Category Archives: Gaming

Free weekend gaming event in March

Draconis is back again this year.

The event is free and is open to people of all ages and levels of experience

Draconis is a role-playing game festival that will take place the weekend of March 2nd to the 4th, 2018, at the CEGEP du Vieux Montreal. Many games will be available to play under a variety of systems.

Welcome to Draconis Festival 2018! (français)


If you’re not already a member of the website Warhorn, register today, indicate your presence to Festival Draconis and add yourself to the game you wish to attend.

Just like last year, it will still be possible to put together pick-up games onsite.


It has started! You can add your game(s) with this google form.


We’ll be hosting another garage sale where you’ll be able to buy and sell second-hand gaming products. To sell items, download and fill out the sales form, then bring it with your games to the festival. At the end of the festival, come pick up your cash or unsold items. Or, you could simply donate unsold items to the festival itself.

An announcement will be made when the garage sale form is ready.


This year, we’ll offer tables for artists and small shops who would like to sell their products on-site. Tables will be free for game designers who run demonstrations of their games. For shops, the cost will be 25$ for two tables. If you are interested, please contact us before February 11th, 2019, a to make a reservation.


This year, there will be a caterer on-site selling homemade sandwiches as well as soft drinks, juice, water, chips, etc… so that you can stay fuelled without leaving the CEGEP.

Obviously, we hope to see very many of you again this year, and please tell your friends and family about Draconis! If you have any questions about the festival, please post them on our Facebook page, and we’ll try to answer as quickly as possible.


A gamers’ calendar for 2017

From this morning’s Montreal Gazette:

While we’re happy to erase 2016 from our memories — entertainers lost, elections won, wars waged and so on — it was actually a pretty great year for video games. Tons of amazing titles, some cool new hardware … it’s going to be a tough year to beat. But 2017 is shaping up to be a real contender. Here are some games Steve Tilley is looking forward to this year.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is set to be released in spring 2017.


RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 (PS4, Xbox One; autumn 2017) If this sequel to 2010s unforgettable action-adventure game actually hits its late 2017 release window, we’ll eat our 10-gallon hats. But it is our most highly anticipated game of the year, and we can’t wait to saddle up and ride back into the gritty Old West.

HORIZON ZERO DAWN (PS4; Feb. 28) This PlayStation 4 exclusive is shaping up to be not only one of the best-looking games of 2017, but one of the most original open-world games of recent years. A primitive, post-apocalyptic world overrun by robot animals? Sign us up.

RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD (PS4, Xbox One, PC; Jan. 24) We’re pleased to see that Capcom is taking the Resident Evil series back to its horror roots, though the change to a first-person perspective is a gamble that might alienate some fans. Then again, there’s no way it could be as bad as Resident Evil 6. Seriously. No way.

SOUTH PARK: THE FRACTURED BUT WHOLE (PS4, Xbox One, PC; spring 2017) We were surprised when 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth not only captured the essence of the show and its characters, but was a damn fine RPG. The Fractured But Whole (say it quickly out loud) will follow in those footsteps, riffing on superhero oversaturation.

MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA  (PS4, Xbox One, PC; TBA 2017) Edmonton’s own BioWare is kicking off a new chapter in the Mass Effect sci-fi role-playing game saga, and we can’t wait to see what it will look like on the current generation of video game hardware. Or see how many aliens we’ll be able to romance.

PREY  (PS4, Xbox One, PC; spring 2017) This complete reimagining of the acclaimed 2006 first-person shooter has stunned us with its impressive trailer, and it’s looking a lot like a spiritual successor to the amazing System Shock games. Except in Prey you can turn into a … coffee cup?

GOD OF WAR (PS4; TBA) If there were a franchise in need of reinvention, it was God of War. Sony is really shaking things up with this sequel/reboot, from a grizzled old Kratos to a whole new camera and control scheme. We’re not certain this one will land in 2017, but we’re really hoping it does.

FOR HONOR (PS4, Xbox One, PC; Feb. 14) What better way to wish the one you love a happy Valentine’s Day by heading into battle together and lopping off your enemies’ limbs? This is sort of a tactical multiplayer sword-fighting game with a whole lot of other cool stuff layered on. To victory!

