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Solar Game Boy Workshops & Game Jam

A gameboy accompanied by the line of text "Solar Game Jam!"

As part of the Milieux Solar Media Project and in collaboration with TAG, Michael Iantorno and Alex Custodio are organizing a series of workshops this summer, culminating in a day-long Solar Game Boy Game Jam.

All participants are welcome, no matter your level of experience with circuits, hardware hacking, or game design! To offer the tools to experiment with prototyping, we’ll be hosting three workshops throughout the summer in advance of the Game Jam.

While participation at the Game Jam is not contingent upon attending the workshops, we strongly encourage these short sessions for folks who have not previously experimented with GB Studio and/or Game Boy game development.


Workshop 1: GB Studio and Makey Makeys
When: Monday, July 11 | 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Where: MilieuxMake Lab (EV 10.825)

This workshop will teach you how to build Game Boy games using GB Studio, a free drag-and-drop game creation program.

While homebrew design for retro videogame consoles is not a new phenomenon, GB Studio makes the practice unprecedentedly accessible. This workshop focuses on how to use the accessible game engine and how to use MakeyMakey’s as inputs to test the game and experiment with alternative control schemes. 

Please bring your own laptop to follow along with the tutorials. We will provide visual assets for you to use; no pixel art experience is required.

After a short presentation, Alex and Michael will spend the remainder of the workshop supporting you as you experiment with the program.

Workshop 2: Game Boy Hardware Hacking
When: Monday, July 25 | 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Where: MilieuxMake Lab (EV 10.825)

Facilitated by Lee Wilkins, this workshop will focus developing competency with Game Boy hardware and solar sensors. The goal of this workshop is to familiarize you with the hardware aspects of videogaming so that you are able to prototype games designed for alternative interfaces.

Workshop 3: Let’s Make a Solar-Powered Game Boy
When: Monday, August 15 | 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Where: MilieuxMake Lab (EV 10.825)


In this workshop, we’ll dig into Game Boy modding in earnest to introduce solar power to Nintendo’s 1989 handheld. This will be a casual, experimental, cooperative activity for people who are interested in learning how they can reduce the battery dependency of old hardware.

We might break things, but that’s okay because it’s for science! As researchers, we believe that it’s important to be able to take apart the black box and experiment with our technologies, no matter how many times corporations tell us otherwise!

We will be working together on a Game Boy that we have sourced. You do not need to bring anything but yourselves. You are welcome to use the information in this workshop to mod your own system at home!
 
Solar Game (Boy) Jam
When: Friday, August 26 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Where: TAG (EV 11.435 @ Concordia University)


The goal of this free, low-stress, experimental game jam is not to develop a polished game but rather to design small game prototypes with GB Studio, experiment with game development, and explore solar inputs.

At 5:00 PM, we’ll take our prototypes to the Milieux terrace to test and celebrate our games out in the sunshine!

The results of the three workshops and the experimental Game Jam will provide the basis for the Solar Media Project’s ongoing research into solar gaming. The most important thing to bring to these sessions is curiosity and creativity. We want to see how far we can push these games and sensors with the goal of planning a more formal intervention and Game Jam in the 2022-2023 academic year!

Registration and other details

All events are open to TAG, Milieux, and Solar Media Collective members.

Email michael.iantorno[at]gmail.com if you would like to sign-up to attend the Game Jam (registration required for team-making purposes). No registration is necessary for the workshops.

To protect the vulnerable members of our community, masking is mandatory for all four of the events, including the playtest on the terrace.

Please keep an eye on this page for more information!