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Meet Brent Bushnell of Two Bit Circus

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brent Bushnell.

Brent, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I met Eric (my co-founder) at a local nerd club in downtown Los Angeles. Our friend Doug Campbell was running a monthly event and he was looking for engineers and artists to showcase their projects. Our goal was to blend tech with real, live human interaction and remind people that we all still have a playful kid inside.

It was a great time for technology with microcontrollers, sensors, and computer vision all getting really easy to stitch together into fun, interactive, social experiences. We iterated through a lot of different options and many were terrible but finally started to converge on a few that people loved. Eventually, brands commissioned us to bring these attractions to conferences and events so we could share them with the public. Fast forward and those projects and that approach became the framework for what became Two Bit Circus.

Absolutely love the idea of reminding people about the playful kid inside – the world would be a much happier place if the playful kid inside wasn’t so ignored!  Alright, so it’s a great concept, but surely there were challenges?
Hah! We need a time to talk about all the challenges. I’ll focus on one. Our micro amusement park has a liquor license and in order to get it, the core owners and their significant others needed to sign personally. So we did and then they came back and said my wife’s figure prints weren’t clear enough. We tried multiple times until they realized her fingerprints just weren’t deep enough and I had to sign an affidavit that she wasn’t a criminal!

How random!  At least there was a workaround with the affidavit. What else should we know about you and your work?
We love to entertain and create experiences that bring people together with a sense of play and wonder. This started as a community of entertainment and technology enthusiasts who were trying to find “the future of fun.” We start with old school games from Carnivals and the like and combine with emerging technologies to create something new. Almost every game in the park is multiplayer by design because we’re very focused on social! And we love fire, lasers, and robots so if those can find a way in all the better.

After doing all these events around the world we realized that we had a template that could be permanent. One part of the park that not everyone sees are all “rabbit holes.” We intentionally added aspects of the park that are hidden and have to be discovered.

One of my absolute favorite things about the park is our Beta Nights. These special nights we host every month or two as a showcase of our latest creations and those of local creators. It’s an exciting way to get developers, gamers and anyone else who likes to try experimental fun in one place. It gives developers a chance to get real feedback about the positives and negatives of their creations and the audience gets to be part of the process.

What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
We love to play! And curiosity and imagination are essential components of that. But being social really is our brand’s connective tissue – allowing people to make new friends at our park or connect with old ones has always been one of our primary goals. There are very few games in our park designed for only one player. If you’re playing by yourself the chances are it’s going to be something that other people are going to have fun watching.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 634 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA, 90021
  • Website: www.twobitcircus.com
  • Phone: (213) 599-3188
  • Email: 2bcpr@104west.com

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