CRACKDOWN 3  (Xbox One, PC; TBA 2017) We’ve heard very little of late from the makers of the third entry in the Crackdown saga, but we expect it to get a major reveal at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, if not before. We can’t wait to start blowing things up in its massive, multiplayer open world.

TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON: WILDLANDS  (PS4, Xbox One, PC; March 7) The Ghosts hit the road in yet another open-world game making its debut this year. From our previous hands-on time with Wildlands, we know it’s going to be crazy fun raiding a drug overlord’s sprawling compound with three of our closest co-op friends.

DAYS GONE  (PS4; TBA) Another PlayStation exclusive that doesn’t have a firm release date ( but that we’re hoping sneaks into the 2017 calendar), this one is like a mix of The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy. Because who’s better equipped to survive a zombie apocalypse than bikers?

CUPHEAD  (Xbox One, PC; TBA 2017) Our hope was starting to fade that this incredibly animated run-’n’-gun platformer would ever get a release date, but it is allegedly coming out this year. Looking like a 1930s cartoon come to life, it’s one of the most visually impressive indie games we’ve seen.

INJUSTICE 2  (PS4, Xbox One; TBA 2017) Batman duking it out with Superman on the big screen was a bit underwhelming, but this sequel to the awesome fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us will let us pit a slew of DC heroes and villains against each other. It’s by the makers of Mortal Kombat, so ’nuff said.

YOOKA-LAYLEE  (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac; April 11) With a similar vibe to Banjo-Kazooie — it’s sort of a cousin to that game, and made by some of the same folks — this one looks to be bringing back the fun and flavour of the platformer-type games of the late ’90s.

SEA OF THIEVES  (Xbox One, PC; TBA 2017) Not that we advocate drinking and gaming, but this hilarious cooperative pirate game is even better with a yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. We can’t wait to assemble a crew of friends and set sail in search of booty. And also treasure. Treasure is good.

DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN  (PS4; TBA) This latest cinematic adventure from the minds behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls is another PS4 title that Sony hasn’t announced a release date for just yet, but we’re hopeful it will come out this year so we can put our android instincts to the test.

A puzzling and addictive trend

From the Montreal Gazette, Saturday, Oct 22nd

Escape rooms are popping up all over city, offering a 3D gaming experience

It’s something you don’t get to do in everyday life that’s more exciting than video games or movies . … It’s more tactile.

From page A1 The fate of the world is on the line and the clock is ticking down. A zombie plague is wiping major cities off the map and you’re pinned down in the one lab that contains the cure.

PHOTOS: DARIO AYALA From left, friends Charles Blanc, Alexis Dupire and Clemence Bergier look for clues in a 1930s mafia-themed escape room at Question Games.


Running out of time means certain doom for all mankind. But if you can find the hidden cure and make your way out of the lab in time, you will get bragging rights over everyone who couldn’t hack it — playing one of Montreal’s latest escape rooms, an entertainment trend taking the city by storm.

The general idea behind the experience is simple, even if escaping can be complex. Groups of two or more friends or colleagues in a team-building capacity get locked in a room and solve puzzles to find their way out, with a time limit of about an hour.

Locales offer different scenarios to keep up with demand, with an average price tag of about $25 per person to play. At Question Games for example, players choose between several “missions,” including the quest for the cure described above.

“It’s pretty immersive,” says Gabriel Lawson, 22, prior to attempting a Question Games mission. Originally from British Columbia, Lawson has visited rooms all over the continent.

“It’s something you don’t get to do in everyday life that’s more exciting than video games or movies . … It’s more tactile. You get to do stuff with your body instead of just staring at a screen.”

Not restricted to North America, escape rooms originated in Japan back in 2007. They made their way to Montreal two years ago, with Échappe-Toi opening in October 2014. The operation wasn’t alone for long, with Find the Key, A/ Maze, and Obsidem having started construction at around the same time.

