//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto of The OneUps via Kevin McGee
Music meet gaming — in a festival environment. I don’t view MAGfest as a convention, really (more ‘norms’ show up at MAGfest). During the 3.5 days there were concerts, panels, 24-hour video/tabletop games, and elevator parties. Compared to other similar events, I find solace in MAG, because of one main thing: nerdy music. I’ll admit, the first year I arrived at the Gaylord for the fest, they didn’t seem to have a real handle on how to deal with a carpeted ballroom setting for live music. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Photo of MegaRan and Professor Shyguy via Kevin McGee
This year, they nearly nailed the concert halls. When we weren’t dancing to MegaRan’s Random Showcase (featuring Kodesh Flow, Richie Branson, Eye Q, and more), or grooving to You Bred Raptors?, and falling in love with Sammus, we were in the arcade taking a look at the indie videogames; so many of which featured original music, in a setting where we could talk to the creators. In addition to the indie game showcase, there were:
First and foremost, the stand-out performer of the entire event was Sammus, who everyone in my party adored, and we all flocked to her Bandcamp and website to see if her sold out merch was available there. The video below helps capture how her acapella abilities and spoken-word influence melds with the legit-shit content she spits.
Day one consisted of everyone settling in, grabbing a bite after their flight or drive, and rendezvousing with their pals. The Gaylord staff welcomed and directed all attendees, who migrated toward the gaming halls, concert halls, and registration pick-up. It was easy to see that this wasn’t anyone’s first level, because every interaction I had with staff was helpful and pleasant. Not only were they pleasant, but check out the concert security in this gif dancing to MegaRan:
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsFrom the start, music was heard in every corner of the event. JamPods happened, where anyone willing to try out the instruments set up, like drum kits and 808s, could jam with strangers or friends. Chipspaces were around too, where specifically chiptune (music made via videogame sounds) could jam. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
In addition to these, were Jam spaces, where people could bring their own instruments and set up and play a set for people passing by. So let’s just say, if you weren’t interested in the listed lineup, there was no escaping music enthusiasm. I commend MAGfest for including these things this year, because it really emphasized the M in MAG.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto of Ap0c via Kevin McGee It was impossible to catch every concert on day one, which included: LITTLE PAW, Family Jules7x, Ap0c, Gunvolt, Metroid Metal, MegaRan with Shyguy, and even a MAGprom. We did see Metroid Metal and a killer set from MegaRan with Shyguy, leading the three performances that MegaRan did that weekend (are we sure this wasn’t MegaRanFest?). //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Photo of MegaRan’s second of three performances
Day two was a bit more hectic, with more panels, more people, more performances, and the multitude of beautiful cosplay filling the atrium and lobby for photo-shoots. Some were hand-made, while others were store-bought, and a mixture of the two. The most populous of cosplayers was either the Ricks from Rick and Morty or Undertale characters. Whether for fun or business, they were all worth a look.
Later in the night performers took the stage: Eight-bit Disaster, Trev Wignall, Super Soul Bros, The World is Square, Sammus, Rekcahdam, The One-Ups, Mighty No. 9 Live, Tupperware Remix Party/Ninja Sex Party, and the late night Videogame DJ Battle.
Along with I Fight Dragons on Saturday, the Ninja Sexy Party and Tupperware Remix Party were a large draw for the event. Sadly, we missed NSP/TWRP due to conflicting schedules (as a matter of fact, MuesProduction’s joint podcast, Goin’ Off With Rap Critic and Mues, was at that time. Listen to the live recording here.)
After a long night of room party searching, we woke up on day three to kick off another day, one where we were focused on attending as many concerts as possible! Playing on that day were: DiscoCactus, Psychostick, You Bred Raptors?, Bit Brigade (playing the live music for Ninja Gaiden), Mega Man Zero 20th anniversary, I Fight Dragons, and the Chiptunes midnight rave.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto of I Fight Dragons While food trucks rolled out, and people scurried for coffee at the break of noon, the day was already in full effect. A beautiful 60-degree day allowed for outdoor photography, and some apparently epic parties on the harbor itself. But the real fest was still indoors, where contests, autographs and a view at new Occulus Rift games made by indie developers. My stand-out game of the weekend would be Read Only Memory, a cyber-punk point and click for the more book-wormy of videogame nerds. In addition to that, another memorable game was Eruption, a game where you play a volcano!
MAGfest 2016 was preceded by Katsucon, a similarly nerdy convention (but one which lacked live concerts and apparently had a multitude of rude people defacing property). Having to follow the act that was Katsucon not even a week later, MAGfest really needed to bring the A-game for fear of the event being declined by Gaylord National Harbor in the future. Sure, there was a fire-alarm pulled on day one, but all was well. On top of that, for those parents out there or socially-nervous folks, the security was hyper-vigilant, combing through the larger crowds, making sure fire exits weren’t blocked, and lookin’ good doing it.** This #twitfromthepit or #twitfromthehotelhallway, was the most rowdy the crowd seemed to get:
**In this photo you can see lovely MAGfest staff helping us out when we realized that we lost our car keys SOMEWHERE in the convention! They had them, safe and sound.
***Disclaimer, Molly Shores has yet to grasp the concept of rotating her camera to landscape view for her Twits, and feels like a total twit for it.