MAGfest. Known by some as the Music and Games Festival, but celebrated by many as the New Year NARP. I have celebrated the New Year with three MAGfest's to date, but none nearly so memorable or enjoyable as 2013. I'm here to highlight some of my experiences on the return to the mountain timezone before the convention grade S.A.R.S takes me out of the game for a few days.
The Planning Phase:
This year I was not expecting to attend MAGfest. The hotel they chose to host the event at is expensive and I just hadn't really thought about it after a fairly “meh” MAGfest 2012. Last-minute I heard about an indie games showcase booth, which I may or may not be able to volunteer for at for a hotel room. Some ups, downs and risk involved, I purchased a plane ticket to leave January 3rd, 2013 on December 28, 2012. This type of spontaneous travel has advantages and disadvantages:
Advantage: The excitement of going on a trip doesn't have time to subside, so from moment of purchase to departure I was pumped.
Disadvantage: It's a tad bit expensive to wait that long. December 27th would have been ideal, I think.
The Packing Phase:
This is what I packed for January 3rd-January 6th
-Clothing enough for each day plus a spare in case of party foul/beer spillage/other incident.
-Chargers for phone and iPad, USB charger adapter
-Toothpaste, deodorant, hand lotion, face wash and benadryl
This left enough space in the backpack for one key item: a fleece travel blanket, for sleeping on flights.
Advantage: I didn't have to carry a heavy bag between the airport and hotel, around the hotel, between hotel rooms, or anything else.
Advantage: I didn't have to pay to check a bag, or worry about messing with overhead bins on the plane. Everything fit nicely under the seat in front of me.
Disadvantage: Nothing. Part of me, for about fifteen minutes during the weekend, wished I'd had brought my 3DS to participate in Street Pass. That feeling was ultimately fleeting, since I was one of the few that wasn't walking-and-playing in the halls, or curled up on the floor staring deep into the eyes of my 3DS instead of socializing.
The Arrival Phase:
Once I arrived at the hotel, there were some room mix-ups with the volunteers. I was supposed to be comped a room for the weekend with Dtoid NY's very own Tino, but the room they put me in was full, and Tino was dropped from the volunteer list entirely. About 5 plus years ago, piling up on the floor of a hotel room would be like a camping adventure that I'd brush off after a nice shower. As my elders often say “these old bones certainly aren't what they once were,” and I was much less willing to sleep on a hard floor.
This is where Jonathan Ross came in. I was generously offered a place to stay after some of his roommates dropped out. It was not a party room, so getting to sleep worked out wonderfully, sharing a queen sized bed with also-homeless Tino.
The final night, I wanted to change things up since I felt super guilty for taking up space in Jonathan's room, so Tino and I transferred over to Dyganth's special space. The space was greatly appreciated.
The Indie Phase:
As I mentioned earlier, I spent time at the indie games booth. Though they stiffed me a room, I was still present to help at the booth basically the entire weekend, save for a nap through the Destructoid panel (what a jerk, right?) The Indie Games Booth of MAGfest was a lovely thing. The convention sponsored several tables for indie game developers to set up at basically free. All they had to do was pay for admission.
Notable Indie Games According to Kat:
High Strangeness – an adventure game created by our very own Agent Moo. The visual style was reminiscent of both NES and SNES era games, with a wonderful chiptunes soundtrack to go with it. Clever game mechanics and quirky characters had a lot of attention over the weekend.
Camp Keepalive – My personal favorite, also created by former Dtoiders (who are named Joel and Chris in the regular world, but I have no idea what their handles here are). It's a turn-based strategy game where you play as one of four camp counselors, each with a different ability, and collect campers that have wandered off. The danger here comes in the form of 80's horror movie staples, viewed at the show were Swamp monsters, slasher villains a-la Jason Vorhees and wolfmen. They had plans to add more beasties later on. Your goal was to collect campers and bring them to safety before a monster got to them. Some time after the show, they plan on releasing a public beta – which I highly recommend.
Electronic Super Joy – A beautifully designed action platformer set to a beat. The complex and challenging level design, visual design, sound and high polish really made this one stand out.
Kinship – A side-scrolling shooter in the vein of Gradius with a heavy story focus, also featuring a great soundtrack (what? Games with high sound quality at a (italics)music and games festival? Outrageous). It was early in development, but showed high potential.
