Comics vs Games + Spooky Squid Games = Crazy Busy Toronto Weekend!

Comics vs Games + Spooky Squid Games = Crazy Busy Toronto Weekend!

So outside of Spooky Squid Games I’m also part of the Hand Eye Society a Videogame arts and culture non-profit here in Toronto.  As part of that I started a project called Comics vs Games a couple years ago that keeps getting bigger every year. The third one happens this weekend as part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) and it is going to be madness. Here’s where you’ll be able to find me (Miguel) or the other half of Spooky Squid (Andrew) all weekend.

Saturday May 10th 11am-8pm at Bit Bazaar, Andrew will be manning our table which will have the new Russian Subway Dogs playable and a ton of They Bleed Pixels Merch

Saturday May 10th 12pm-1pm I’ll be upstairs from Bit Bazaar  interviewing XKCD’s Randall Munroe for Comics vs Games Talks live on stage. (Full talk description here) In fact I put together a full 7 hours of talks and panels that day with comic artists and game makers talking about the intersection of the mediums. Full list in the CvsG Talks program guide:

Saturday and Sunday May 10-11th at TCAF
Black Church Brigandage 2/4 player versus barbarian sports game I created with comic artist Andy Belanger will be playable at the Comics vs Games Showcase. This game isn’t available anywhere so it’s a rare chance to play it. Here’s a video of a 1vs1 match I played against fellow game dev Christine Love, however it really shines in 2vs2. It’ll be upstairs near the elevators at the TCAF main location along with a whole bunch of other games.  I’ll also be there most of Sunday if you want to chat or challenge me to match.

I’ll also be on the following panel talking about traveling in Japan with TCAF:

Sunday, May 11 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel - Google Map
TCAF International: Japan, England, and Beyond!
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has been exhibiting on behalf of the Canadian Comics Industry and Canadian artists in Tokyo, Japan, for the past 2 years. In 2014 and 2015 we plan to head back to Tokyo, as well as other destinations around the world! Find out about our trips, what we’re hoping to accomplish, and how you as an artist or publisher can get involved.

So if your in Toronto and a fan of Spooky Squid Games, or just comics and games in general you should come out! Full info on Comics vs Games including times & locations here:

Russian Subway Dogs at GDC!

I’m at GDC this week with a brand new build of our next commercial game, Russian Subway Dogs. You may have caught me tweeting about its development lately.

If you’re attending GDC and would like to play just tweet or email me and we can figure something out.


What’s this Russian Subway Dogs game all about?
It’s a single screen arcade game where you play as a stray dog wandering the subway, stealing food and competing for scraps against rival dogs. It’s inspired by the real life stray dogs who travel the Moscow Metro.

Wait I thought Russian Subway Dogs was a free jam game?
It was but this new version has a ton of improvements, new art and new content, including irritating poodles and the dreaded RUSSIAN SUBWAY BEARS!

What will it be released on?
We’re still figuring that out but likely various mobile platforms since that suits RSD’s high-score driven arcade gameplay and simple controls.

When will it be released?
When it’s done.

Are you working on anything bigger for PC or consoles? 
We have another They Bleed Pixels sized game in very early development. We’ll be making announcements about it later this year.

Is there a trailer or press pack?
Not yet. We’re still tweaking art and gameplay. We’ll have trailers screenshots and the rest ready when we announce release platform(s).

Live Pixel Painting at Toronto Long Winter with En Masse Tomorrow!

I’ll be painting (pixel art) with the En Masse collaborative art project tomorrow (Dec 13th, 2013) at Toronto Long Winter music and culture festival. If you’re in and around Toronto come out, catch some great music and watch me draw!  I won’t be the only game related person at the show, DrinkBox Studios have curated a bunch of indie games to play and I Am Robot and Proud from Sound Shapes will be performing live. Should be an awesome night.

This is actually the second time I’m drawing with En Masse.  The first was at Design Festa Gallery in Harajuku, Tokyo where I drew the 2-bit Clawed Girl you see in the photos above.  I had an amazing time, and it was one of the highlights of my 2012 Japan trip.

Want extra incentive? There’s a good chance I’ll be drawing something related to our next, as yet unannounced game tomorrow night!

Photo credits: Rupert Bottenberg, Jurie Manzarkowski

All Hallow's Eve Tea and Masquerade

If you’re looking for something to do in Toronto this Halloween may we suggest ALL HALLOW’S EVE TEA AND MASQUERADE at Bento Miso? They Bleed Pixels will be among several spooky local indie games available to play. Cover is $5 at the door. “Delightful drinks and tantalizing treats available for sale at the event.” All profits go to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

More info here:

I get back from my epic Tokyo trip the day before and will likely be in attendance, confused and disoriented by massive jet lag and so very afraid.

