Posts Tagged: Toronto

Nov 10

The Evolution of Gamer Camp

In  the last session I attended at this year’s Gamer Camp Benjamin Rivers spoke about how the way we interact with games and with others while playing  games has changed over the years. Similarly in looking back at this year’s Gamer Camp I think there has also been  a dramatic (and awesome!) shift in the way the event has flowed and developed this year over last.

Having attended last year’s Gamer Camp I was like an impatient kid on Christmas Eve waiting for this year’s Gamer Camp to arrive and I definitely wasn’t let down. Starting from just an idea  between Jamie Woo and Mark Rabo in fall 2009, this year’s Gamer Camp which occurred  on Nov. 13 and 14 grew to become not only much  bigger but also very different.

While keeping with the original format of Gamer Camp 1 on the first day I have to say that the addition of Day 2 was the most exciting. Set in the school of design at George Brown College the whole event was really opened up for attendees to explore and interact with the speakers and each other. Rather than a linear list of speakers, everyone in attendance was able to go from session to session or even not go at all having free reign to check out the classic game emulators, indy gaming cabinets or even just taking time out to interact with other game players and creators.

In the end I think this new format encouraged something that most people came to experience which was having an opportunity to just talk about games with fellow gamers and with the Toronto developer community.While gaming has become for the most part mainstream,  having an opportunity to talk passionately about how we play and interact with games still doesn’t happen often enough.

Looking at how the weekend progressed  you could definitely see that there were relationships formed and perhaps a sense of community being built. For myself I was able to meet some great people and had some great ideas started in my head with potential for projects to be created. Overall I think at the end of day two, people left exhausted but energized for more to come. For achieving this in just two years of existence in my opinion is pretty significant. To Mark, Jamie and everyone else involved in Gamer Camp this year congrats and thanks for the good times!

In a post I hope to have up sometime tomorrow I’ll take some time to look at some of the key learnings I took away this year. Stay tuned!

Oct 10

Will The Kinect Connect With Gamers?

The latest  trend in console gaming as of late has been the use of motion technology. Started by Nintendo with the Wiimote , competitors Microsoft and Sony are set to launch their own iterations this fall  of how they plan to allow gamers to interact with games in the months and years to come.

For the past year+ I’ve been following Microsoft’s product entry originally called Project Natal and now called the Kinect. Starting with the presentation  of the Milo project  during E3 2009 I definitely got chills and came to  think that this technology had some major potential ( See  the video below to see what I mean!)

1 year passed from the release of the project Milo video and I didn’t really hear much further about the Kinect until this summer from E3.  The thing was that  there was no mention of Milo, instead there were  announcements of games such as Kinect Adventures and and Kinect Joy Ride. Essentially games aimed towards the casual market  that looked like they were taken from the Wii. After being shown such a great tech demo this was hardly anything ground breaking. Another aspect which shaked my confidence a bit  in the machine  was the discussion from reporter previews making mention of significant play lag when using the Kinect . Would the Kinect not meet its full potential and just turn into a Wii wannabe device?

Recently I checked out the Toronto Kinect preview put  on by  Xbox Canada. Getting to try the system hands on (or hands off really) would finally help me to determine if this was a peripheral that would withstand the lifespan of the Xbox 360 or be eventually discontinued (much like the Xbox HD disc drive).

What are my thoughts on the Kinect now having played it? There is some serious tech behind this machine but its still early days. Getting to try most of the game demos on display I had to say except for Kinect Joy Ride the control of the games were very tight and the game play was fun. I wasn’t experiencing any sort of lag and my in game character was mimicking my every move flawlessly. Being shown a device tool (shown in the picture below) you could see that the Kinect was essentially a motion capture machine and more. When showed another Kinect tool I was amazed to see the level of detail in the image it was displaying back to me. In a pixelated view of myself even smaller details like the writing on my sweater were being displayed.

More than just motion capture!

My concerns for the system? That it will be nothing more than a tool to attract casual gamers pushing out games that contain just short mini contests and family trivia. While it has been confirmed that Fable 3 will have some sort of conectivity and at the Kinnect preview I was assured that they had more in depth games in the works, Microsoft needs to get a few blockbuster quality games on the Kinect for it to be accepted by their primary audience who play games like Halo, God of War and Madden NFL. If they can get games out  with similar game play to the commercial below I’d be completely sold!

While to a smaller extent, I was also concerned by the demands of the Kinect in terms of how much space and energy it required to play this game. In one demo, I found to be successful in the game I needed to be moving in a floor area that if played in my apartment  would place significant demands on my  living room space.

The games  also if played for long periods are definitely a workout ! They aren’t ones you can simply sit down for, they take your whole body and movement into it. As gaming is often something people  play to to sit back and unwind,  being required to be on their feet and active may be a bit of a put off.

Overall I’m converted back into thinking that the Kinect will be a killer app for the Xbox 360. I hope that Microsoft is able to put the marketing push into this device and persuade gamers to purchase it as I know I will!

Aug 09

Toronto takes SXSW!

