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Chicago indie game fest Bit Bash 2015 will be bigger and better than ever

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Chicago's indie game development community is hosting its second annual festival, called Bit Bash, on August 22. After a successful launch in 2014, this year's event boasts over 50 games and occupies three times as much space thanks to its host, T-shirt maker Threadless.

The family-friendly event helps to provide awareness to games made in and around the city, as well as bring in titles from around the world that might otherwise not get the attention they deserve. Tickets are on sale now.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Chicago Loot Drop, a non-profit organization that supports University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital.

Games being shown include the following:


"A chill adventure taking place on a cloud in the sky."

Particle Mace

"A 1-4 player game ... about defending yourself in a hostile universe by swinging particles into enemies ... capturing the thrill of classic arcade games with a new, physics based mechanic."


Videoball is a one-player competitive foosball team management simulator played on 8 sticks all at once. We swear.

Henka Twist Caper

This new multiplayer game finds a good use for the PlayStation Move controller until Morpheus launches. It's coming to PS4 later this year.


"A minimalist action-strategy game ... played on a grid of black and white tiles where each player is restricted to either side. Players flip tiles towards their color to gain control and close in on the enemy. With every action changing the play space, each round evolves into a unique battle field."

Shape of the World

Coming to PC and Xbox One game from Hollow Tree Games, this gorgeous, procedurally-generated exploration reminds us of what made Proteus so fascinating.


A two-player fighting game made for Ludum Dare 29, where the theme was "beneath the surface."


This physics-based brawler began life as an exploration of rock, paper, scissors. "We decided to see if physics weapons would work," they wrote on their press page. "It did." The result is "emergent physics based combat that offers nuance and mastery while being accessible and easy to pick up."

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

A cooperative, multiplayer game of hidden information and careful communication. "You and the bomb are alone together," Polygon's Ben Kuchera wrote. "The good news is that you're the only one who will die if you fail to defuse the device."


"A local multiplayer dodgeball game heavily inspired by the '70s, back when tacky was cool and there were no such thing as bad style." The team behind it says that they "wanted to pay homage to the great athletes of the time."


Made by only one person, Aerobat is a tightly built and beautifully designed shooter on Steam Greenlight right now. Polygon has had hands-on with the game recently, and will have a preview video up soon.


A surreal adventure where you play an astronaut, on Mars, who drives around a lot. "Wander around, drive through the desert, hear what the cosmos has to tell you."


This two-player dueling game was one of the most fun experiences to come out of this year's Train Jam and is also available as a free download. It's better with spectators, however, and Bit Bash should provide plenty of them.


A wacky PlayStation-style physics game about a bus that won't stop.


"Thumper combines classic rhythm-action with breakneck speed and brutal physicality," says the game's website. "You control a space beetle while screaming towards confrontation with an insane giant head from the future." You can see our Overview video above for more on this "rhythm violence game."


A family-friendly exploration game. Players will explore 23 unique, pixelated locations over the course of their adventure. The latest public release, from September of last year, is available for download now.


A monochromatic "local multiplayer stealth-deathmatch game," Chambara allows players to "seamlessly camouflage themselves with the environment," and leads to "dramatic, stylish duels."


A two-dimensional platformer that takes elements of Spelunky and Cave Story and mashes them together to create a vertical bullet-hell shooter. Our Overview video above gives a good intro to the game, and you can read our interview with the developer here.


A collaboration between Necrosoft and Iron Galaxy, Gunsport explains itself as "a bit like volleyball or sepak takraw, except instead of using hands or feet, you use guns to propel a ball into your opponents’ territory."


A first-person game about the thrill of speed and traveling flawlessly through complex environments.


This award-winning game children's game was featured in this year's Independent Games festival. Learn more about it in Polygon's round-up of 2015 IGF finalists at the two-minute, 55-second mark above.

Super Space _____

Pronounced "super space blank," it describes itself as "a couch co-op arcade shooter about competition, cooperation, communication and the democracy of physics."

Full disclosure: The author has volunteered for Chicago Loot Drop in the past.

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