06/22/2019

Comics Vs. Games 2: Success! (From The Attract Mode Archive: #058)

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

The following post originally appeared on attractmo.de, on May 25, 2013.
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It’s been two weeks since the second installment of Comics Vs. Games, in beautiful Toronto, Canada. And how did the opening shindig, the first ever Bit Bazaar, plus Attract Mode in general fare? Very well, thank you very much. First, highlights from the official kick off!

BTW, the Instagrams are all mine, except for the second one, along with the really nice photographs; those are courtesy of Henry Faber. Who, alongside wife Jennie, runs Bento Miso, where much of the Comics Vs. Games 2 madness unfolded…

In addition to the artwork, Miguel Sternberg set up the games that would be at the Toronto Reference Library the following Saturday, where TCAF takes place proper. It was a fun time! The turn out was nice and strong, plus the prints were very well received (quite a few would find new homes when all was said the done)…

So yeah, it was an amazing evening for both myself and Adam, plus Attract Mode in general! But it was just the start…

The following Saturday as noted was TCAF 2013, with Comics Vs. Games 2 serving as an official event. And an off-site one at that, with the last detail being the part which, quite honestly, made myself at least a tad bit nervous. Cuz satellite events for almost anything are generally tough sells, no matter how well they are promoted.

But because Bento Miso has become such a vital epicenter of Toronto’s game dev scene, we knew going in that we’d have a decent turn out from just that. Along with possibility that Attract Mode might actually fare better away from the action than in the heart of it.

As legit prestigious as it has been to exhibit at the library, we honestly have not done gangbuster business there either. Due entirely to the fact that TCAF’s audience as a whole is not necessary Attract Mode’s. Yet we were not at all prepared by how well received the Bit Bazaar would be. But before getting into all that, a look at the Attract Mode table…

It was mix of stuff that one will find in the shop already, along with upcoming items and goodies from friends of ours. Like Chris Furniss’ 31 Days of Zero Suit hardcover, along with some prints of his…

You also had Ted Martens’ SegaZine…

Greeting cards from Zac Gorman…

As well as Ultraminbus’ ULTRANIMBOY zine…

Without getting into the finances, we pretty much sold out of everything. In fact, I’m pretty certain we did better business in the first two hours than the entirety of TCAF 2012! Anyhow, in addition to Attract Mode merch, the prints also did very well during Bit Bazaar…

One of the best parts of the trip as a whole was the chance to catch up with old friends, plus become acquainted with new folks. Case in point: finally got to meet Famous New Media Artist Jeremy Bailey! Though it was weird seeing him in person, sans flat shaded polygons flying all around…

Another highlight was the table next to us: Team Vector, a collective of artists and curators who specialize in video games. They had a bunch of cool stuff for sale as well, including a copy of the Game Boy adaptation of Andy Warhol’s Empire, by Vector co-Director Clint Enns (which I featured once before, in a previous Instagram dump)…

One of the major draws of Comics Vs. Games 2 was the star-studded panel that took place, which included Benjamin Rivers, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Scott C. Wasn’t able to check it out, due to running the table and all, but heard it was awesome (plus standing room only)…

Even better is how pretty the majority of those who showed up for the panel specifically all stuck around! So Bento Miso was jam packed, from the very beginning to the very end. Which is hardly a shocker, since there were simply so many cool things to see and do (and take home)…

CAPY was obviously a major draw as well, which the latest build of Super Time Force getting a ton of play…

It was also a chance to pick up artwork from the fine folks who create art for CAPY’s games. Like pixel-pusher extraordinaire, Vic Nguyen

DrinkBox Studios also had a table, where on could play Guacamelee! and also buy super cool related merch…

There was also literally a ton of amazing games that I discovered that day, many of which were created at Bento Miso! One of my favorites was Beat Patrol; described as a turn based rhythm game, it’s like DoDonPachi meets PaRappa The Rapper

The Fabers told me that I absolutely needed to play Jazz Punk, and it sure as hell did not disappoint. It’s a first person game in which you play some cold war super spy that takes hallucinogenic drugs to battle bad guys made entirely out of pizzas. Among other things…

Perhaps you’ve already head of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime? Here’s a little girl eating a cookie watching her mom try to save a plant populated with cute frog people…

And here we are, back at the home base, which was manned by various different members of Attract Mode throughout the day (k, so Mathew Kumar refused… sorry, respectfully declined to be an official member when the collective was being formed, but he’s one in my mind nonetheless)…

In the end, attendance was estimated at around 1,800, which blew everyone’s minds. The doors opened at noon and was supposed to close at 8; we expected a massive influx of people at the end, since the main site closed at 5. But due to a combination of mass transit problems plus a marathon, many attendees on that end were not able to make it to ours.

Yet we still had so many folks that we ended up having to kick folks out around the 9:30 mark. Again, we simply could not believe how many people showed up!

So it goes without saying that both Adam and I are beyond grateful to every single person who came out and lent their support plus helped spread the word, but especially everyone behind the scenes who made it out happen in the first place!

At the top of the list is the Fabers, who aside from being a joy to work with, helped to fully realize the Comics Vs. Games concept. Last year felt like a grand experiment, a successful one at that, but this year is the one in which everything felt as if it had finally “arrived”.

There’s also Miguel and everyone at Hand Eye Society. Comics Vs. Games is basically Miguel’s baby, and to have the blessing of Toronto’s most well-known and respected body of game makers is something we’re intensely proud of.

And finally you have Chris Butcher and everyone at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, for allowing all of us the chance to do something like Comics Vs. Games in the first place. It has been a genuine an honor and thrill. Hopefully they’ll have us back for round three!

Plus Team Vector for helping us with setting up the gallery, Steve Cober from the Magic Pony for some last minute printing help, and our very own Kris Piotrowski for the 3:00 am pierogies.

As for the next Attract Mode show, it’s already in the planning stages! Coming soon, later this summer, another follow up to something else we did last year… stay alert.

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