Different Games Toronto

Different Games
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 12:00pm to Saturday, June 3, 2017 - 10:00pm

For four years, the Brooklyn based Different Games conference has presented a diverse and interdisciplinary venue known for featuring emerging voices and perspectives not typically supported by the commercial industry. Created by the Different Games Collective, a grassroots organization aimed at fostering diversity and inclusivity in games, the event seeks to amplify the creative and critical voices of marginalized participants in games culture. Geared towards accessibility and radical inclusivity, each annual volunteer-led conference features presenters of all professional backgrounds, from indie devs, and DIY creators to students, critics and scholars. 

This year we’re joining forces with members of Toronto’s indie games scene to bring a brand new program to OCAD University’s 49 McCaul Street gallery, which will include an arcade exhibition featuring the best of alternative games, VR, and performances from local and international developers, and a one day conference featuring local developers and creators.

Opening Arcade Party at OCAD U, 49 McCaul Street: May 31, 8 p.m. $10
Arcade Exhibition at OCAD U, 49 McCaul Street: May 31 to June 2, 12 to 5 p.m. FREE
Conference, at OCAD U, 49 McCaul Street: June 3, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: $20 (includes snacks)
Artist Talk by Zeesy Powers at Gamma Space, 862 Richmond Street West: June 3, 6 to 8 p.m.
Closing Party at Gama Space, 862 Richmond Street West: June 3, 8 p.m. FREE

Tickets are available at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/different-games-toronto-tickets-34304786540

In collabration with OCAD University & Gamma Space Collaborative Studio

Sponsored by MailChimpUbisoft Toronto & Sheridan College

Venue & Address: 
49 McCaul Street
Ticket prices vary

Emma Westecott

Emma Westecott has worked in and around the game industry for over twenty years. She originally achieved recognition for working closely with Douglas Adams as programmer then producer for the best-selling Starship Titanic (1998, Simon & Schuster). Emma directed zerogame for The Interactive Institute, an applied games research lab based in Sweden and organised Women in Games 2007 (http://www.womeningames.com).

Pokémon Go - a game changer for augmented reality

Screenshot from Pokemon GO

Everybody’s talking about Pokémon Go! The augmented reality game isn’t even (officially) available in Canada yet but it’s taking the country by storm. In the US, the game already has more users than Tinder and Twitter.

Augmented reality is a real-world view that is supplemented (augmented) by computer-generated elements such as sound, images, graphics or video.

OCAD U faculty member Emma Westecott is a world leader in gaming and game design. She was a programmer and then producer for the best-selling Starship Titanic game.

“Pokémon Go is a game changer as it marks the evolution of a classic gaming brand on to new platforms using new technologies,” Westecott says. “To become mainstream, any new technology needs widespread adoption, and the fan base brought to augmented reality by passionate Pokémon players provides that.”

Games have always been used to introduce new technology to markets, Westecott says. “I think it has taken a while to get the technologies working together reliably. GPS is a fairly mature technology, whilst augmented reality is much newer. Getting them working together reliably enough to handle the amount of Pokémon users Go has is non-trivial.”

“The popularity of Pokémon Go will trigger an explosion of augmented reality collecting games. Perhaps more interestingly, it will bring an exploration of different genres of games in augmented reality and the mixed reality game sector.”

Discover three Pokestops at OCAD U and battle it out at a Pokémon gym, located by the mural on the outside of our Student Gallery. You can also learn more about augmented reality and game design in our undergraduate and graduate Digital Futures programs. 

Admissions Segment: 

Faculty recognized for excellence in teaching

Friday, May 6, 2016 - 2:00pm

At the Faculty Appreciation Event on Thursday, April 28, six faculty members were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the student learning experience at OCAD University.

The Price Award, in memory of Mamie and J.H. Price, and the Non-Tenured Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. This year’s recipients are:

  • Emma Westecott, assistant professor and director of the game:play lab
  • Suzanne Stein, associate professor and director of the Super Ordinary Lab

Non-Tenured Award:

  • Sambhavi Chandrashekar, Inclusive Design

The Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre’s Inspired Teaching Awards were given to three faculty members:

  • Teaching Assistant: Tatjana Petkovic, Graphic Design
  • Excellence in Teaching First-Year Students: Mary Porter, Faculty of Art
  • Leadership to Advance Teaching: Colleen Reid, Associate Dean, Faculty of Design

The candidates were nominated by students, colleagues and supervisors on the strength of their dedication and passion for teaching and student learning.



Are games art?

“The first question I asked myself is are games art?,” says OCAD U Digital Futures student Saffron Bolduc-Chiong. “How can we make games a more artful experience?”

Saffron and her fellow Digital Futures student Emma Burkeitt, are exploring this question with their thesis project Sunken – an immersive game space installation in which players can navigate, interact and play with both physical and digital elements.

Sunken explores how gameplay can be combined with theme park design, lighting and environmental narrative to create an artful and engaging mixed-reality experience. They’re also incorporating interactive digital elements including a motion-activated Leap controller, water-activated switches, light-up objects and an augmented reality app. Players can hover over objects with the app to reveal hidden information.

Sunken’s room is set up to look like the underwater lab of a late-1800s scientist, revisited with 1950s technology and experienced in 2016. The aesthetic is inspired by Jules Verne and more modern works such as the video game Bioshock and the immersive theatre experience Sleep No More.




Digital Futures students Emma Burkeitt and Saffron Bolduc-Chiong

Digital Futures students Emma Burkeitt and Saffron Bolduc-Chiong