The (near) future of Montreal gaming

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Anamorphine

Yesterday evening, the Montreal chapter of the International Game Developers Association held their annual DemoNight, where local game makers both big and small got the opportunity to show off what they’re presently working on. As always, IGDA DemoNight was a perfect microcosm of the city’s diverse and expanding gaming scene. No two games looked or played alike.

Among the 25 games shown, there was a Japanese-style RPG from Ubisoft, a Chinese military sim where proceeds from in-game purchases are donated to charity, and even a new project inspired by the Mighty Max/Polly Pocket his-and-her line of compact toys. It was also a chance to catch an early preview of Silent Enemy, Minority Media’s follow-up to Papo & Yo. For a list of all the demoed titles, visit here.

Here are a few personal highlights:

Anamorphine (PC): This trippy first-person spatial puzzler by Mohannad Al-Khatib and Ramy Daghstani needs to be seen to be believed. During the demo, we were transported to an empty room supported by seemingly endless rows of pillars. While it looked normal at first, once you started moving around, it became clear that a few of the pillars were actually made up of jagged pieces floating in space. The game looks to be filled with head scratching architectural wonders.

Hyper Void (PC, PS3, PS4): Rail shooter fans take note. IN|Framez Technology’s space blaster plays lightning fast, with a rainbow of colours being thrown at you and massive faces to shoot at (à la Star Fox’s Andross). The ever-changing level plains look especially cool — one level might find your ship rotating around the inside of a cylinder, while another will be more of a twisting track.

Papercade (iOS, Android): Hololabs’ DIY creation tool combines everything that isn’t annoying about social media into one charming package. Imagine constructing your own construction paper diorama (including using cut-outs of your own photos), making a game out of it and sharing it with your friends. Hololabs calls it “scrap-gaming.” They’re also looking for beta testers.

QED (PC, Mac, Linux): During the demo, creator Stephen Ascher said he intended to put his breakdancing physics comedy simulator on Pirate Bay, so check it out, risk-free. In QED, players toss around a flimsy-limbed avatar with the sole intention of getting into unexpectedly funny and painful mishaps. Nearby dogs, cardboard boxes and other items may also find themselves as collateral damage in this chaotic dance circle.

Deadlock (PC, Mac, Linux): While each game was unique, it was quite evident last night that Portal remains a pretty big influence on this current generation of gaming, both visually and in terms of gameplay. Of that bunch, this first-person platformer from 5-Bits Games was the most polished. It’s also a sci-fi tower climbing game built for speed running.

Cashtronauts (PC, Mac, Linux, OUYA): Simon Préfontaine’s portmanteau-ed retro space shooter combines three things most gamers already love: Asteroids-style shooting, loot collecting and split-screen multiplayer.

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