Saturday Morning RPG – A kickstarter success story, Saturday Morning RPG is an RPG that features a whole lot of nostalgia. The game features a kid in high school during the 80's (with some 90's references) that wants to fight the forces of evil to save a girl at school. He gains powers from a wizard in the form of a trapper keeper that holds spells, and scratch-and-sniff sticker powerups. The game has several episodes out on iOS and has several more planned, I played Episode 1 in the hotel room because I just couldn't wait to get home for more.
Tone-Def – a tower defense game set to a beat. You use instruments that attack on rhythm to defeat robots descending on you. The design on this is ultimately unique and surprisingly catchy. The developer also made a game called Wiggity Wings, which – okay, picture in your head that paper airplane game in school, where you had to avoid obstacles and gain altitude by hitting air vents. It's like that, only you're powered by wigs. Quirky and awesome, for sure.
Holy crap – okay, I'm getting carried away with this. Those are SOME of the great titles that were on the showcase. Here, the list with websites.
The Party Phase:
Last years MAGfest 2012 had one specific hitch in it that really bummed me out. At the time, I was unable to drink alcohol due to a body malfunction that has since mostly-corrected itself. This year, I was very happy to enjoy my favorite American lager in the form of Yeungling (not available in the glorious state of Colorado) this weekend on multiple occasions. My only hardcore “party night” was Saturday, where I spent most of the time with Dtoiders in groups of varying size, before crashing a party with many notable types, including the *Epic Panel Guy, and nearly all dtoiders in attendance at the show.
During this party, I had mentioned that one of my goals for the weekend was to start a **Colossus power-up that was echoed back to me. Since the weekend was winding down, it was suggested by Keener that I start the power-up yell in the room – and it was glorious.
Alcoholic beverages consumed:
Yeungling (sometimes alternately Yeungling light)
National Bohemian, better known as Natty-Bo (Which I'd never had, so I decided to try it)
Dragon's Milk, an amazing Stout provided by Jess and Dyganth.
The Reminiscent Phase:
By Sunday, much fun was had but it was definitely time to go home. Most people had left by the time I even got myself out of bed, so I really just lounged around with Dyganth and others until it was time to take the shuttle back home. This basically brings me up-to-date where I realize my Dtoid life has changed. In 2009, I knew nothing but peoples online handle. Now I don't remember those handles and only know them by their real names. I have seen people I know from around the world face-to-face more often than I'd have been able to without these events.
It has been quite some time since I've posted with the C-Blogs here. I am aware that most of the people I see on a regular basis were Dtoid, but are about as active as I am – but there is no better place to share this.
As many of geek culture tend to do, I did make it home with a single souvenir. See, I have made it a habit to collect money from various cultures. Small monetary value, often coinage. This trip offered me a new coin to collect. One which makes me very happy and makes a wonderful addition to my current collection.
I am so glad I saw the people I saw. I miss people that couldn't make it, but I was overjoyed with how things went overall. I'd have tagged more people in this post, but I honestly don't remember handles here. I am more familiar with real names at this point - I guess that means the Destructoid community has evolved to fit real life.
*During the Destructoid panel at MAGfest, there was a guy that took a fair amount of time awkwardly grilling Neiro and Dale (and whoever else was on the panel) about integrity on the site. I missed this panel, as my sissy self fell asleep, but I heard glorious things about it. Later in the evening, it was decided that Destructoid should invite this Epic Panel Guy to their epic room party, where he proceeded to behave much like one would have expected. Epic Panel Guy/Tom: If you're reading this, make an account.
**The X-Men arcade cabinet has been present at MAGfest for quite some time. When the event was held at a smaller hotel, the sound of Colossus using his mutant power could be heard basically everywhere. Since then, MAGgoers have been yelling “Ooooaaaaauuuugh!” in the hallways and had it happily echoed back to them. I had never participated in this tradition, until this year.
It goes something like this:
and came from this (It's nine-minutes on repeat, you only need to see about 15 seconds of it):
About ShadokatRegn One of us since 11:16 PM on 12.06.2007
A 27 year old student, Katrina enjoys her writing, yet acknowledges it could be better. She spends most of her time looking for something to write about. She misses the Destructoid crew, but admits her other writing obligations keep her quite occupied. She'll keep an eye on the Monthly Musings, since those are always worth her time.
For those who enjoy her writing, it's now archived under that hypertext. Catch her Twittering in the third person on a somewhat regular basis.