Jun 082024

When I describe what I do in co-organizing Toronto Games Week, people often say that it sounds stressful and like a lot of work — as opposed to writing or creating stuff, which people think sounds like fun. But they’re both fun in certain ways, stressful in others. 

When my organizing schemes are going well, I wonder to myself: why doesn’t everyone want to do this? It’s so fun! I’ve always felt my creative side and my organizer side were complimentary, but now I’m almost wondering if I may have become an artist so I could be a better arts community organizer.

More on that subject later — but Toronto Games Week starts Thursday, so here are my top picks for you rated with difficulty levels…

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Dec 182023

So it turns out that “I don’t want to teach” is just another example of The Joy of Being Wrong, a series of self-limiting beliefs that I’m crossing off one by one. Turns out that with the right conditions I like it quite a bit and I will probably do more of it when opportunities present! In the meanwhile, I’ll be helping organize Toronto Games Week, prepping my next graphic novel for publication and keeping my antenna up for interesting collaborations or jobs. If you’re interested in my teaching experience, here’s the full story…

This fall, the fall of my 51st year, I went back to school. I had always been fairly determined not to teach, but this September after being laid off from my game industry job and after being encouraged by some old friends who worked there, I ended up in front of nearly a hundred first year students in a lecture hall at York University.

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Oct 182023

Is there a thing you know you should do, but don’t? With me, for years, it was paper prototyping. Paper prototyping is the process of sketching out a game design, literally, with pencil and paper, and then playtesting the design ideas you have before you ever sit down in front of a computer. Instead of a computer modeled character you can use an action figure. Instead of generating a random number you have dice throws. Most games have many mechanics that can also work in a board game context, though there’s obviously lots of gamefeel related aspects that need to be digitally tested.

It’s the same as the filmmaking principle that “paper is cheaper than film”, that ideas in a paper script can be added and removed and problems solved far more easily than after a scene has been shot. I would never dream of shooting a short without a script, but it took a familiar motivator to get me creating my first paper prototype:

When it’s hard for me to do something for myself, I can often do it to help someone else.

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May 092023

Thanks to the many super awesome people who sent in #RaccoonsInTheWild pictures of themselves with their covers. While the unique hardcover edition of We Are Raccoons are all sold out, it’s available as a pay-what-you-want ebook now!

Since the novel is about international game pals (like the ones pictured above!) I’m having an ebook launch for it as a part of Toronto Games Week, a series of events I’m helping organize.

There’s over a dozen events between June 1-7th, kicking off with a Dirty Rectangles party, but here’s some highlights below!

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Nov 262022

My first full length prose novel in almost two decades is available now as a uniquely published hardcover.

We Are Raccoons is about six game designer friends who get a non-player character to work in each of their very different games—and accidentally create the first superintelligence in the process.

Since it’s about AI, I used the Midjourney AI to generate art from quotes in the novel so each of the 165 copies has a one-of-a-kind cover, never to be repeated.

Find out about how to get it in time for the holidays, pick your own cover, and more! I also reflect a little about AI art generation as it relates to my practice, below.

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Nov 022022

Ten years ago we released a strange little lo-fi sci-fi feature called Ghosts With Shit Jobs.  

In the future, jobs still suck — but in whole new ways. By 2040 the economy has flipped and North Americans are a cheap labor pool for wealthy eastern markets. (Trailer here.) 

For those in Toronto we’re doing a small in person screening at the community-powered Eyesore Cinema (Fri. Nov. 11th, 8pm, $5 cash at the door) followed by a q&a chat with some directors and actors, hosted by Mike Wood of They Might Be Movies. If you’re out of town or not into enclosed spaces there will simultaneously be a watchalong where you can chime in with comments and such! After the watchalong it’ll live on YouTube for anyone to watch for free with English, French, and Spanish subtitles. Update: Watch it for free via http://ghostswithshitjobs.com.

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