With such a large tech community in Toronto there has been a  lot of growth this year in Toronto applicants to the  2010 SXSW convention ( held in Austin Texas, more info can be found here) as so many have now made it to the voting stages I thought it would make things a lot easier to have all the sessions in one place for everyone to vote and show your support .  I hope to see everyone there!


The Sessions:

  1. F#$% Keeping it Simple presented by Dave Coleman, Saul Colt and Jeremy Wright
  2. Community Management : Future Skills You’ll Need to Know presented by Saul Colt
  3. Tweet Your Way to Your Next Job presented by Saul Colt
  4. Putting a Fork in The 30 Second Spot with panelist  Andrew Lane
  5. Life After Wii Fit: Geeks On Fitness presented by Wesley Hodgson
  6. Make Me a Damn Good Manager! presented by Andre Gaulin
  7. Millionaire or Artist? How About Both? with panelist  Amrita Chandra
  8. Distributed Micro-Patronage: The Future of Getting Paid: presented by Josh Newman
  9. Building Blocks of a New Economy For Music: presented by David Dufresne
  10. Colour Trends -Palettes to Pick for 2010 presented by Paige Dzenis
  11. Brilliant Second Acts You Must Steal Tricks From presented by Jaime Woo
  12. How to Recover From  a Brand Collapse panelist  Jeremy Wright
  13. Twitter and Dating in 140 Characters or Less presented by Jeremy Wright and special guest!
  14. Ditch the Old to Build Your Dream Life with panelist Jeremy Wright
  15. Gaming’s Final Frontier- Moving Towards Monetization & Improving Experience presented by Troy Ross
  16. Passionate People: The Key Ingredient to Social Media Success: with panelists  Meghan Warby ,  James Topham and Ryan Taylor
  17. A Different Documentary : Online Story Telling and Social Change presented by Boyd Niel
  18. Documentary Games: Playing with the Truth presented by Tony Walsh
  19. Multi-Platform Storytelling with panelist Andrew Lane
  20. SXSW SARS with panelist Jay Goldman
  21. We are Family: Web Applications Band Together Now! presented by Sunir Shah
  22. How to be  a Customer Support Rockstar presented by Grace Antonio
  23. Experimental Design:Your User Interface is Your Laboratory presented by Mike McDerment
  24. Exploiting Chaos– How to Spark Innovation During Times of Change presented by Jeremy Gutsche
  25. News 2.0 – How Old Media Companies Are Inventing New Models presented by Maggie Fox with panelists Laura Conway, Mathew Ingram,  and Candice Faktor.

Have any questions/comments ? Contact me at or send me a twitter message .

Jun 09

My Experience at Social Mastermind//Social Media for Social Change

A story not so often heard about social media  is how it can be a tool used by those who don’t wish to  make a profit but rather by those who want to make a change in today’s society. This past week I was lucky enough to get myself  out to see how some great people are looking to use social media tools for the better good and was able to lend my albeit limited knowledge to help out one organization in  effectively using social media  tools to reach their goals.

What was this? It was Net Change week described on their  website as a week to connect Toronto’s digital natives with the city’s social change organizations. Held at MaRs discovery district with the backing of both for and non profit organizations the week looked like it was a great success. Now where did I come in? I had the pleasure of volunteering my time as one of the social media ‘experts’ in  a one day session  with a charity to analyze their current operations and develop strategies to implement social media in their work.

I had the opportunity to work with a good friend of mine  Dan Hocking a partner in a digital agency. We were paired with Pencils for Kids a small charity based out of Markham who’s goal is to see all children with the tools needed to have an education. Currently they have projects in a community in Niger where they have worked to  help provide the school supplies and facilities needed for an education. Overall an organization that despite only having one full time (unpaid) staff  person has been doing great things to create social change.

While Pencils for Kids is doing some great things offline, Dan and I felt that building a stronger social media presence would work well in expanding their fund-raising efforts.  Here’s a bit of what we were able to discuss in our meeting:

Telling their story: The founder of this organization , Robin Mednic  who is in the thick of things when it comes to this organization’s projects has  an uncanny  ability to just grab you into the cause. By telling her experience with the organization and the changes Pencils for Kids has made  she almost immediately sold me on the charity.  We felt this strong message needed to be found on their website as well.  By better integrating the photos they already had on flickr and placing the content amassed  in her travels on the site in either blog or in web page form we felt Pencils for Kids could represent themselves as the amazing change creating organization that they are.

Fund-raising: We also got into the development of a fund-raising campaign with a strong on line component. Focused around the idea of providing every child in the community they support with text books Pencils for Kids would actively engage supporters in this campaign . Relying heavily on visual imagery ( X amount of money = X% of a child’s text books) Pencils for kids through its offline work could drive on line donations to its site. Through this campaign they would be able to directly demonstrate the effect an individual ‘s donation  would have to the cause and they would appeal to literacy groups, schools and the general public in reaching their goal.

Awareness: Pencils are a strong source of imagery for the organization and Pencils for Kids uses it as a initial topic for discussion about their organization. To build stronger feelings for this organization it was felt that Pencils for Kids could engage the public by encouraging them to  create content around this key item.  Some suggested mediums were photos, drawings, and videos and these would be posted on the Pencils for Kids website where viewers could vote and comment on these pieces of work  potentially with prizing to follow for  the most votes.

