We in the Games & Tech section are advocates for games–whether that’s encouraging writers and readers to see games as art, explore across game genres or become part of a new scene. As we’ve built the section, we’ve found that Chicago is a great place to do this. With organizations like BitBash and IPlayGames and businesses like the Video Game Art Gallery and Bonus Round Cafe, Chicago’s full of great events that are also super inclusive and welcoming regardless of age, sex, race, or knowledge and experience in games, whether that’s tabletop, console or PC gaming. One of the best examples of this amazing Chicago games culture comes with the annual Playtest Party at the Logan Theatre, whose 2018 event is upcoming this Friday, November 30.
Hosted by another Chicago group we love, the Nerdologues, the Logan Theatre’s annual Playtest party brings together gamers, creators and fans to see the latest things happening in and around the Chicago scene. The event features tabletop and video game developers bringing their latest projects, most still very much a work in progress, to an audience of gaming enthusiasts to test out.
For players, this is a great chance to get a sneak peek at the games in their earliest development stages, long before they hit shelves. But it also provides the developers with vital feedback and information, as well as giving them the chance to learn from each other. On top of that, developers/creators can sign their games up for a juried competition, which if won, affords them the great opportunity to have a booth at C2E2 to show off their games–with one tabletop and one video game developer receiving the honor.
One thing we truly love about the Playtest Party is the air of enthusiasm that permeates the event. While the Logan Theatre’s foyer area is small and at least last year, packed to the brim with people, everyone seems genuinely excited to be there. Developers who’ve worked so hard on their ideas are excited to get reactions and interact with players, players are excited to get an exclusive first look at the games in progress, and everyone seems to be there simply because they love to play. While, as mentioned above, we’ve seen this inclusive, friendly, enthusiastic vibe at quite a few of the local events we’ve been to, almost nowhere did it seem quite as welcoming as in our experiences at the Logan.
The Logan Playtest Party is an event we encourage anyone who’s even a little curious about gaming to check out. It’s a great chance to meet people who are passionate about games, and a chance to get a little behind the scenes to see “how it’s made.” Better still, the Playtest Party is completely free to attend, and at least last year, even featured a bunch of great swag from area businesses we’ve come to know as nerd-friendly, from Cards Against Humanity and Revolution Brewing to C2E2 themselves. If you’d like to join in the fun, simply make your way to the Logan Theatre tomorrow at 7pm. For more information on the theater itself or the event, including the competition judges and games appearing, click here.