They Bleed Pixels at Kaigai International Manga Fest in Tokyo - Oct 20th 2013!

We’re making it out to one last event in Japan before heading back to Canada. You’ll be able to find us (and pick up some rare TBP postcards, prints and buttons) at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) table at the Kaigai Manga Festival alongside several Canadian cartoonists and fellow Toronto indie dev Christine Love. It’s part of a larger event called Comitia which is jam packed with amazing original art. 

More info on Kaigai and TCAF’s involvement can be found here:

Screenshot is from a quick and dirty tutorial translation we’ll have at our table. Big thanks to the folks at Playism for helping us out with that. Expect a full localized version of They Bleed PIxels from them sometime in 2014!

A Short Dance About Architecture (and Action Games)

A short game design microtalk on performance platformers and game controls I gave at the Tokyo Indie Underground event at 8bitcafe in Shinjuku (2013/09/18). Worth checking out if your interested in some of the thinking behind They Bleed Pixels.

Into my second week in Tokyo now and lots to write about including attending and exhibiting at Tokyo Game Show’s first indie game event (including a super confusing stage show I got to be a part of).  More soon!

They Bleed Pixels & We Love Fine Team up for PAX!

Super happy to announce that we’ve teamed up with the talented folks at for PAX Prime! They’ve put together four unique designs (3 t-shirts & 1 bag) that we’ll be selling at our booth this weekend (#684 in the IndieMEGABOOTH)!

I know folks will ask and yes, we are talking about the possibility of making these available online sometime in the future but for now PAX Prime will be your only guaranteed chance to pick one of these up.

The four designs are:

Big thanks to the artists who worked on these!

More info on where to find us at PAX Prime complete with map here.

They Bleed Pixels at PAX Prime - Booth #684 In The Indie MEGABOOTH!


We’ll be at PAX Prime in Seattle this weekend (Aug 30-Sep 2, 2013) sharing a booth in the Indie MEGABOOTH with our friend Christine Love (Analogue / Hate Plus). You’ll find both of us at booth #684. I’m going to have all the They Bleed Pixels goodies we had for sale at PAX East and FanExpo as well as a selection of T-Shirts and bags created by the talented folks at We Love Fine! 

More info and bigger images of the awesome new We Love Fine stuff here.

The IndieMEGABOOTH is absolutely huge this year, check out the trailer to see all the games being shown!

 If you’re at PAX come stop by the booth and say hi!

Our boothmate Christine Love has a good post on her *very* mixed feelings attending PAX.  I’ve stated previously on twitter and I’ll state it again here that I share her sentiment and hope that over time the folks at the top of the PA empire become more sensitive to the concerns of the women, queer and trans folk that are an important part of the gaming community. 

Spooky Squid Games at Fan Expo Toronto - Aug 22-25, 2013

We’ll be at Fan Expo in Toronto from Thursday through the weekend! Come play They Bleed Pixels and pick up some rare TBP merch including the super rare Little Black Envelope Edition pictured above!

We’re booth #2042 right across from Ubisoft in the South Building by a clump of other indie game folks including Capy, Christine Love, Onipunks, DMG Toronto and Bento Miso

More info on Fan Expo Here -

We’ll also be stateside at PAX PRIME the weekend after. More info soon!

Nuit Blanche Arcadian Renaissance

We recently had Nuit Blanche 2010 in Toronto, an all night event where the city is filled with all sorts of art, from gallery shows to huge building sized interactive installations. This year it also had an arcade thanks to The Hand Eye Society. Our game Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence was one of the indie games exhibited.

There were six cabinets in all, each running an indie game made in part or in whole by people in and around Toronto.  Unfortunately the Osmos cabinet, a modified original Torontron, gave up the ghost and had to be reverted to it's standard set of games.


Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence got a new arcade specific build, and (finally) a proper title screen.  I'm still doing some tweaks before I put the home version up on the Spooky Squid website, but the old version is still available for play.

A full shot of the cabinet complete with back lit marquee.

The arcade took place in an amazing space at the brand new TIFF Bell Lightbox Building.  The Lightbox was designed for film festivals which means we also had access to a huge projector...

...which was used for rounds of Everyday Shooter, Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence, and a midnight Nidhogg tournament!

The award winning Nidhogg was our international guest game for the event. You can really see the size of the screen here.

