For the past four years, the Different Games Collective has been one of the many groups pushing to make the games industry more inclusive, hosting an annual conference that highlights the work and perspectives marginalized game developers, community members, and critics. Now, the Brooklyn based organization is expanding beyond the United States with the inaugural Different Games Toronto Conference and Exhibition. The new mini Conference will take place on June 3 at OCAD University (49 McCaul Street) in downtown Toronto, kicking off with a free arcade that will be open to the public in the days leading up to the event.
As you’d expect, the Conference and Exhibition is a great opportunity to see the amazing work of Toronto’s talented and diverse independent game development community. Different Games places a focus on emerging voices that are not typically represented in the mainstream industry. The morning features a keynote talk with Sagan Yee, the Executive Director of Toronto’s Hand Eye Society, while the afternoon will feature microtalks with a slew of prominent Toronto game developers and critics, including Liz England, Kaitlin Tremblay, Rokashi Edwards, Al Donato, Tabby Rose, and Nadine Lessio. PlayDead host Gabby DaRienzo will also be presenting A Mortician’s Tale during the Exhibition before delivering her own microtalk on Saturday.
That’s why you’ll want to check out the Arcade even if you can’t make it to Saturday’s Conference. This week’s event places more conventional video games alongside alternative work that incorporates Virtual Reality, live performance, and elements of Do-It-Yourself. The interdisciplinary approach helps expand the medium as independent developers continue to innovate in a way that makes gaming more inclusive accessible and more accessible.
You can find out more about the presenters and the games that will be on display at the Facebook page for the event. The Different Games Exhibition at OCAD University is free between 12-5pm from May 31-June 2. Tickets for the June 3 Conference are currently available for $20, though discounts are available based on need. Tickets for the Opening Night Arcade Party on May 31 are $10. The closing party at Gamma Space at 8pm on Saturday will be free.