MAGFest Day 1 Recap


As I’ve said before, the Music and Games Festival (MAGFest) is the best of gaming and gamers. It’s an event devoted to having fun with gaming and music, and that’s why I am incredibly excited to attend the thirteenth year of MAGFest at the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor, MD. I know many of you are at PAX South this weekend, so here’s what you’re missing here on the East cost.

Today was a great way to kick off the event, and I made sure to check out the opening chiptune concert in the hallway that kicked off the musical portion of the convention… Yes, it’s a convention. They may call themselves a festival, but let’s be honest: there are panels, there’s cosplay, there’s a dealer’s room and artist’s ally. It’s a convention. Anyway, I digress. The chiptune concert attracted a small, yet active crowd who was happy enough to dance along and cheer the amateur DJs and artists. This was by no means the headliner, that would be saved for later, but it gave us an idea of who was welcome: Anyone who cared about their art and videogames.

magfest 2015 2Immediately after the welcoming concert, I ran (seriously, this place is huge) to the Super Smash Opera [Editor’s Note: This previously read Super Smash Bros. Opera. I was wrong, and I also wrote this at 3AM. I apologize!]. Yes, there was a full opera dedicated to Super Smash Brothers with nods towards character continuity (R.I.P. Ice Climbers), and of course covers of famous opera songs. I couldn’t help but be impressed by the raw singing power of the performers as well as the brilliant dashes of humor they added. I can only hope the group comes back next year for another performance.

magfest 2015 3While MAGFest may not be as cosplay heavy as other conventions, some of the outfits on display I saw were top notch, including Lightning from Final Fantasy III, Jinx from League of Legends, as well as some other creative outfits. There is a competition being held on day 2 I am looking forward to checking out, so be prepared for some great photos.

One really great feature that’s been at MAGFest for many years is the arcade machines. There is an entire hall devoted to hundreds of machines ranging from X-Men, to Time Crisis 2, and of course there are dancing machines like Dance Dance Revolution. Classics also make their way into the mix with GalagaPac Man, and more. If that’s not your speed, they also have old Windows machines set up to run games like Wolfenstein 3-D, and a separate hall devoted to consoles.

Of course, the big draw to MAGFest is the music. I was able to check out a few concerts throughout the day and the evening, especially Rare Candy followed almost immediately by Machinae Supremacy. I have to say, I am impressed with MAGFest’s concert set up. It’s a huge hall with two stages on either side: A red stage and a blue stage. As soon as one side is finished, the crowd moves to the other side of the hall for the next band while the previous tears down. It’s a system that works at giving us the bands we are looking for.

magfest 2015 1
For anyone who is familiar with MAGFest, the main event for the night will be no surprise: MAGProm. It’s the concert event with some of the main headliners including Professor Shyguy who played his set just before the Protomen. They are both very different performers, but they absolutely drew the biggest crowd I saw all day.

So that was day 1. Tomorrow I am looking forward to exploring the dealer’s room a bit better, checking out the indie game showcase, the “Super Awesome Cosplay Battle”, and then probably some panels including “That Diversity Panel” and “Toxic Rage in the Gaming Community”. Music-wise, I think I will hold out until the DJ battle at the end of the day to watch DJ Cutman battle Grimecraft. It should all be very entertaining.

Make sure to check the website and the official Armed Gamer Twitter account for continuous updates throughout the day!

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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