“We probably now have 14 different companies in Montreal and the suburbs,” says Emmanuel de Gouvello, Échappe-Toi’s co-founder. “We’re still growing.”

De Gouvello is not just referencing the industry, but his company, too. Another Échappe-Toi has since opened in France, with a third to follow in Boston under a different name: Dasuru, which translates from Japanese to “escape.”

The new name in Boston was to be expected for language reasons, but that’s not all that is changing, according to de Gouvello. Some of the most successful escape rooms deliver different experiences depending on the market.

Échappe-Toi is even starting a franchising program next year. Such is the nature of the rapidly expanding industry, featuring few barriers to entry, with first-generation rooms requiring minimal startup capital. However, a lot of word of mouth is needed, not to mention motivation, especially at the start.

“The small weeks were 60 hours and the big weeks were probably 80-85,” says de Gouvello, who had been working as a business coach when Échappe-Toi opened. He eventually had to choose between the two.

That those 80-hour weeks haven’t stopped altogether is a testament to the success of ÉchappeToi and de Gouvello’s passion for his business, which he says fits him perfectly. It’s a recurring theme among founders, many of whom were inspired to start one of their own by playing elsewhere.

“It’s sort of a dream to work in this environment. You get to watch people come and work together and have fun doing something you created,” says Question Games cofounder Matthew Diamond.

As the number of locations increases, each escape-room company naturally tries to raise the bar. However, they don’t necessarily see each other as threats to one another. True fans of the genre are going to try as many different escape rooms as they can. As long as the overall quality stays high, owners stay happy.

“Right now, you can open a small room with keys and locks, call it an escape game, and you’re going to have customers,” says Alexander Reverse, the CEO of A/Maze. “However, people who are playing for the first time won’t want to do it anymore, and they won’t know to go where the quality is much better.”

To help separate them from the pack, Obsidem has added adventure games to their offerings. There, actors may help to further immerse players in a larger-scale environment, where, for instance, the goal isn’t to escape, but extract a separate group of prisoners. In fact, it’s got to the point where “escape room” is almost a misnomer.

De Gouvello compares the games to movies. He has used actors since almost the start, for the most part sticking to the tried and true formula of pitting players locked in a room against the clock. To keep things fresh, puzzles are updated once a year. The actors help, too.

Whereas in a movie actors have lines, Échappe-Toi gives theirs more leeway to move stories along. Groups playing the game each enjoy different dynamics. As a result, their experience interacting with the environment, actors and all, can be just as unique.

“The actor is supposed to be able to improvise something to get to an outcome, which will translate into the players being able to progress,” says de Gouvello.

Échappe-Toi’s games still have only about a three per cent success rate, so progress doesn’t always mean escaping altogether. That’s not the point, though. It’s not just about getting out. It’s about playing out a real-life 3D computer game.

“It’s the next dimension, where you can touch things and take away experiences,” Reverse says.

It’s at the very least an escape away from reality, even if only for an hour. As far as ways to pass the time go, it beats an actual zombie apocalypse, hands down. And it’s only getting better and more realistic.

“As technology becomes more readily available … there’s not much you can’t do,” Diamond says. “And we keep wanting to add and enhance that experience for people when they play.”

So the next time you and your friends are locked in a room, you just might be the last line of defence against a zombie apocalypse, finding a cure to fight a deadly virus, or attempting a daring prison escape … the possibilities are endless.

Magic: The Gathering artists pass away

Magic: The Gathering was very popular with many MonSFFen, and I’m sure many will have albums with cards featuring art work by these talented artists.

Christopher Rush  illustrated over 100 cards for the series, including the most expensive card in the game, the Black Lotus (currently offered on eBay for $3,900.)   Tribute to Christopher Rush on the Wizards of the Coast website features his stunning art.

Wayne England, worked on a variety of iconic franchises over the decades from Magic the Gathering, to Dungeons & Dragons, to all things Games Workshop. Tribute on the Wizards of the Coast  website features several beautiful cards.

I don’t game, but I do appreciate beautiful art, and these were great artists. Creating something that is still beautiful when printed on a playing card is a skill in itself.