Art & Museums

Preview: Bit Bash Expands with Two Day Festival at MSI

Photo Courtesy BitBash

Stick around the games scene in Chicago long enough and you’ll be sure to encounter Bit Bash. Founded in 2014, the volunteer-run group has made it their goal to share their passion for games and interactive art with Chicago, and they’ve been doing a great job. Every year, they manage to set up amazing events that showcase the diverse world of video games, with a special eye for some of the most innovative and interesting indie games being made today. 

Bit Bash @ Interactive Influence, Art Institute
Photo: Marielle Bokor

2018 saw Bit Bash hosting a number of interesting and carefully curated pop-ups around the city, to much success–from their Initiation event at Chop Shop which featured games with a clandestine theme as well as a few arcade multiplayer favorites, to their collaboration with the Art Institute and their fabulous Fabricade event at mHub, which showcased the world of alternative controls for games. 

Bit Bash 2017. Photo: Marielle Bokor

While all of that has been fun, what had been missing for fans of Bit Bash’s events was its annual, titular summer festival. And while it may not have made an appearance in 2018, with the Bit Bash team focusing on the aforementioned pop-ups, it’s back for 2019 and bigger than ever.

This year’s Bit Bash makes a big move over to the Museum of Science and Industry, and expands from one day to two. The event, which will be held on Saturday August 17th and Sunday, August 18th, the event has its eyes firmly set to the future, with a central theme of “pushing the boundaries of the games medium and demonstrating the expression and joy that only interactive art can cultivate.”

Bit Bash @ Art Institute. Photo: Marielle Bokor

What that means for attendees is over 50 carefully curated games from all over the world. In fact, much of what visitors to this year’s Bit Bash will see are games that are not commercially available, with some of the titles designed specifically for this event–meaning it’ll be a night in gaming you just can’t experience anywhere else.

Bit Bash @ Fabricade. Photo: Marielle Bokor

On top of that, you’ll find that the Bit Bash crew has devised brand new field games and exploded out their format to include several new rooms in the museum’s west wing, which will include space specifically for tabletop designers as well as for tournaments, screenings, and a collection of custom electronic hardware creations that the Bit Bash team promises will “spark joy.”

We’re excited to see Bit Bash expand its offerings and occupy such a huge space, and hope to see you there for all the fun. Bit Bash invades MSI beginning at 9:30 am on August 17th, with a special family preview, with festival doors open from 11 am to 4 pm each day, and a special evening party on Saturday that will begin at 5:30 and run through midnight. The museum will be open during Bit Bash, and your $25 ticket will grant you access to Bit Bash in the west wing as well as basic museum admission, with special exhibits not included. 

If you’d like to attend Bit Bash at MSI, tickets are available now, and you can find out more about the festival schedule by clicking here.

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