I’m still not fully recovered from all of the rad stuff that went on last week at GDC in San Francisco (see some of my coverage here, here and here), but nevertheless, I’m headed to Boston this weekend for PAX East.
The chip showcase we had there last year was pretty legit, but this year it’s going into overdrive: Local allies Boston8bit have teamed up with MAGFest to organize a 3-part chip showcase featuring 15 performers and 3 visual artists to the PAX East Jamspace on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I’ll be giving a presentation on the history of chip music Saturday morning at 10 AM in the Jamspace, then performing alongside AdamGetsAwesome, Danimal Cannon, Bright Primate and Smiletron from 11 - 2 PM.
I’ll be bringing some merch with me too: Micro-CD’s (the same ones I premiered at PAX Prime - only a couple left) and brand-new 1” Zen Albatross buttons, brought to you thanks to the hard work of Jenn DLV:
Other must-see acts like NY chiptune forebears Bit Shifter and Glomag will also be performing throughout the weekend. And if you're still around on Sunday, definitely don't miss casio/gameboy duo The Shortsleeves, who are on tour this month.
Here's the full lineup:
=== FRIDAY ===
Oh wow, I haven't posted here in quite a while. Do I even know anyone on this site anymore? Anywho, I thought you (whoever you are) might like to check out some on-site reporting I've done for Vice on a DIY indie games arcade that's making waves here in New York City. Enjoy!
In New York City, there’s a new arcade in town. But don’t expect to find anything you could purchase at your local Gamestop here. Instead, the homemade titles that fill the ramshackle cabinets of this musty basement just off the L train’s Halsey stop are part of an underground movement that’s re-invigorating interest in grassroots game development by taking to heart a credo strikingly similar to that of the early punk rock scene.
The place is Silent Barn, an active DIY music venue in Ridgewood, Queens that has quickly become an unlikely hub of videogame counterculture through Babycastles, a curated gallery of independently developed games from developers around the world. Normally a faceless exchange operating through all manner of internet message boards, blogs and IRC channels, Babycastles co-founders Syed Salahuddin, Kunal Gupta and Arthur Ward aim to bring the indie games community back into meatspace. And they’re doing it the only way they know how to: By throwing raucous parties with live music and huge crowds of gaming enthusiasts button-mashing away on arcade cabinets lovingly crafted from planks of wood, painted styrofoam and whatever else was lying around that day.
Check out more photos from the most recent Babycastles event on MOTHERBOARD.
I'm going to be playing Pulsewave, New York's largest monthly chipmusic event next weekend with my pals Minusbaby of 8bitpeoples and Active Knowledge of Boston 8-Bit. If you're in the area, holla at yer boy/albatross.
And if you can't make it, you'd better be in Boston the following week for PAX East -- I'll be joined by Disasterpeace, Br1ghtPr1mate, A_Rival, Active Knowledge and more for two days of chip concerts and panels in the Jamspace room. Be there or be square(wave).
Flowers, chocolates and poetry are all well and good, but nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like a bouquet of award-winning indie games. Fortunately for all you shortchanged cassanovas out there, the Indie Love Bundle is here with an affordable package of quality independent titles guaranteed to amplify the affections of your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. Or to be enjoyed by yourself whilst stomping on rose petals and angrily expressing your disdain for the Hallmark card company.
The bundle gives you six amazing indie titles for PC, Mac and Linux: Robotic puzzle adventure Machinarium, serene biophysics engine Osmos, gravity-shifting platformer And Yet It Moves, side-scrolling action RPG Aztaka, abstract audiovisual reverie Auditorium and ambient space simulator Eufloria are all included. And of course, the best part is that you get all of this for only $20. It’s an absolute steal, but just like an alarmingly high percentage of marriages, it won’t last forever — You’ll only be able to snag the bundle up until the clock strikes midnight next week on February 19th, so get moving. Whether you’re lovestruck or loveless this year, don’t pass up this amazing opportunity to experience some of the most important independent games of the past few years.
If you were planning on spending another New Year’s Eve trolling NeoGAF while downing leftover egg nog, please first reconsider your life, then head down to Alexandria, Virginia to celebrate the earliest days of 2010 surrounded by rad videogames, loud music and swell folks.
Now in its 8th year, MAGFest (Music and Gaming Festival) is an annual gathering of videogame composers, chip musicians, artists, remixers, gamers and fans. The Fest kicks off on New Years Eve and goes non-stop until January 4th. So after running myself ragged last week at Blip Festival, the next logical step is obviously to jump on a Mega Bus and head to Virginia for four more days of alcoholism, hearing loss and sleep deprivation.
I won’t be alone, though — My pals from the Destructoid community will have a considerable presence at the Fest, traveling in packs from Maryland, New York, Boston and New Jersey. Somehow, amid all of this madness, I’ll be playing two live shows and running an LSDJ/chipmusic workshop. That’s of course in addition to all of the other fabulous concerts, panels and special events occurring throughout the weekend.
Put simply, MAGFest is the ideal setting for what promises to be a truly epic NARP.
And NARP we shall. Be sure to check the MAGFest website for more details, and definitely consider showing up for a night or two if you live in the nearby area. As a 2-year MAGveteran, I can assure you that good times will be had.
Everyone knows that the holidays are meant to be a time for selflessness, love and celebration. And no one embodies the spirit of the season quite like the international chipmusic community, who year after year gift the general public with a giant Santa-sack of free music. Therefore, in keeping with tradition, I present to you four holiday-themed albums from a variety of chipmusicians that are sure to liven your holiday festivities with 8-bit cheer.
1. Rush Coil - ‘8-bit Christmas’
The newest addition to the internet’s growing library of 8-bit holiday albums, 8-bit Christmas features holiday favorites like ‘Carol of the Bells,’ ‘What Child Is This’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ done over in the style of vintage console soundchips… with a couple of interesting twists, of course. The album is streaming for free on Rush Coil’s website, and for a mere $4, you can download the whole thing in crystal-clear, DRM-free MP3 format. What’s more, all the proceeds from the album’s sales are being donated to Child’s Play, the children’s charity organization started by Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade.
This collection of holiday chiptune jams was assembled over the course of 24 days by artists on 8bitcollective.com, a community-based chipmusic media sharing site. It features some pretty hilarious permutations of holiday classics that certainly warrant downing a couple glasses of egg nog prior to listening. Stealthily slip a few of these tracks into your relatives’ holiday playlists during that boring family gathering and see what happens.
Last year’s lo-bit holiday hit is still going strong. Assembled by arrangement artist Doctor Octoroc, 8-bit Jesus re-imagines 9 holiday favorites using the compositional styles of classic videogame composers. With insane mash-ups like ‘Carol of the Belmonts’ and ‘We Three Konami,’ this one’s sure to please holiday party-goers for years to come.
Old-school 8bitpeoples! This album represents one of the earlier compilations of the artists on the 8bitpeoples netlabel. Hally, Bit Shifter, Nullsleep, Goto80, Yerzmyey, Vim, Paul Slocum and Dma-Sc deliver eight heavily-stylized jams that float and sparkle like the winter snow.