If I fail, it’s all my fault, and I like that kind of pressure.
Event Planner, 27
Favourite games: Too many to list. I love Left 4 Dead 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Zelda: Wind Waker and Kirby SuperStar.
Web Programmer, 47
Video game claim to fame: I’m working on a game called Endlight. Here’s the pitch: best tunnel racer ever made. You want a tunnel racer? Talk to me.
Favourite games: I haven’t been playing many because I have a daughter, but we are playing a lot of Kinect Party. It’s amazing. You’d think the Kinect is kind of dead, but if you’re a four-year-old girl? Ohhh boy.
Video game claim to fame: We’re working on Runbow. It came out on the Nintendo Wii U, and now we’re bringing it to the 3DS.
Favourite games: Pokemon, Mega Man X, and I’ve been playing League of Legends since season two. I like the diversity of characters. I do not like the toxic community, but I like the competitiveness of the game.
Favourite games: Anatomy. I loved it. I felt like it beat me to the ideas that I like.
Student and Animator, 23
Favourite games: Anything that has intensive character design processes. That’s what I do: modelling, animation, design. The last game I really liked was Dark Souls III.
Video game claim to fame: I’m working on few Twine games, getting my feet wet in coding.
Favourite games: I just got myself a new gaming PC, so I’m excited about that. Mostly stuff like The Witcher and Sunless Sea.
Favourite games: Recently, the game I’ve been nerding out about is Hyper Light Drifter. I think I was really intrigued by small factors that came together. The visuals are awesome, the game itself is fun, exciting. Knowing that the guy who made it really struggled with his health made it more interesting for me.
Legal Researcher, 44
Favourite games: My husband and I have been playing Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. I loved making the “pew pew” sound, and I like that it’s a collaborative game. My kids are into Rocket League.
Game Designer, 26
Video game claim to fame: Right now I’m working on Bravery Network. It’s our take on Pokémon. Like, if you took Pokémon and simplified and solved a bunch of problems.
Favourite games: I’ve been playing a lot of “roguelikes.” I’m playing one called Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. It has so much variety in how you can play; it’s very punishing but in a fair way.
Production Assistant, 24
Favourite games: I just tried Bastion for the first time and it was mind-blowing. I liked the soundtrack and I love constantly shooting things.
Game Designer, 35
Video game claim to fame: I have been working on Cococucumber’s Riverbond and Vagabond Dog’s Sometimes Always Monsters. I’m also working on my own game called Little Red Lie, a classic adventure game where all you can do is lie, so every interaction is framed in dishonesty and deception. It takes place in Scarborough.
Favourite games: I’ve been really enjoying Reigns—it’s like Tinder meets a role-playing adventure. The writing’s fantastic.
Favourite games: The last game was probably Banner Saga 2. As a tactics game, it’s very different. I found it very compelling.
A previous version of this post mistakenly identified the game Endlight as Headlight.