Michael Todd (video game developer)

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Michael Todd
Born (1987-07-27) July 27, 1987 (age 30)
Toronto, Canada
Other names thegamedesigner, M.T.Hammer
Occupation Video game developer

Michael Todd (born 1987) is a Canadian independent video game programmer and designer. He is an active member of the Toronto video game developer community, and an advocate for mental health awareness within the profession.

Early life and education[edit]

Todd was born in 1987 in Toronto, and was home schooled as his family followed his father, a Reverend with the Anglican church. He is the brother to four siblings, three of whom are adopted from various countries, including Ethiopia and China. Todd moved with his family to the Northwest Territories, through Europe, and then to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

At age 10, Todd's interest in computer games began to develop even though his father would not allow Todd to have a computer or video games. Todd was suggested by a friend, Zachary, to turn his drawings into video games. Todd's first attempt at creating a video game was a failure, but it sparked a curiosity in him that led him to want to learn more. He began to explore videogames in secret and built his first computer at the age of 13 after some persuasion as well as paid for his own internet. Game designing was trial and error for Todd during his early years.[1]

At age 12, Michael Todd travelled with the Bluenose Jugglers, a Nova Scotian busker troop. At age 13, he learned to unicycle.

He eventually moved back in Toronto following a soul-searching trip to Africa. As a video game developer, Todd is primarily self-taught,[2] and has been creating games with various levels of success since he was 13 years old, and has been developing games as his professional, full-time occupation since age 17. His first financially successful commercial title is Engine of War in 2009.[3]


Throughout his career, Todd has headed a number of small game development studios, varyingly composed of himself only,[4] or himself along with a small team of employees.[5] These include:

  • Akith Games (2000–2006)
  • SpyeArt (2006–2011)
  • Michael Todd Games (2011–present)

Todd is a prolific speaker and has lectured at worldwide events, including GDC, PAX,[6] GamerCamp, NoMoreSweden, IGDA Toronto, IGDA Phoenix and the Hand Eye Society.[7] Todd takes an active interest in speaking to those learning about game development. His topics include: game design, lifestyle and professional development in the video games industry, the benefits of going indie vs. AAA, formal and vocational education, skill set development, and employment standards. He has engaged his audiences in Q&A sessions, seminars, round-table discussions, and welcomes students' questions and participation in the industry. He has helped develop Toronto Skillswap's events, a collective that runs workshops related to various game development topics.[8]

Video Games by Michael Todd[edit]

Year Video Game Platform
2009 Engine of War Windows
Broken Brothers Windows
2010 Silent Skies Windows
2012 Little Gardens Windows/Mac
2013 Electronic Super Joy Windows/Mac/Linux
2014 Electronic Super Joy Groove City Windows/Mac/Linux

Mental Health Awareness[edit]

In 2011, Michael Todd gave a lecture during the Independent Game Summit of the Game Developers Conference titled "Turning Depression into Inspiration".[9] In the talk, Todd discussed his own decade-long battle with depression, and the coping mechanisms he had devised to funnel his emotions into his creative work.[10] In 2013, as Todd was putting the final touches on Electronic Super Joy, he gave an interview to Polygon about his process of developing games through depression.[11]


  1. ^ "Turning depression into Electronic Super Joy". Polygon. 2013-10-06. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  2. ^ Kan, Tanya (2013-05-06). "IGDA Toronto: Panel Class Warfare". IndieGameReviewer.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Engine of War Official Page". PLus10Damage.com. 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  4. ^ Kotzer, Zack (2010-11-13). "Interview with Michael Todd of Spyeart". DorkShelf.com. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  5. ^ Gutsche, David Russell (2013-05-06). "An Evil Wizard Stole Your Butt: Interview with Electronic Super Joy's Michael Todd". IndieGameReviewer.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  6. ^ Chen, Ada (2009-09-08). "PAX 2009: Designing Indie Games With a Team of One". Mochiland.com. Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  7. ^ "IGDA Phoenix February: Michael Todd, Platformers, Jam Games and More!". IGDA Phoenix. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  8. ^ "Sparkle Spotlight: The Toronto Skill Swap". Sparkle & Shine Agency. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Turning Depression Into Inspiration". GDC Vault. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Five Tactics for Designing Games While Depressed". 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  11. ^ "Turning Depression Into Electronic Super Joy". Polygon. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 

External links[edit]