Heya friends! How’re ya doing? Keeping safe? Wearing a mask? You are?! That’s great! I’m sure the people around you appreciate it very much! Play anything interesting recently? Oh cool, we should definitely check that out!
Anyways, enough small talk, we here at Bit Bash wanted to give ya a little update in regards to our organization and our plans for the future. As I’m sure every single other organization/company/pizza delivery service you’ve ever used has done! And like all of them, our organization has been very affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately we honestly just don’t see a way we could provide the same atmosphere and energy we wish to bring to a Bit Bash event in 2020.
Our goals have always been to create a space where people from all ranges of interactive art literacy, whether you’ve grown up playing games or never touched a controller in your life, could come and experience the unique, creative, and experimental side of this medium. We’re a hands-on event, dedicated to making sure that our guests can play and be part of this amazing community we’ve tried to foster over the past 6 years. But it’s just not viable right now; there’s no way we could put on an event in 2020 without potentially compromising your health. And that sucks, but it’s not a risk we would ever be willing to take.
As for what we ARE doing, it’s been a long time coming for Bit Bash to sit down and assess our organization; to figure out how to better ourselves, come up with ways we can grow, and make the process easier on our volunteers who donate their time to put on these shows for you. We’re taking a look at how to properly catalog our events and make the games you’ve seen easily searchable and accessible, and we’re coming up with new creative outlets beyond in-person events that can still meet our requirements of engendering interactive art and supporting artists. Also, we’re doing less-interesting-to-write-about stuff to structure our processes better, figure out our long-term goals, find where we’re failing, and bring aboard new people who can help us grow.
We want to thank all of you. This community has been one of the most supportive, loving, empathetic, and creative parts of our lives, and it gives us the motivation to continue. Every time you come to our events with earnestness and excitement, it reminds us why we dedicate so much of our time to sharing work which is experimental, meaningful, or representative of underserved communities.
We’re not alone in those goals, and there are so many other local groups who have spent countless years providing resources and support to racial minorities and LGBTQIA+ folk who have had to work so much harder in the effort to attain a level of success and recognition in a medium regularly dominated by straight, cis, and white voices.
So if you’ve got a little money to spare, if you perhaps had already planned on purchasing a Bit Bash ticket, consider giving it to one of these organizations:
- Chicago Center for Arts & Technology
- Brave Space Alliance
- Breakthrough Youth Network
- Circles and Ciphers
Our friends at VGA Gallery are also helping organize the Chicago New Media Artists for Racial Justice bundle on itch.io, it’s a collection of some fantastic Chicago-made games, new media art, writing, and interactive work that go towards supporting BLM Chicago, Circles and Ciphers, ChiCat, and Brave Space Alliance. @BlackGameDev on Twitter also keeps a fantastic spreadsheet of games created by black developers you can directly support.
So, that’s our update for now. We truly love you all, and can’t wait until there’s a time where we can meet again and celebrate the creative, beautiful, important, and completely unconventional games we love.
If you’re part of a BIPOC-run arts organization and would like to collaborate with us in the future, we’d love to. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.