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MAGFest preview

MAGFest is the largest fan run gaming and VG Music festival out there at over
6,100 last year.  This is in it’s second year at the Gaylord National
and is growing quickly. The event’s mission is to celebrate and promote
Gaming culture. They do this fairly well in it’s Festival format.


This is a programming (including concerts) focused preview for everyone who
wants to get the most out of the Festival. First part of this is the
Scheduled programming, second part will be best of the concerts and the
final part is the organized Video gaming exhibits in the festival. Note
on all scheduling: This may change at any point. I am holding this as
late as I can before the festival, but may change before, during and
after it.
http://magfest.org/schedule/ for the most current schedule.

Note: This is also my personal opinion and not the views of anyone who runs any other events.

Live Programming Preview

There is nearly a 100 panels at MAGFest this year. The live programming
(outside of concerts) is many fan film folks. This preview will try to
be balanced, but will probably end up that way. The way I will try to be
balanced on this front. First of all, A gamer thinker focused preview:


-Beliefs about Television and Video Games between parents and children (4 PM
Thursday Panels 4)- This is an analysis of the follow up to the famous
study of 20 years ago dealing with Children and Parents on Video Games.
As a Mass Communications major in college, this is something I spent a
week on in a television and society class then. I won’t be there until
Friday, but I hope someone puts this on Youtube and you should probably
attend this panel.


-Gaming Intellectuals-Video Game Ethics (10 AM Friday-Panels 6)-This is a panel
that talks about Video Game addictiveness. Is Video Game addictiveness
part of Good Design or Bad ethics? I think it’s an interesting dilemma
in the world of gaming that isn’t being talked enough about.


-Video Games and Psychometric Methods (4:30 PM Friday-Panels 5)- A panel that
is talking about the academic study of what makes a good video game.
They plan to talk about such things as Immersion and difficulty of games
(Something that makes me more of a traditional gamer than a live gamer.



-Gaming Intellectuals-Are there Too many games (3 PM Saturday-Panels 5)-This
panel is going to try to answer the question of Is there Video Gaming
overload. Does this lead to a non-commonality amongst gamers? Is this
healthy for the industry? These are some of the questions that they will
try to answer.


Game Creation Preview:

-What Game Developers Can’t have-(10 AM Friday-Panels 5)-This panel talks
about what Gamers can’t have. There are limits to the world of Video
Game creation along. This sounds like a frank talk about the limitations
of the Video Game medium.


-Game Maker Studio Tutorial- (1 PM Friday-Panels 3)-This is a tutorial about a
popular indy game creator called Game Maker. Eric Ruth who is an
independent game creator based out of Baltimore area explains the
popular Game Maker software and how to use it to get the most out of it
in Game creation.


-Comparing Flash and Utility to create your own Game (11:30 AM Saturday-Panels
4)-This is a mobile gaming creation tutorial using Flash for demos,
which is popular to use in this medium. Something for those who want to
develop their own Mobile game.


Fan video Creation Preview:

-Screwattack Q and A-(11:30 AM Friday-Panels 2)-Very popular web film folks who
bring you the AVGN and Screwattack Gaming convention that is coming back
in 2013.  I’m expecting news about SGC at the panel (guess is dates and
location or who is running it. My guess on who is running it is Phoenix
Entertainment who also run A-Kon in Dallas.)


-Egoraptor Panels-(Thursday 5:30 PM and Sunday Midnight)-Very popular web animator
who has parodied everything from Thor’s Hammer to the end of Mass
Effect 3. This guy gets millions of hits per video and also does the
Game grumps web series.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM0tnfU-QAo&list=UU0gEw6pgNkLkkzMwzX4UtHA&index=3 for a sample of his work.

-James Rolfe The Angry Video Game Nerd-(Satuday 6 PM Panels 1)-Very funny web
video creator who talks in no uncertain terms about Bad Video games. He
expresses every gamers deepest frustrations with a Yuengling in one hand
and a foul mouth. Won’t link due to it being NSFW.


Random and other panels to see at the Festival:

-Video Game Improv-(Friday 5 PM Panels 3)-One of the Daytime programming
highlights every year is Video Game Improv. A great chance to see how
much In jokes you know in Video Gaming. It’s done with a lot of audience
interaction to help make it funny.
http://magfest.org/vgimprov for more information about it.

-Sonic The Hedgehog World Premiere Screening-(Saturday 1 PM Panels 4)-This is a
Sonic the Hedgehog fan film being done by Blue Core studios. This has
been a couple of years in the making and features the voice of Jaleel
White (remember Urkel). It looks quite good actually. Probably good
enough where you may wonder why hasn’t Sega done a big budget film of
this character.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGYI8yz9U8 for the trailer.

