Montreal has grown into something of a videogaming hub over the past 10 years or so, with some of the biggest studios setting up shop here to put out some seriously triple-A titles; meanwhile, it still maintains a healthy ecosystem of smaller professional development and middleware companies. Nevertheless—near as I can figure it—it’s never had much of a non-professional gaming “scene.” That is, while there are certainly a number of more “indie” game devs/shops in town1 along with a few fledgling university programs and digital art societies2, there’s never been much impetus to get all these disparate entities and individuals together to chat and make games. Toronto, Ottawa, and Chicago (among others) have groups for the purpose—it felt as though it was time Montreal had the same.

After some back-and-forth on the subject by a number of parties on Twitter, both Mr. Matthew Gallant and Mr. Darius Kazemi independently pointed me in the direction of one Mr. Stephen Ascher, who had been interested previously in starting such an enterprise. And what do you know: a few beers and coffees later, we announced an Amazing Montreal Indie Meetup Extravaganza.

We met up last Wednesday at L’Amère à Boire brewpub (which has a fine upstairs bar equipped with a projector and even a laser pointer). The turnout was, even by my optimistic expectations, fantastic. Truly, as Kevin Costner once said: if you build it, they will tweet about it, maybe. It seems like word got out, and people really only needed a time and a place to meet—the reason and interest already being a given.

No Fun Games (of Pax Britannica fame) got things started demoing their latest: Tea Time Quarrel, created for this year’s TOJam. The night then became a bit more free-form, with developers lining up to demo works-in-progress or just rock out on some cool indie games (with Fez making a surprise and more than welcome appearance), while the rest of the (30+!!!) attendees sat, drank some fine beers, and chatted. Let us peel back the veil of time, and witness it once again in glorious Technicolor:

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No Fun Games’ “Tea Time Quarrel.” Player 2 ran away with this one.

meet3

meet4

meet5

I have a tendency to not use the flash. It makes people look like they’re really speedy.

To shorten this post a tad, I’ll simply say that I was absolutely blown away by the response we received, and by the number of really awesome folks that came out. Stephen and I are working towards coming up with a totally rad (and more official) name for the group and the meetups, and a subsequent website where all future announcements will be made (and to which I’ll link from this site, when the time comes). Until then, I can’t wait to do it all again. Santé, mes ami(e)s.

meet2

Indeed.


1 See: Polytron Corporation and the Kokoromi Collective.

2 E.g., Concordia’s CART and CCGD.