Queer and Hopeful: Gamemaking as Resistance

Tuesday, April 23, 2023 | 2:30pm EST
Canada| 90 min.

Playing a game is a participatory act, one in which we might take control of a protagonist and see the world through them. This relationship of embodiment between player and protagonist is a powerful tool for empathy and empowerment; as artists we ask others into ourselves to experience as we do and as players we see the world in a new way. This is an incredibly powerful tool for healing, dreaming, and imaging a world where we see ourselves safe and loved.

The history of gamemaking is incredibly queer; despite all efforts of some to push the medium to only be viewed in the commercial, violent, and narrow space of “for white boys,” 2SLGBTQI+ and queer artists continue to revolutionize the medium. With tools becoming more and more accessible over the past decade queer game makers have continued a tradition of resistance in creating and sharing hope. Perhaps summed up best by Anna Anthropy’s 2012 book title “Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form,” games are a beautiful way to connect with others no matter where they are in the world through hostings such as itch.io.

This panel explores the moments of hope, healing, and imagining of artists making games. Featuring games made by the panelists, Queer and Hopeful will discuss the ways in which games can heal the artists who make them and those who play them.

Games for download:

B-Sides by Elijah Forbes

He Fucked The Girl Out Of Me by Taylor McCue

ValiDate: Struggling Singles In Your Area by Dani Lalonders
**TQFF is offering free access to ValiDate. To receive an access key, please email industry@torontoqueerfilmfest.com.

This event is an online webinar. To attend, please log into your TQFF account and return to this page when the event is live. No other registration is required.


Len Predko

is a practicing artist with a Bachelor of Design from OCAD University. He is the current Executive Director of Hand Eye Society and works as a Community Manager at Kitten Cup Studio. They have completed a residency in Waiting and Escaping from the School of MAAA in Berlin as well as an intensive in puppetry from the Banff Centre for the Arts.

The Hand Eye Society is a Toronto not-for-profit dedicated to supporting and showcasing video games made primarily as a form of creative expression. We aim to provide exhibition opportunities, education, creative support, mentorship, knowledge sharing and inspiration to artists, enthusiasts, and the game-curious in Toronto.

Founded in 2009, it is one of the first videogame arts organizations of its kind in the world.

Dani Lalonders

(they/she) is a full-time lead producer, narrative designer, and community manager for ValiDate: Struggling Singles in your Area and a narrative designer on a few other NDA projects.

Taylor McCue

grew up in poverty inside a cramped filthy house with many cats, two grandparents, two parents, and a cousin. Her grandparents had poor hearing, Fox News was always blaring.

She was always mentally ill and it was severe enough that in school she was labeled as intellectually disabled. She was bullied and also bullied other kids. She hurt and was hurt.

She made it to college during the George Bush era and transitioned too. She tried so hard because of years of being viewed as stupid. Many good and bad things happened to her. She finished college and then dropped out of society to become a NEET.

Elijah Forbes

is a Two Spirit white-passing Odawa person that uses he/him pronouns. He loves to create work that focuses on Indigenous people and Two Spirit characters, especially comics and games. Most recently, he has found joy in creating art relating to queer found families.

90 min Canada

2023, Symposium