Overall this was a great experience and I was happy to have been brought aboard. I think I took away something from this experience as well. In the social media realm a lot of people with knowledge feel that organizations should be on all the major tools and they will then seem to have this major success.  I’ve learned that  certain tools aren’t for every organization.  Really I think that goes back to basic marketing. What tools will meet the organizations needs and goals? We didn’t go very heavy on a social media tool set in our ideas during the session because we knew that the volunteers of Pencils for Kids would be overwhelmed or not put in the  large  amount of effort needed to see  what would probably  be limited success. Instead we stuck to basics and worked on Pencils for Kids strengths.

PS: Remember how I said I was sold on this organization, after the session Dan and I  put our names down for working with Pencils for Kids in the future.

Have any questions/comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message .

Jan 09

I <3 Reddit!

So I’ve been reading Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott ( amazing book!) and have just finished the chapter on “The Net Generation as Consumers”  where in one section he spoke about companies becoming essentially friends with their target consumers.  Reflecting back to companies I’ve dealt with the news aggregator site Reddit  comes to mind. I’m a big fan of this site and have often either forwarded links from this site or shared it with my friends and I do this not only because I enjoy the content on the site but because the site creators have essentially become my friend and have befriended the rest of the website members. Here are some of the simple yet significant ways that they manage to do this:

Interacting with members outside of the site: The creators of this site not only interact with members through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter ( ex: @ kn0thing)  they have offline meetups!  I’ve met with them personally last year during their Drankkit World Tour where they went to major centers and sat down and had drinks with members ( a few pics of me at that event included)  but they even do it randomly including having dinner with a Reddit member who just asked if anyone were interested in going out for dinner.

They personalize: The Reddit alien is a big part of the personality of the website, almost every day  a new drawing of it is posted up depending on current events or project of the site. From time to time as a result of already mentioned meet ups or requests of members the Reddit Alien is redrawn or the Reddit logo even contains relevant pictures. As well the website is in a constant state of change( much like Gmail its in constant Beta)  if there are enough user requests certain aspects of the site are changed.

Not only are they creators, but they are also users: They don’t passively watch the site or attempt to moderate it , they are fully involved members. They aren’t afraid to get in there and post a comment or link and create discussions with other users. They also start side projects that encourage further member collaboration. Sometimes it can be silly such as Mr.Splashypants  but even in more serious matters such as Reddits Feed A Need campaign where users are encouraged to lend their skills and time in helping out a not for profit organization.

Overall I have a major heart on for this site and its creators. As a consumer I have a choice between Digg and Reddit  as they are essentially the same site and many times have the same links but  as Reddit has worked harder to befriend me my loyalty is pretty cemented in place . I’ve included a few pictures from Drankkit Toronto 07 , some with me included. Enjoy!  



Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian

The 2 Reddit Creators , Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian with Jenna Landry from Wired Magazine



My attempt at a "C" for Canada.... it ended up pretty lame!

My attempt at a "C" for Canada.... it ended up pretty lame!

Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Jan 09

I Throw Like a Girl, So Instead I Joined the League of Kick Ass!

So I’m still working out my schedule and regular routine having jumped into 2009 so I’ve been a bit slow on blogging   (I’m getting there!) . On Monday I attended for the first time a League of Kick Ass Business People event! While there werent any super hero’s present like in the League of Justice or anything else you would picture in a comic book it was still pretty ‘Kick Ass!’. lkbp3

Along with hearing some of the insights from  members of this elite ( or L33T) group, the theme of the night was ‘The Kickass Green Event’ talking about green business, and the Canadian environment. All in all really good speakers:

-Leslie Domenico from Green Enterprise Toronto spoke about sustainable and green business within Toronto ( big focus on local sourcing and equitable business) 

-Linda Mortsch from Environment Canada gave an intense wake up call about the state of global warming and how its going to affect our planet.

-Andy Thomson blew me away twice, first with his amazing presentation skills ( when you can tear 50+ business people from conversation to pay attention to you, thats what I call having  presence!) and after with his presentation on green homes with  the interesting idea of a green trailer park which was less trailer trash and more loft living in a forest. 

I unfortunately had to dash to another meeting I had, but  afterwards there was a presentation from Bikes without Borders which probably rocked as well, they sound like an inovative not for profit organization which I look forward to reading more about, perhaps getting involved sometime in the future(Linkage).

Overall, it was a good night even despite having to cut it short. I’m really exited to  become more involved in the LOKBP ( for more about what they are  check out here! )  this is definitely a group  that while making me feel insignificant because I’m not fully kick ass (yet!)  it also makes me want to learn and expand  myself  and  bring myself to that level.

 If you perhaps are a kick as business person who just happened to stumble upon my blog twitter @SeanMoffitt as not only is he the ‘big kahuna’ of the group , I’m sure he’d be happy to have you aboard.   The next  LOKBP event  Kick ass Design, will be happening March 4th ( so far away!) and  Sean is also begining to get together a group of Under 30 years  KBP group as well!  Pretty exciting stuff.                                          

Thats it for me, back to my chill friday night! Got any  Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.