Friday, May 24, 2013

Comics Vs. Games and Bit Bazaar 2013

So one of the events connected to TCAF this year (but not held in the same area) was the Comics Vs. Games opening night and Bit Bazaar, hosted by Bento Miso on location at their studio near Trinity Belwoods Park. It was great.

Comics Vs. Games and Bit Bazaar are apparently in their second year. The opening night took the best indie games from around Toronto, and the best game-inspired artwork, and showcased them side by side.

Above, close ups of art and indie games on display at the opening event. I was a fool, and in my excitement forgot to jot down the contact info for the artists and designers. If anyone knows who they are, let me know so I can give credit!

Anyways, it was a great show, and I met a lot of amazing people and saw some pretty cool games. I also got the chance to look at the Bento Miso workspace for the first time. Its a gorgeous building, with the cleanest, neatest little back alley that I've ever seen. 

On the opening night they had a game there called Cumulo Numblers, which was basically a free-for-all pacman-styled smash, where you bounce off clouds and explode in a violent shower of sparkly rainbows while wearing a pixelated crown. I'm not sure if I can sufficiently describe the awesomeness with so few words, but it was neat. 

Above, fellow illustrators Stephanie Singleton and Jenn Liv trying out the game. I think Jenn was losing.

The day after opening night - same day as TCAF - was the Bit Bazaar event. It showcased even more indie games, as well as a few products that companies were selling as marketing or promotional tools. Naturally, I grabbed whatever I could.

I'm still pretty new to the whole format of game expos/events, so I'm not used to having to wait around to play a game and experience the booth. Its different from comics, where you only need to take a brief, cursory glance through the contents to see what you need, then move on. 

My favorite game on display at the Bit Bazaar was Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime: an absolutely gorgeous prototype from indie game company Asteroid Base. The premise is that you and another player - dressed up as 8bit teletubbies in a neon pink death star - work together to defend adorable little people on adorable 8bit worlds being attacked by amorphous lime green robots. They had me sold at the title. 

The game was showcased at the GDC this year, but I'm hoping it won't be a prototype for much longer. The premise is great, the graphics are beautiful, and I loved the foley. The controls could have been tweaked a bit - they weren't as responsive as I like - but other than that, I think it was perfect. I'm just waiting for them to release it. Alongside the poster, I also picked up a button. Because one can never have too many buttons. 

The whole team was there, so I got them to sign the back of the poster too. I was thrilled.

All in all, Comics Vs. Games and Bit Bazaar are smaller than TCAF, but well worth the experience, and I definitely plan to check them out again next year.

Now, if I could only find a way around the aggravation that comes from waiting in line to play a game.

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