Montréal Joue: Libraries playing with power

Montreal has a new gaming festival, and surprisingly enough it’s all thanks to our local libraries.

From Montréal Joue’s official poster

Montreal has a new gaming festival, and surprisingly enough it’s all thanks to our local libraries. Montréal Joue is already underway, and continues until March 10 at 39 of the city’s 43 libraries. The 200+ activities include talks with industry vets, teaching seminars and, of course, game demos.

Montreal libraries have wholeheartedly embraced the medium, as many already have video game lending sections.

“For us, video games and boardgames are cultural artifacts that deserve their place in libraries alongside books, comics, film, music, manga,” says BiblioMontréal librarian Claude Ayerdi-Martin. “It’s important to give them value and for people to have the opportunity to borrow them for free.

“For the festival we’ll have artists come in and explain what they do, what they needed to study in school, how to create a video game character, how to animate characters, so people will get to learn about the game-making process and what goes behind it.”

There will also be two massive boardgame single-day events: 32 libraries will be hosting Belgium-based game Chicane dans la Cabane (“Rumble in the House” in English) demos at the same time on March 2, and 27 libraries will hold Settlers of Catan games on March 6.

The inaugural Montréal Joue also coincidences with the launch of l’Arène, BiblioMontréal’s new French-language gaming blog. “It’s the librarians themselves who will be recommending games,” says Ayerdi-Martin. “For now, the calendar portion of the website is devoted to Montréal Joue, but in the future we hope to add all types of gaming activities happening in Montreal.”

On March 7-8, a handful of local studios will be holding open houses as part of the festival, although the 150 allotted spots have already been filled up, Ayerdi-Martin says, and there’s a waiting list to boot. EA Montreal, who last Thursday reportedly laid off most of their staff, are scheduled to host an open house as well as present some of the library activities. At the time of the interview, Ayerdi-Martin hadn’t spoken with EA Montreal about how their troubles might affect their participation in Montréal Joue. ■


For more info, including a handy one-page jpg of all the activities, check out Montréal Joue.

Leave a Reply