Bit Gen Gamer Fest goes old school
As thousands of anime fans flocked to the Baltimore Convention Center last Saturday afternoon for Otakon, another equally eccentric homage to nerd culture was being held 10 blocks away at Rams Head Live. Bit Gen Gamer Fest is Baltimore’s one-day festival dedicated to gaming and the burgeoning sub genre of video game inspired music. (See our photo gallery here)
This year marks the eighth anniversary of the festival and they have decided to level up. When Bit Gen first began it was originally called 8 Bit Genocide and was held in a few rooms of the old Load Of Fun building on North Avenue. This year, Bit Gen Gamer Fest partnered with organizers of the more widely known, equally nerdy annual event MAGFest (Music and Gaming Fest) to produce a festival on a scale that, until now, the organizers had yet to reach.
Several dozen arcade games and game consoles lined the walls of the first and second floors of Rams Head Live! for festival goers to test their skills at games that, in many cases, are older than the people playing them.
On stage, bands bent the lines of copyright protection with their live renditions of songs inspired by games like Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man, and Zelda while video game animations were projected onto an enormous screen hanging on the back of the stage.
Bit Gen highlights included performances by video game rock bands Random Battles, Rare Candy and Power Glove, a group which has managed to tour with the incredibly un-ironic, internationally acclaimed fantasy metal group DragonForce.
Deviating from the more rock oriented bands, and winning the show-stealer award was middle school teacher by day and hip-hop artist by night, Mega Ran, whose performance left the crowd of video game fanatics pressed against the stage barricades, fists held high and pumping.
In an age where technologies, and in turn, video games are advancing at an exponential rate there is still a certain allure to the original games, and Bit Gen proves it. The attitude of the video game fan is the same kind of attitude seen in a person that collects vinyl, or old cars. What it comes down to? “They just don’t make them like they used to.”