As I have been known to go on for at length, I go to PAX a lot. And I enjoy myself. A lot. But as I wondered through the exhibit hall for the third year in a row, everything was beginning to feel a bit too familiar. What was once a great adventure was dangerously close to becoming routine. And as I spent precious time with the lovely cherubs that is the Destructoid community, I heard whispered echoes of a magical place. Like a garbled message heard in a fever dream.
“...come to MAGfest...”
Despite the consensual stories of unrelenting joy and golden memories, I balked at these claims. And better than PAX? Madness. But despite my skepticism, and dwindling finances, I decided to make the trip. My wanderlust would not allow me to do otherwise. And although my credit card still aches like an old wound, I can describe my decision to go as the polar opposite of regret. My enjoyment of the trip could not be overstated, and I continued my streak of actually talking to and meeting people instead of cowering under a sheath of social anxiety. Naturally I was armed with my faithful cameras to record the insanity. And even though my bank statement paints a bleak outlook, I will do everything in my power to go again.
So those in the know are aware that this post is late. By about six months. And with cruel time combined with my supernatural ability to be terrible with names, I have forgotten the name of some people who made my time there much more enjoyable. So just know that I have not forgotten you, just your name. If I ever see you again I assure you, you will be greeted with the utmost warmth. Also, some of the details have become foggy, so I will share what I can and try not to be too obnoxious about it.
After a long flight and an infuriating shuttle ride, I finally arrive at the hotel and quickly run into Cataract whom I am glad to say still gives awesome hugs. After checking in with the hotel and the Destructoid group, I settle down and receive an invitation from Changston to accompany him on a mission to pickup Glitchy from the airport. What resulted was a comedy of errors as we desperately tried to navigate our way through Virginia's bastardization of a highway system before our phones die. Against all odds, we managed to get to the airport and ferry Glitchy to the hotel. Though the ride was a good time, it meant that I missed out on Mega Ran's show. However, I did manage to catch The Megas's Show, which was awesome AND also featured a cameo from Mega Ran. A nice compromise.
The first act I catch the next day is Danimal Cannon. One of the few acts I had some familiarity with. Awesome chiptunes along with a rocking electric guitar. If you haven't heard Roots yet, I highly recommend it.
Next up was Crashfaster. Had some good tunes, although the main vocalist used some crazy voice effect that I wasn't quite a fan of. But I was bobbing rhythmically to it, so I guess I can't complain too much.
Afterwards I made my way for the Destructoid panel, where I ran around taking pictures and being reminded of how limited my knowledge of video game music is.
What's a Meanderbot appearance at a community event without a terribly taken group photo?
After a few other bands, I returned to my room to find that a party had formed there. All the more eager to be part, I quickly downed several beers and wielded my camera.
Changston doing what he does best: shaking his ass
I think this is my favorite picture of the weekend, a cheerful Apathy embracing an equally cheerful or greater than cheerful Changston
An emphatic man demonstrates something to Glitchy and Dyganth
One of the few pictures I have of the lovely Julius. Despite being nervous of hosting someone I hadn't ever heard of, he ended up being nothing but a joy. He even saved my ass by driving me back to the bar we just left because I left my camera there. Oops.
Here we have a picture of MYSTERY MAN, Aaron Mxy Yost, Changston and OTHER MYSTERY MAN. Aaron is a lovely human being. One of the few people to recognize my screen name. Pity I didn't get to know him better.
A wide group shot. There are a lot of these, because I'm too scared to get up close to people. On the left, pointing out a stain on my shirt is N7. Is it getting redundant to say he was a lovely person? Pretty much everyone was. This includes his younger brother, whose name I cannot recall but nonetheless enjoyed his company.
Tino: “How you doing down there?”
Apathy: GLUG GLUG GL
Tino: “Ok buddy, sounds good!”
Apathy: UG GLUG GLUG
Dyganth: “I'm gonna allow it.”
And here we have this iconic picture. This picture is particularly frustrating for me. I'm just out of frame on the right. That's my right arm merging under Dyganth's left armpit. Normally I can deal with not being in pictures. But that's usually because I'm the one taking them. Somebody took this picture. But it was with my camera. I guess I'll just have to settle with that.
Later that night was the performance I was looking forward to the most: The Protomen. I've been to a few of their concerts before and I can say without hesitation that their shows are the most fun I have ever had in my (admittedly limited) history of music shows. Though I will say seeing them in a big venue like the MAGfest main stage is absolutely nothing compared to them performing on a bar stage. Now before this becomes a blog about the Protomen show (which it very nearly did) I just get these numerous pictures out of the way and move on before my enthusiasm becomes insurmountable.
FUCK YEAH KILROY
The Gambler, Murphy Weller and Reanimator
Raul Panther III telling it like it
Turbo Lover steps out
A group of people were lucky enough to get a suite, and kind enough to invite us in (briefly)
The view was AMAZING
Aaron slings some wisdom
Afterwards we moved on to somebody's ajoined room, which was pratically filled with people including the lovely Dale North and Niero Gonzalez! Niero pulled out his phone and recorded a video of the room chanting, “HAMZA HAMZA HAMZA” in an attempt to shame him into making it to MAGfest next year.
After consuming several drinks, and not talking to anyone, I get a bit bored and meander off (as I am oft to do) to the main theater where I find that DJ Cutman is playing. I announce on the Groupme chat that I wandered to the main theater, and find to my surprise that Changston and Mark are already there. I quickly locate them and, thanks to my rapidly fading sobriety, proceed to enjoy carelessly dancing for possibly the first time in my life. Seriously, I cannot ever hope to describe how much I enjoyed myself at that moment. I best I could do was capture a few inadequate pictures.
I DON'T KNOW WHY THIS IS ALL LUMPED TOGETHER AND LOOKS DUMB BUT IT'S 2 AM AND I DON'T REALLY CARE ANYMORE
And that's pretty much it as far as pictures go! I was tempted to spend several paragraphs going through all the stories I had that had no pictures, so I guess I plow through them now: Adam Dork talking to me, being awesome and giving me a hug, even though I'm pretty sure we never introduced ourselves to each other; Glitchy, Apathy and Julius for being awesome roommates; Julius leaving two bottles of wine for me, Apathy and Glitchy to enjoy; that time where I ordered an IPA and then everyone else got the same thing (I don't know, this made me feel cool for some reason); eating Pot Belly for the first time (there's one opening by my house OMGOMGOMG); Julius for driving my dumbass back to a bar where I left my camera; the amazing karaoke performance of “Always” the Dtoid crew performed at said bar; Julius leaving two bottles of wine for me, Apathy and Glitchy to enjoy; Apathy breaking one of my pencils about half a second before I tell him to be careful and not break my pencil, and yelling at him even though it was my idea; being able to enjoy a REAL ARCADE for the first time in years; a bunch of amazing music I didn't take pictures of and a bunch of other stuff I was either too drunk to remember or just plan forgot. Thanks to everyone I met that made my time there better. I absolutely cannot wait to go again. What's that? Is it better than PAX? Well, you see, that's a complicated question and – HOLY CRAP WHAT'S THAT BEHIND YOU?! read