At this point, with the endless snowstorms, MBTA headaches, and general misery and woefulness the last few weeks have bestowed upon life in the Hub, it’s hard to feel good about anything anymore.
Luckily, that’s about to change.
Because on February 21, Aeronaut Brewing is once again partnering with the merry minds that brought Big Fun to Somerville back in December in order to bring you Bit Fest 2: Electronic Boogaloo. And like all proper sequels, this one is cranking things up a notch.
“The first one had a really good vibe and was an accessible and fun, nerdy in the right ways,” says organizer Rob Hall. “This one is gonna be a bigger and longer event, with excellent game dealers, game developers, apparel, and visual artists as vendors.”
Hall says the previous party, rife with 22 arcade vintage stand-up games, Aeronaut beer, and vintage nerdery of all manner (clothing, vinyl, video games for sale) saw four of their machines die by the end of the night (they are restored antiques, after all). So this time, the new and improved, 12pm-12am all day event will feature over 25 machines, featuring the likes of a classic 4-player Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade, Ms. Pac Man Cabaret (“It’s a lovable mini-cabinent,” says Hall), Mortal Kombat II, Street Fighter II arcade, Dig Dig Classic, (“One of our museum quality machines, the artwork is perfect,” he says) and even the two-player cult-classic Altered Beast among others.
Music will be present, by way of Boston 8-Bit which spins “Chip Tune” tracks comprised of music using old gaming hardware (Commodore 64, computers, GameBoys, etc), as well as artwork from Somerville’s Daily Robot. High Energy Vintage, who manned tables selling old video games, vinyl records, and clothing and oddities will also return.
Aeronaut will be handling the beer once more (cash bar), which is mandatory when trivia and tournaments in classic console games like R.C. Pro AM, 8-player Bomberman, and Typing of the Dead set up on classic CRT TV’s will be going all day and night. “Those games are just not the same on an HD TV,” says Hall, “and we’ll have Atari, Nintendo, Sega, everything.”
As for the secret laboratory in Amesbury where Hall and his team originally stored their wares, that’s no more he says. Instead, he and his team of gaming scamps store some at High Energy Vintage, as well as in the back of a hair salon in the South End.
Where all the best arcade games are kept in secret.
BOSTON BIT FEST 2: ELECTRONIC BOOGALOO. FREE/CASH BAR. FEB 21. NOON-12AM AT AERONAUT BREWING. 14 TYLER ST., SOMERVILLE. FACEBOOK.COM/BOSTONBITFEST.
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.