Between January 5 – 8th, gamers and music appreciators invaded the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center to appreciate video game music and the gaming community in all its magnificent glory. My brother and I forked over $80 each to check out this realm of nerddom. Unfortunately, real life stood as the gatekeeper and we didn’t start our adventure until Friday (1/6) night. It was worth every minute, though.
For people who attend music festivals, you’ll find this set-up different. The concert venue is in the middle and accessible 24/7. However, when you leave the concert hall, the music stops and the gaming begins. This festival is split fairly down the middle. They have different events for both sides and some of them interact, but not often. I chose to explore the gaming side the whole time and only listened to live music in the halls where DJs and musicians jammed together on various songs. I’d see a group of gamers in the same hall either playing tabletop games or playing on the 3DS. There were so many 3DS users that my StreetPass plaza was packed every hour!
The gaming opportunities were huge there too. Of course, you had the gaming tournaments and tabletop players. They also hosted a huge room for LAN parties, multiple rooms for tabletop gamers, two-thirds of a floor for console gamers, and another third for arcade players. Of these rooms, Indie developers were given some great real estate to show off their projects and hopefully increase support. One indie developer I spoke with said he’s been working on his game since college while another one told me he had a made his game for a party but found more interest than expected in it. The games were quirky and fun and all were more than happy to gush about why their game was so great. If you want more than games and music though, there were plenty of other events to keep you busy.
Magfest featured several guests including Matt Mercer, Marisha Ray, and Wes Johnson who were happy to chat about voice acting and how awesome it is to be a geek. Other guests like Smooth McGroove, Gareth Coker, Super Marcato Bros, and Alexander Brandon spoke about the importance of music and video games. I went to a late night panel with Super Marcato Bros who gave a really neat presentation on the history of music in conjunction with iconic video games. The attendants were all getting silly with it too, dancing in their seats and cheering for the composers they recognized.
When you’re really ready to get your geek on, it’s time to check out all the cosplay panels and events! There were tons of cosplayers there with a variety of skills. Those who want to improve their prop-making or sewing skills could attend panels while those who want to show off can attend the photo shoots, competitions, and dance-offs Magfest holds.
MAGFest is for everyone. There are events and activities for all types of gamers and musicians and worth every penny. If I was to do it again (which is a high possibility), I’d get a hotel within walking distance, if not on site. There is so much to do that spending time traveling there is time wasted. Of course, there’s always next year.
Did you attend? Was it your first one too? Comment below!