When most people think about gaming conventions they typically drum up thoughts of sprawling festivals like E3, PAX, or if you are Canadian perhaps Fan Expo. As fantastic as these landmark events are for the gaming industry and fans alike, they do have the tendency to be a bit bigger than the games themselves. For all the good that they bring they also lack a sense of intimacy, which is an element that the video games industry is practically built upon.
Gamercamp is an annual event in Toronto that embodies the spirit of the medium, a true festival that is open to all those who love games. It’s a physical celebration of our virtual relationship, open for those of all creeds, ages, and walks of life. Most festivals have attendees, but that word doesn’t necessarily apply to Gamercamp as fans are encouraged to more than attend. You are invited to participate in every facet of the event, whether it be listening to inspiring talks, or viewing original exhibitions, presentations, gameplay sessions, demos, ﬁlms, and playing in arcades that showcase the depth and talent of the North American games community.
This year’s Gamercamp will be held at the lovely Hotel Ocho in downtown Toronto on November the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I wish that could tell you which room you would be able to find the festival hiding in, but it turns out they are taking over the whole darn thing! I guess there were just too many awesome things to keep the event in one room.
Here are just some of the great things you can expect to find this year;
- Exhibitions! We’re featuring an original exhibition, Art of the Ninja, exploring the history, significance, and allure of ninjas over 30+ years through 13 iconic videogames. This exhibition also features Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja and a first look at Metanet Software’s N++.
- Arcades! Check out the hottest and upcoming games from across North America and Europe in our Official Selections Arcade, including IGF-nominated frenetic co-op game Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, the time-bending, much-buzzed Super TIME Force, multiplayer jousting narwhals in Starwhal: Just the Tip, and more! Click here for the full list! Our Next Generation Showcase features new games and new technologies from post-secondary schools, and the ROM Ancient Arcade showcases games created at the ROM Game Jam, in which devs collaborated with the museum’s experts to animate the ROM’s ancient cultures exhibits.
- Salon Series! We’re thrilled to be joined by three leading voices in the games industry for intimate conversations about the future of games: Nels Anderson (lead designer, Mark of the Ninja), Jill Murray (director, narrative design, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag), Alexander Bruce from Australia (creator of Antichamber).
- Conference! Our Interactive and Games Conference is a one-day summit that will feature discussions on design and innovation in digital, interactive, and game media. Some of the speakers/presentations that may interest you include Ben Sainsbury’s Stringer, an immersive journalism first-person videogame set in an Afghan warzone, Vass Bednar (senior policy advisor to the Ministry of Education) discussing how ideas from games can help to change government policy, and Ab Velasco from the Toronto Public Library giving a preview of the new Digital Innovation Hub and why it matters to the library, and more!
What’s more, we’re celebrating our 5th anniversary! In our five years, we’ve brought some of the brightest, most innovative voices in the industry from across North America and Europe to our world-class city. We’ve swelled from 100 attendees in our first year to an expected 2,000 this November.
In addition to all that gaming goodness it looks like Sony will also be making their presence felt when they partner with Gamercamp to give gamers a chance to go hands on with the PlayStation 4 two weeks prior to launch. Over the past few years it seem that Sony’s love for gaming culture has been rejuvenated as they look to support the community both on their platforms and by appearing at events such as Gamercamp.
To close out this preview I wanted to save the very best for last. Some of you may have noticed a ton of buzz on twitter last week when Gamercamp officially announced that TOJam will be the recipient of their inagural Gamercamp Honours Ceremony. They’ll be hosting an awesome party on Friday November the 1st which will be open to the public and free. Did you read that part? FREE! Additionally a TOJam Retrospective arcade will be available for everyone to play with games handpicked by TOJam organizers. For more details on this specific even, plus the list of games click here
I will personally be covering the event this year so look out for a ton of coverage here at Sharon Shares. For all other information on the event, including details on events and information about passes check out the Official Gamercamp Website