*Press Start to begin*
After a long and painful day at work, you remember an event going on at Blank Canvas, an exhibit called 8-Bit – which happens to include video-game inspired artwork, some dope beats being spun by in-house DJ, Abscvnd – and of course, video games to kill a few hours to.
Despite the relentless day, you believe you can muster up the energy to check it out and see what it’s about.
> Go to gallery_
You proceed to walk around the room, taking in the artwork by artists Kleeshay, Giles Monette, Victoria Charko, and Introvert.
> Grab a drink_
After circling the room checking out the artwork, you head to the back corner, and see a different bartender than before. You order some wine, while talking about how both of you seem to see the world as one big video game. He tells you that he feels like an NPC in all of this – to which you both laugh.
He then recommends that you check out the backyard, since there’s more to the exhibit than what’s in the room, and gives you a beer to continue on your adventure.
> Go to backyard_
Passing through the washroom, you head to the back, and the first thing you see is a large projection on the far wall, for a video game prototype – Nebular Crush. One of the developers, Tom, is explaining to newcomers how to play the game, as you discover that it’s multiplayer!
Once the gamepad is freed up, you decide to team up with Tom and take on the game. Thanks to your incredible hand-eye coordination (and the fact that Tom built and created the game mechanics), the two of you CRUSH the levels and make it to the end of the demo.
At some point during the game, you manage to catch a shooting star in the night sky with your peripheral vision – but since you’re currently in the fucking zone, you make a small mental note of how pretty it was.
> Go inside_
After a mind-blowing experience, you thank Tom and head back inside. As you’re grabbing a gin and tonic (THAT rough at work, huh?), the room is now filling up, as more people crowd around the tiny 13” TV, taking in the intense 1-on-1 match of Super Smash Bros Melee. Once it ends, you step up to the controller and take on a few challengers, mainly using Kirby – you barely win a few matches, and during others, you get fuckin’ REKT.
FINALLY, after so long, you face people who are on your level, if not well above it.
It’s time to break the seal you’ve been neglecting for so long. You head into the bathroom, and as you’re peeing, you hear a gentleman gallivanting through. As he’s passing by, he casually yells to his cohort, “dude, I got a fucking blister on my thumb from playing Smash Bros!”
Only then do you realize your thumbs are pretty sore for the same reason, but you’ll be damned if it wasn’t oh so worth it.
> Go back to exhibit_
You wash your hands, and head back to the main room. You come across a dude with a camera, and you introduce yourself. His name is Jay, and you get into a conversation about Smash Bros.
He goes on about how his Top 5 characters to use in general are: Ness, Zelda, Greninja, Fox, and Toon Link. He said he’s down to help take pictures of the event, and that puts one issue at the back of your mind at ease.
The opening reception is reaching its hype now, to the point that even the DJ leaves the booth and starts dancing in the middle of the room with everybody else.
> Say goodbye_
You suddenly realize how much time has flown (vidya games’ll do that to ya), and so you start heading out. But something feels off.
> Say goodbye with hugs_
Before you slink out, you make it a mission to hug and give well-wishes to everybody around you, since they helped bring the night to life for you. By doing so, your social skills increase drastically.
You then head to Dundas West station, plop yourself on the streetcar, and smile as it pulls out of the station, en route home.
Photos c/o Jennifer Mangroo & Tricia Strachan