August 30, 2012

Review – They Bleed Pixels

Review They Bleed Pixels
From the jagged teeth of buzzsaws to the spiked walls and floors beneath and above every slim bit of ground players will grasp in the search for some small space to breathe, They Bleed Pixels. Toronto developer Spooky Squid has crafted a platformer without pity, where the typical spiky pitfalls of the past are only the opening to a world of malevolently placed enemies and obstacles guarded by blades of precise timing – eager to spill the blood of opponents and players alike in gathering an offering for whatever dark Gods of old are in league with the design of its stages.

But this isn’t a game that’s hard for the sake of being so, nor some attempt to simply join other recent titles that wear difficulty as the primary incentive and reward to be bragged about at some They Bleed Pixels survivors meeting later this year.

They Bleed Pixels examines the space of traditional platformers, and knowing the habits of those that have grown up playing them, challenges players to make more of the wasted space around said platform. It does this by often providing very little solid ground to stand on, but also forces a new perspective on old habits by offering new spaces to cling to.


August 26, 2012

The View from FanExpo

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 1:52 pm

FanExpo Canada 2012
FanExpo descended upon the Toronto Metro Convention Centre once again this weekend, and I was fortunate enough to attend the event along with legions of costumed fans, which ran from Thursday until today.

While gaming coverage fed my initial interest, my perspective has been greatly colored by a well worn quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson of all things, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Perhaps this is why, of all that panels offering fans a chance to meet and hear from professionals and celebrities this weekend, the panel that left the deepest impression on me was given by Ubisoft Canada’s PR Manager Jeyson Acevedo, who talked about his transition from gaming journalist to handling PR for the third party developer.

Jeyson discussed the years he spent writing reviews and covering gaming events for free, simply for the opportunity to report on a medium he was passionate about. It was easy to relate to his story given my own experiences on that front, particularly as he mentioned the need to follow your passion even when family and friends might question the countless hours being invested. His talk certainly gave me a renewed burst of energy during a weekend that reminded me of the importance in following one’s passion regardless of where that road might lead and how bumpy it may sometimes feel along the way. Where we might usually talk shop about upcoming titles, Jeyson took the time to tell me about his first year managing PR for Ubisoft, including hand-written letters from young fans which he keeps in view of his desk.

Passion wasn’t just the keyword for Jeyson’s panel, but for the entire event. Where some might question why people lined up in the heat this weekend, many risking dehydration while doing so in elaborately designed costumes, passion isn’t simply the easiest answer, but also the truest one.

Whether I was walking through the Artist Alley and seeing the phenomenal creations of local artists, watching fans excited for an opportunity to try upcoming videogames hands-on for the first time, or absorbing the artistry of countless costumes created by fans, FanExpo was an opportunity to be surrounded by people of immense passion connecting and sharing that energy and creative drive with a community of likeminded souls.


June 9, 2012

E3 2012 – Hands On with Guacamelee!

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:50 pm

Guacamelee E3 2012
There’s some humour in the idea that I traveled to Los Angeles in order to play a game being made in Toronto. Of course there were plenty of other reasons to make the trip, but catching up with the latest creation from Drinkbox Studios was high on my radar and necessitated a priority stop at Sony’s booth during E3.

Drinkbox’s Graham Smith was on hand to aid me in a co-op session of Guacamelee!, which puts players behind the mask of a burly luchador, but also offers the chance to transform into a chicken with the press of a button. There’s something rather joyous about running across the screen with your beak in the air – in fact Graham might have had to wait a few moments while I abused the opportunity to keep doing that.

Eventually I regained some composure though, and the demo was able to move forward.


August 19, 2011

The View From X’11

X11 Toronto
Microsoft’s annual Toronto holiday showcase of all things 360 took place yesterday, and I was fortunate enough to make the event with other members of Team Sugar to check in on upcoming releases for the system.

This year’s showing was undoubtedly the largest one in recent memory, with a slew of publishers showing so many titles that the mind boggled at how to break down and digest so much content. It’s not often companies like Square-Enix, Bethesda, 2K Games, and Sega come to town, and the result was a never-ending sea of screens that left me feeling a bit dizzy by the end of the day.

With that said, I’m going to stay true to form and simply tell you what caught my eye.


November 19, 2010


Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 12:02 pm

Minus/infinity is the latest issue of Mathew Kumar’s one-man videogame zine, exp., and if Kumar’s name sounds familiar, you may be recalling it from places such as Edge Magazine, Gamasutra, InsertCredit, or just about anywhere significant words have been offered up to videogames online or in print.

As with previous issues, minus/infinity contains several “experimental articles,” which seek to offer a means of conveying the core experience of titles without the traditional trappings of videogame coverage.

This issue of exp. features

– The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom (A title card sequence)
– Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent (A puzzle page)
– Alan Wake (A collection of lost lost manuscript pages)
– VVVVVV (A different way of looking at things)
– Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (A party of friends)
– Patchwork Heroes (A lazy demand) *print exclusive*
– exp.ress Mail (A star letter)

If you noticed the print exclusive snippet on Patchwork Heroes, that’s owing to the fact that a .pdf version of the zine is available for the curious and mobile.

Check it out by visiting this site right here.

August 30, 2010

The View from FanExpo 2010

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , — Jamie Love @ 12:34 pm

Fan Expo 2010
Yesterday I joined a full-capacity crowd to check out Toronto’s 2010 FanExpo. The volume of attendees was an overwhelming testament to Toronto’s enthusiasm for such events, and a really incredible spectacle – unless you were the Fire Marshall.

The gaming presence was more subtle than I’d expected. Sony’s Move station was more like a coffee sized kiosk, and two other small booths offered some hands on with Halo Reach and Kinect – though I did spot at least one Wii station running Sin and Punishment 2.

So I switched off from gaming for the day and strolled around what quickly became the best part of FanExpo – the artist alley. Those aisles were a sea of visual overload and worth more than what I could fit into a single day but, topping my list of aesthetic treats, you should definitely pay a visit to Hyein Lee, I grabbed two of her prints yesterday and have since agonized over others I left behind.

Other artists to visit include Alana McCarthy, who tapped into my love of both robots and kittens, and the Okami set should check out tiikay over at deviantart for a great dose of Amaterasu prints that I could use more of on my walls.

January 25, 2010

Q&A – Catching Up With Little Guy Games

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 5:12 pm

Little Guy Games
Between the mass-media attention given to the announcement of a new Ubisoft Studio, and the critical success of new titles from Capybara Games (as well as many other happenings I’ll surely be in trouble for neglecting to mention here), it’s safe to say that 2009 was an important year for recognizing Toronto’s growing role in the videogame industry.

It was also the year that indie game developer Little Guy Games opened for business, founded by former Capybara Games President Tom Frencel.

The studio’s first game, the shooter/fighter mix Battle Blasters released earlier this month for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and Tom was good enough to take time out to answer a few questions on two of my favorite topics – game development and my home city.


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