Indie video games invade Chicago’s weirdest museum for Bit Bash 2019

Indie video games invade Chicago’s weirdest museum for Bit Bash 2019

After a short hiatus, Chicago’s tightly-knit volunteer group was again final month with Bit Bashan annual celebration of the worldwide indie recreation scene. This yr the occasion was produced with the assistance of a brand new sponsor, the Museum of Science and Industry.

Also often called MSI, the huge exhibit corridor is among the weirdest locations within the metropolis. Inside you’ll discover a reproduction coal mine, a two-story-tall adjustable twister, a working hen incubator, and an honest-to-gods German U-boat. So why not add a recreation referred to as Hellcouch for the weekend?

In whole, Bit Bash provided greater than 80 interactive experiences, together with board video games and an artwork exhibit by the VGA Gallery. The crowd was a wonderful mixture of ages and demographics, with a smattering of high-profile expertise from Chicago’s finest indie builders. I even ran into my previous pal Robin Baumgartenwhose award-winning Line Wobbler and Wobble Garden have been each on show.

The spotlight for me was strolling into an incredible house and letting my women — aged 9 and 6 — run wild. Family favorites included Capy Hoky (the place lovable capybaras play a recreation of ice hockey) and Kick Bota recreation a couple of wall-jumping robotic performed on a customized, two-button controller.

Most stunning have been the video games that attracted my women probably the most. My youngest fell in love with GAZEa recreation the place you hover over a 3D construction with an iPad making an attempt to create particular shapes within the digital camera from seemingly random strains. Meanwhile, my oldest grew to become entranced with Genesis Noiran avant-garde artwork recreation about jazz and the creation of the universe.

Being there in that house, experiencing dozens of completely new video games shoulder-to-shoulder with different individuals, felt superb. Anyone jaded by the infinite discourse on social media and inside remark threads owes it to themselves to come back to Chicago subsequent yr to be reinvigorated, and reminded how joyful video games could be.

The occasion was sponsored by Jackbox Games, VGA Gallera, Aria Technology Solutions, the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, and the Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts. Here’s a have a look at the way it all went down.



For most visitors of Bit Bash 2019, the journey started with a visit up from ticketing to MSI’s large marble atrium. In addition to a big demo house off the principle halls, particular person video games rotated by means of the atrium all weekend lengthy.


Three visitors to Bit Bash 2019 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago stand in a dark room around a plywood table covered with springs that look like doorstops. Rainbow LEDs glow inside the installation, reacting to their movements.

Among the video games on show within the atrium was Wobble Gardena challenge by Robing Baumgarten. The board itself is made up of dozens of springs. Each one is contact delicate, and by altering to underlying programming Baumgarten is ready to obtain totally different results, together with a moderately compelling simulation of flower pollination.


A periodic table-like graphic shows dozens of “Pocket Monsters” against a large black paper background. To the left and right are backgrounds made by colored streamers, with performers holding dolls through the streamers from the other side. Bit Bash 2019

Live Action Pocket Monster Snap is a performative take Pokémon Goran a number of occasions all through the weekend. It requested visitors to make use of their cellphones to seize photos of Beanie Babies.


A person holding a tablet lines up a shot in GAZE. The game board is peach and light blue, with thing foam structures all over. Each one is inscribed with an obtuse black shape. Bit Bash at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. 2019

In GAZE gamers use a purpose-built app to hunt for shapes in a three-dimensional maze. Only by lining up the black strains appropriately — by transferring up, down, and across the construction — can they then transfer on to the following form.


A woman an two young children laugh at a table inside Bit Bash at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. 2019.

Visitors get pleasure from a spherical of SLAMBURGERS!a wild recreation about sentient combating hamburgers by Aidan Walsh. In the background, a full auditorium house was devoted to Scattershota aggressive SHMUP that accommodates tons of of gamers without delay.


Three high-school aged kids listen to a talking sofa while LED lights illuminate them from behind. Bit Bash at the Museum of Science and Industry, 2019.

A group of gamers puzzle over Hellcouchan interactive recreation that includes a possessed couch that you simply play along with your butt.


A young man at Bit Bash stands inside a dark gallery at the Museum of Science and Industry holding two ping pong paddles in his hand. He’s mimicking an on-screen representation of a deck officer, showing the pilot that his wings are not properly aligned t

In Roger Meatball gamers take turns recreating a few of the first service landings in a interval biplane. The recreation features a strong flight simulation in addition to LED instrumentation. The spotlight is that one other participant watches the pilot making an attempt to land from the deck of the service on a second display, and makes use of semaphore to assist them land.


A player waggles a giant spring in Line Wobler at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Bit Bash 2019.

Line Wobblera single-pixel motion role-playing recreation, was artfully displayed alongside the railing of a protracted winding staircase.


A brightly colored box shows cartoon characters on stage. A display shows similar characters cheering in the audience. Bit Bash 2019 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

One of the extra raucous demos was really within the tabletop space, transformed from an previous cafeteria under the principle gallery. Earworm is a recreation of musical charades. The catch is you may’t sing, and must hum the tune as a substitute. The recreation was designed and produced by a Chicago-based group.


Two players smash at rubber fish, wired up to a red box and attached to a Mac laptop via USB. From Bit Bash at the Museum of Science and Industry. 2019.

Sashimi Slammers is a recreation about two fish duking it out on the sushi counter. The recreation is performed with a pair of customized, fish-shaped controllers. It was simply as a lot enjoyable to play because it was to look at.

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