Several of the cabinets will now be loaded up with multiple games and distributed around the city. Each cabinet is set up for different control schemes.  Shown here the 'one button' cabinet playing Silent Skies!

Mark Rabo from Gamercamp put together a great video of the event:

And the TIFF folks produced this one with an awesome packman soundtrack:

This was put together thanks to a huge number of volunteers and several generous sponsors.  Full list of games and everyone involved is posted on the Hand Eye Society Website.

START show and The Indie Showcase

If you've been following our twitter feed you know this has been the year of indie game events here in Toronto, the Hand Eye Society has ended up being wildly more successful then any of us expected and there have been a ton of side projects and events spawned by it. If you're in Toronto two events are coming up in the next few days that are well worth attending:


Tomorrow night (Oct 16)  is the gala event for START a celebration of independent games at the Ontario Collage of Art and Design. They've been showing a huge number of independent games from around the world all week in a great space on big projected screens.   We probably won't be there due to being in the last week of grant writing hell (Canada's grants are awesome. Writing hundred plus page submissions, not so much) but a new build of Cephalopod's Co-op Cottage Defense will be there and projected huge!  The space they have is amazing and it's well worth checking out even if you miss the gala.

As part of START the folks at Gamercamp put together this great trailer on the local indie scene.

It's part of a bigger project they're working on. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they make from all the interviews they've been doing.

The Indie Showcase

On Saturday (Oct 18) my friend Alex from Golden Gear Games is holding the Indie Showcase with live music, presentations from local indie developers, more games to play and, weather permitting, games projected outside on a 40 foot wall! Info on the event here.  We will not be attending, again due to what will by then be a full blown grantpocalypse .  However Night Balloonists and Cephalopod's Co-op Cottage Defense will be playable.

More events coming soon (and eventually more development vids I freaking promise!).

Spooky Squid at TCAF!

The excellent (and totally free!) Toronto Comic Arts Festival(TCAF)  is coming up this weekend.  Unlike your typical comic event this one is all about independent creators and small press comic books from around the world. It's also really big for an indie media event, taking up two floors of the Toronto Reference Library (Yes the one where Knives and Ramona fight in Scott Pilgrim vol.2).   Toronto's local indie games initiative The Hand Eye Society is setting up a booth at TCAF with a bunch of playable games and we're one of the participants. Here are the Spooky Squid Games @ TCAF specific details:

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Torontron at this weekend.

It's been  awhile since the last post.  Sorry about that. We've been busy getting ready for production proper and putting together a grant proposal. Night of the Cephalopods is now playable on the Torontron, an old retro videogame cabinet that was retrofitted by Jph Wacheski and some other folks in the Hand Eye Society to play a selection of Toronto indie games.  It's currently looking for a semi-permanent home, till then it's making the rounds of various local indie media and game events.  It already showed up at Canzine, and tomorrow (Sat Nov 20th) it will be part of the excellent looking Gamercamp event.   Gamercamp is set to have lots of talks and demos about games by local independent developers, including Andrew and myself who'll be demoing some new Guerrilla Gardening stuff.   The day ends with a freeplay retro arcade so the Torontron won't be lonely.

Here's a gallery of photos of the Torontron in all its retro glory:

The game with the two birds is Albacross, by friend of Spooky Squid Games Rosemary Mosco.  Since she wasn't available I ended up rigging it to work on the cabinet.

Artsy Games and Spooky Squid this week at the Hand Eye Society Social


If you're in Toronto,  near Toronto, or filthy rich and own your own private jet, you should come down to the Unit bar (1198 Queen Street W.) this Thursday for the Hand Eye Society Social a free and public event for game makers and enthusiasts!

"Why?" you ask, "After all I'm only interested in games about militant gardening, tentacled mollusks with bilateral symmetry, or Luddite potatoes."

"Because we have a line up of games catering to your exacting taste!" I respond while quietly slipping a half brick into a sock 'just in case'. "You'll be able to play the games from this round of the Artsy Games Incubator featuring not only squids and  a tuber with an anti-tech agenda but also games with raccoons, criminally awkward breakfast conversation, stylish mountain climbing, and applying for arts grants!"

"I'm sold!" you respond while backing away ever so slowly "When does it start?"

"We'll introduce the games at 7:30, so show up a little before then so you don't miss it! " I responda little too enthusiastically, "if there's extra time I'll also be giving a quick demo of Guerrilla Gardening: Seeds of Revolution".

"I'll totally be there!" you respond as you make a break for the door.

"If you can't make it the games will be available soon on the Artsy Games blog where you can play games from previous rounds right now!" I call out desperately... but it's too late... you're gone.