X Marks the Spot Wins First Place in Game of the Year Competition

 

In a great start to the new year, Ironic Iconic Studios’ first game, “Mandatory Upgrade – X Marks the Spot” has taken top honours at the 2nd annual TorontoGameDevs.com Game of the Year competition. Hundreds of people voted for their favourite game produced in Toronto and Southern Ontario and our game was fortunate enough to be voted #1 overall. This puts Mandatory Upgrade in the esteemed company of terrific games from other game devs such as DrinkBox Studios, Benjamin Rivers, and Ubisoft Toronto.

A game like this doesn’t just appear fully formed from the ether of the designer’s mind and so I’d like to take a moment to give a shout-out to the folks who helped make this happen. Firstly, my partners at One More Story Games who provided the platform to create and release great story-based games, StoryStylus. They also provided plenty of encouragement and technical support and were flexible enough to accommodate me when I started to use their game engine in strange and unexpected ways. I’d like to send props to Julia Harrison and Alistair Murphy, the artists who took my pages of descriptive text and reference material and whipped them up into a cohesive world with their gorgeous art. Also mad props to Steven G. Saunders (aka Mr Zoth and the Werespiders) who created the perfect musical accompaniment to the world of Mandatory Upgrade; a soundtrack that is evocative, moody, and fresh, all at the same time. Finally, I’d like to do a big shout-out to Pati Tozer, my editor and chief of QA who helped keep all of my mistakes in the dev room and out of the public eye, a service for which I am ever grateful.

One of the best things about contests like this is how easy it makes it to discover new games that you may not have heard of. I’ve definitely added more games to my ever-growing game queue as a result of this. And I hope that if you haven’t yet tried Mandatory Upgrade: X Marks the Spot then you may be inspired to do so now. You can play it via the One More Story Games Website.

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Toronto Calling

As you may have noticed, things have been a little quiet around Ironic Iconic Studios of late. It turns out that there’s been a good reason for that, which I’m happy to share with you today: We’ve moved to Toronto!

When I founded Ironic Iconic Studios way back in 2003, we were one of the first game studios to exist in Victoria, British Columbia. Happily, over the years, the Victoria game dev community has grown steadily as more studios have opened their doors and more indie developers have thrown their lot in with this crazy, wonderful industry. I like to think that some of that growth was due in part to the efforts of myself and the other organizers of IGDA Victoria, the local chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) that grew out of the indie game dev group known as LevelUp Victoria. Regardless, I’m excited by the emergence of Victoria and the surrounding area as a game development centre.

The Victoria industry has grown by leaps and bounds and will continue to do so, I’m positive. But I feel like Ironic Iconic Studios has outgrown Victoria and is ready for bigger things, hence the move to Toronto. Toronto has a large and vibrant game dev scene and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I’ll definitely miss my friends and colleagues out west, but I’m excited to see what is in store for us in Ontario’s capital. I hope you’ll join me in finding out.