By Laura Reilly (EGPR ’18)
Montreal is a huge gaming hub. What I mean by this is that Montreal is full of not only great game companies like Ubisoft or Compulsion, but Montreal is also home to some of the greatest gaming opportunities for either developers or those that just love playing video games. To name a few would be an understatement, so I’m here to name all of the different aspects of gaming culture here in Montreal!
- In the classroom
If you’re majoring in a division of the Game Studio, chances are your professors are developers themselves at different companies. For example, artists here learn VFX from a developer at Behaviour, and two sections of Production ll learn from a producer and a gameplay programmer at Ubisoft! Since our professors are in the industry themselves, they have the firsthand experience of working in the industry to apply knowledge into the classroom. And if you’re lucky, they’ll invite recruiters to come and play your Production games! (Some are coming next week to see mine…help).
Outside of the classroom, there are plenty other opportunities to grow as a developer. Each week either companies will come to the Academic Center and host discussions, or we’ll take trips to studios around the city and see what the work environment of a developer looks like. We’ve gone/planning to visit Behaviour, Gameplay Space, Execution Labs, Square Enix, and more to come! For those that might have classes during these visits, there are even more opportunities to get involved in the game scene. Demo Night is an annual event where studios show off their work-in-progress games to the community. Developers that go have the chance to see pre-release games, whether they’re small indie projects or larger studio games, and can connect and network with other developers.
- Night life
For those of you that might be bored of playing video games in your room, there are tons of options to go out into the city and play with friends and strangers alike! Rue St. Denis is a street over from the Academic Center and hosts various bars, restaurants, and cafes to go and hang out at. If you’re into the gaming scene, though, I’d recommend these four places!
- Randolph’s is known for their expansive collection of board & card games. Go there with a group of friends and you’ll be seated at a large table and greeted by a team of experienced animators that will ask you how many people are playing and what kinds of games you’re interested in. They’ll come back with the perfect game for you and your friends to play, teach you the rules, and check back in with food and drinks as you play!
- Meltdown Montreal is directly next to Randolph’s, and is home to some of the best gaming tournaments around! Each day of the week is a different tournament that you can register for with your friends. You can join as a team to play Dota2, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. Your games are commentated and streamed on Twitch. If you’re not into tournaments, you can also show up with friends and play games like Mario Kart, Smash, or the new Guitar Hero. There’s alway something cool going on!
- Arcade Mtl is the first bar-arcade in Montreal. Located next to Meltdown Montreal, and is more targeted towards those who are interested in retro arcade style games. For a small entrance fee you have access to a dozen arcades and several retro video game consoles.
- Nexus SmartBar is a two minute walk away from the above listed bars, and is a cozy environment where game developers are encouraged to hang out and play games together. The menus are packaged just like a videogame, with an incredible Majora’s Mask art mural on the wall. Each table is hooked up with a Playstation, Xbox or Wii, and you can rent controllers to play games like Overcooked, Towerfall or Nidhogg! Nexus hosts gaming tournaments as well as live streams of famous Twitch players.