Art & Museums

Bit Bash at MSI is Everything We Hoped For (And More!)

Bit Bash @ MSI 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Bit Bash is back. After eschewing their main event for a series of pop-ups last year, Bit Bash has brought back their titular summer festival with an impressive showing of video and tabletop games at the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago. In fact, everything we saw and experienced at Bit Bash at MSI on Day One got us so excited, we wanted to remind everyone that today, Sunday August 18th, Bit Bash will be around for another full day of video games, tabletop fun, unique tactile adventures and front lawn field games until the museum closes at 4:00 PM.

Bit Bash @ MSI 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Bit Bash is absolutely huge this year, with almost 100 games taking up three floors of MSI’s seldom seen west wing. There were more “conventional” games, plus alternative experience oriented games, and those using alternative controllers, or other setups aside from the usual controller or mouse and keyboard setup. Games aren’t just interspersed along with MSI’s exhibits (like their great pop-up at the Art Institute) but instead  occupy the ENTIRE west wing of MSI. The sheer amount of games on display is almost overwhelming–meaning you won’t be lacking for things to see and experience. Another bonus? With so many games available for play, you won’t often wait long to play something that catches your eye.

Games also fill the inner spaces of the museum’s west wing, with a few special spaces for performances and games with special setups that includes a main stage, the main auditorium and the “small theater” along with a tabletop room. There were some great organizations on site, too, who we encourage you to get to know. These include our friends at the VGA Gallery, IGDA Chicago and the Voxel Collective as well as a fantastic charity, Chicago Loot Drop, who often appear at cons, popups and other events around the city to supply children’s hospitals with video games and toys. 

Bit Bash @ MSI 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Day One wasn’t over when the museum closed though. Last night, when MSI shut its doors for daily admissions, the party really got started, with food and drink, a bar, live music, and of course all of the games available to play all night long. If you missed out on last night’s festivities, don’t fret, as they will be in their space until the museum closes, today, Sunday August 18th. 

If you’re planning to take our advice and head to Bit Bash at MSI tomorrow, here’s a few things we recommend keeping an eye out for:

Bit Bash @ MSI 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Quantum Garden –  As a kid, did you ever sit and play with one of those sproingy door stoppers? Quantum Garden is door stopper fun on steroids, with added LED light effects. Simply put, it’s sublime. We loved the amazing, bright colors and different patterns that could be had with a little time and exploration. If that weren’t enticing enough, the tactile sensations are fantastic. Slap on the provided 3D glasses, put on some music and you’re set for the next few hours if you’re anything like us. 

 

Bit Bash @ MSI 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Jackbox Games, both a Chicago institution and sponsor for Bit Bash, set up camp in the main auditorium, where you can potentially play all your Party Pack favorites with a large audience– something that makes it incredibly fun. But the main auditorium is also where you’ll find Slamburgers–a visceral burger wrestling game that is as fun and absurd as it sounds.

If you’re looking for something more cerebral, seek out Even In Arcadia, a contemplative, dystopian game that’s actually developer Phoebe Shalloway’s media studies thesis. 

 

Bit Bash @ MSI 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Then there’s Roger Meatball,which we’d honestly recommend on the name alone, but is also an incredibly fun asymmetrical co-op game in which you must land a plane while your friend performs the proper semaphore to guide you in using a set of ping pong paddles. We heard a lot of laughs from this game’s station, as someone screamed “I don’t know how to fly this thing!” to their group of very amused friends.

Bit Bash @ MSI 2019. Photo: Marielle Bokor

These are just a few of the great games we could (and will) mention, and we’ve yet to discuss tabletop gaming or the field games that have found their best home yet in the plush grass of MSI’s front lawn. We’ll have even more from Bit Bash at MSI for you on Monday, but for now, what we can tell you is that this year’s Bit Bash is better than ever and shouldn’t be missed. Tickets, which cost $25, are still available for today’s event, include basic museum admission, and can be purchased at the doors (for a slightly higher price), and that means there’s no reason to miss out. We’ll see you there!

For more information about Bit Bash at MSI and to purchase tickets, click here.

 

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