Macathu's post can be viewed HERE.
If you have never been to MagFest before you should check it out at least once in your life. The best way to describe it is to say its like a Woodstock for gamers. A four day 24 hour festival of games, music and panels. None Stop. NONE. STOP. Yes it involves a lot of caffeine and pacing yourself. Sometime is January thousands of gamers descend on the Gaylord Hotel and leave it just a little bit geekier.
The cabinets weren't so spread out but the number seemed to be the same. The artist alley seemed to grown a tiny bit and there was some random podcast/feed thing going on in the corner that nobody seemed to care about except the fact (I read on the forums) that it made the rhythm games next to it have to keep their volume down which ruined the fun a bit. There seemed to be less consoles and everything was swamped by Friday. So you either had to turn into a vampire and play between 1am and 8am or wait 30 minutes to play your favorite game. This wasn't exactly the case last year. While there still was a wait people also seemed a bit nicer to share. Where some people this year were rather rude about it. So less of my time was spent in the gaming room then I spent last year. I would come in - wander around. Try to play something then leave. The bar and the smoking area was used a bit more this year because of it.
The first being Artemis. After hearing about it online I knew I wanted to try it and the moment we could sign up I signed up for two slots and wish I signed up for more.
Artemis involves a team of six that fly a ship sort of like on Star Trek and while I'm not sure if this is the real goal. Fly around the destroy all the bad guys you can find before your time is up. Everyone on the team takes a place like Star Trek and have to work together to make the ship move. It can run out of energy, weapons, shields and get blown to bits. For more information go here http://www.artemis.eochu.com/.
Our first play was as a support ship to the main ship team that was on the big screen. This mostly involved the captain (below) yelling at me to turn sharper or move the ship better. You need a lot of dexterity with your finger (hurr hurr) to fly this thing! So at some point he was yelling, I was yelling, the ship was out of nukes and we were wiping out.
The second time was a lot better lets just say that. We were on a roll of blowing bad guys up and the scientist (Shantz) was even bored enough to create back stories for each of our bad guys we encountered. At one point we ended up going rogue. Asking an enemy to surrender, which they did. Then have our weapons expert blow them up anyways!
Our time was cut a bit short which upset the group a little because they didnt add time for the issue. My computer froze and they had to reset it which took a chunk of our time slot. Instead of restarting or adding time they let us keep going. We could have won! WE COULD HAVE!
Ahem. Anyways next year if they have it will definitely sign up for more then two slots.
Basically walked into the large room and saw a small circle of people and six people in the center waving light wands at each other. In the background on a large screen there were animated players and as the physical players were "out" the players vanished causing the music to change depending what instruments were "in". At first we just thought the players on the screen played depending on the movements of the physical player but then realized that the physical player had to change their speed depending on the music itself. So if they moved too fast while the music slowed down their wand would flicker then go red. The goal is to get the other players out and you can do so by making them shake their wand or batting their wand.
We also saw this played in teams and just large groups in general. By the second day it became an unspoken rule to bow if you are the last two and if it was taking too long the crowed started clapping and closing the circle.
The first day everyone was playing nice and sharing the light wands but when I tried to get Kalanae to try it the second day it seemed that groups were just rotating the wands amongst themselves. So after six or so games we moved on. The first time I tried it was teams and my team abandoned me. I was surrounded and even though I weaved as valiantly as I could I was sadly doomed.
That said some of the artists there did seem to have the same exact style of art. There is this one style that's become popular and the more artists in that genre are springing up so I only bought a few posters this year. I did however get Macathu a neat new mug to drink out of. I think we are done with getting him drinking vessels for a while now that he has several at this point. I saw a lot of anime vendors which surprised me a bit at a gaming convention but Im guessing they didn't have enough gaming vendors to fill slots so then first come first serve.
Outside I met several awesome first time MagFest people which I ran into several more times outside. While I don't suggest anyone start smoking if you haven't already I do agree that there is a special thing about meeting new people in the smoking areas. That also being said. Smoking's bad mmk? K now that I feel less evil...
The bar at MagFest is pretty nice if you can afford it. The drinks are pretty pricey but from what I tasted they didn't stiff you on the alcohol. My Jack n Cokes were mostly Jack with a spritz of coke. We also had drinks in our hotel room and on our persons when we felt the need to take a nip during all the chaos. I didn't see too many people go overboard with the booze which was nice for a convention. I think I ran into one girl hurling in the bathroom and that was it. The other ruckus was just normal for a con. Yelling and the such. Some of that would happen if people were drunk or not. The only time staff got mad at us is when we had a water bottle (actually had water) on one of the arcade games which is understandable.
The first was a female panel I was excited about. I've been to a few that were great and a few that were terrible. This one was on the terrible side. While I say that I think it's great that there are more and more of these to bring awareness that there is a female gaming community. I just think they need to be more structured and used to help female gamers who are harassed or having trouble getting into the community. Just sitting around saying that girls get harassed is the first step. Talking about what we can do about it is the step to take after that and a lot of panels miss this.
The second panel was one Macathu was excited about so we went to see the J-RPG speaker. Once again this was a let down. She spent the first hour ranting and not really going over what the description promised. Which was to talk about J-RPG games that we can play in the states and which ones were worth it. I say the first hour because we left after that. Reading forums later on she only touched on 5 games in three hours. This makes me happy that we left early but a little sad since Macathu really wanted to learn about it.
We then saw Triforce Quartet which I believe should have a main stage show and more time to play. They are a group of string players that play melodies of different games in a beautiful way. Besides taking me on a ride of nostalgia I always get amused at sitting with all these teens and younger crowd that in a normal concert would be sometimes be twitchy/talky or overall loud. This room sat quietly and listened.. Just listened to this beautiful music and I love it every time.
I then went to see Machinae Surpremacy which I know are a good group from what my friends say but just aren't the style of music I enjoy. I know some people came just to see this group and I've heard great things about them so that's why I went to see them. If you get the chance check them out and you may like them.
There was a lot of critiquing in this write up but over all I did have a good time. Between buying sanitizer the second day after picking up a sloppy warm shooter game gun to dancing in the random dance circle in the hallway in the middle of the night. I think it was a successful MagFest. We will be back next year and I hope to write a better review with more videos and notes. Until then.. enjoy the photos and videos!