-Real Life Street Fighter-(Saturday 6 PM Panels 4)- This is a panel that is
going to take a look at how far the characters would make in a real life
Street fighter tournament. I know some of these characters have powers
that wouldn’t work in real life, so I want to see this just to see how
they explain how Guile doesn’t win the tournament on strength.


-Voice-A-Palooza III-(Saturday 1 PM Panels 1)-This is a panel where you can ask the
Voice actor guests nearly anything. This always turns out to be an
interesting experience for those who get asked.


Ten Musical Acts

This year there are nearly 40 acts at this year’s festival (38 to be exact),
which means you can either spend 12 hours a day listening to Video Game
Music or spend that time on other things. These are my picks for 10
acts that are worth your time listening to. There is no particular order
for this. For the full musical act list, go to
http://magfest.org/performers.

1.The Protomen-(Saturday 9:20 PM Main Stage)-This is one of the greatest
Video game music groups out there. They bring awesome original music. A
great group with a strong underground following including this Queen
lover. Here’s their tribute to Mega Man:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ8jyGVioxg.

2. Video Game Orchestra (Friday 10:30 PM Main Stage)-This is bringing a
smaller ensemble than the 40 piece groups at places like Anime Boston. I
don’t have a video, but it’s Modern rock with Strings covers of Video
Game Music. This year is a Castlevania focused set.


3. Metroid metal-(Thursday 9:20 PM Main Stage)-A passionate group of
Metroid lovers who put gaming music with a little bit of Nightwish mixed
in. Here’s their version of Brinstar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itZWNqox8xM

4. Descendants of Erdrick (Friday 5 PM Second stage)-This Austin, TX based
group has a very smooth sound to their music due to the Flute that is
part of the group.  For a fuller taste of their music,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKOrCooJC7s for a live performance from them.

5. The World is Square (Friday 2 PM Second Stage)-This group creates video
game music with Ukeles. It’s very chill and relaxing music to listen
to. It’s stuff I can listen to all the way home from work.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdM_j2tZ51Y for a sample of their work.

6. On being Human (11 AM Saturday Second Stage)-This is an indy band who
has become popular through their Video game covers. Before that, they
had been featured in the main stream. Here’s a taste of their music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cwUTlE3NCQ.

7. Dj Cutman (1 AM Saturday Dance party)-Probably the best Video Game DJ
I’ve seen. He knows to mix very well and make other’s music his own. In
my opinion, he is better than the lead DJ of Yuzo Koshiro on Saturday. I
also am not a DJ expert. Here’s a piece of music for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UztIhpKsVXY

8. Powerglove (10:30 PM Saturday Main Events)-There is a reason why they
are the headlining Saturday night band. They simply rock a ton of
awesome including this awesome redo of the Batman theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPo3DsMIYcw

9. Bright Primate (12:40 PM Saturday Chiptune showcase)-These chiptunes do
some pretty amazing and cool music with mostly computer sounds and old
programs. Chiptunes embrace the do it yourself spirit of MAGFest. Here’s
an taste of Derezzed by them:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AZH_WOHLy4

10. Bit Brigade (8:10 PM Friday Main Events)- What makes this group
different is that they aren’t willing to do simply Video Game covers,
they are willing to make their concerts events of Nerdy proportions.
Take this example of a Mega Man 2 Speedrun for the entirty of their
MAGFest X performance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOt6EGgBnQs

Exhibits and other events Preview   

There is a massive amount outside of panels and music to experience at the
Festival. I will not preview the tournaments due to no experience in the
tournament realm. There seems to be quite a few of them this year and
worth checking out. I will break this out by Event or Exhibit.


-Games on Film-This is one of a couple of new events/exhibits coming to the
festival this year. This is basically a track of 15 Video gaming
documentaries/fan films this year. They will still show things like AVGN
and other reviewers late at night. Some of the highlights in my opinion
are Going Cardboard (film about the return of Board gamers), The Space
Invaders: In Search of Lost Time and More than a Game (Film about the
Evo Tournament series preps).


-Demoparty-This scene is underground, but has a massive supporter in Chris Huselbeck
(also a guest at the Festival). This is the art of making fan films with
using an experience like Video Game creation. This will happen all in
one room with lots of Wi-Fi and tech to create something original there.
Here is a look at the Demoscene to help you understand this:
https://www.youtube.com/user/demoscenedoc. This is an exhibit that is new this year.  

-Internet Radio-Internet radio broadcasters will be at the Festival to cover it
live. There are a couple who will be covering it live. This is an
experiment for them I expect with how hard it can be to get Internet in
any hotel during a fan event.
http://magfest.org/internetradio for further information on this.

-Indie Game Showcase-Come see what is next in gaming. Who knows you may find
the next Firaxis games (a Maryland gaming company who started out as an
indy gaming company). Over 30 exhibitors are showing their games for you
to try for Free.
http://magfest.org/indiegameshowcase for a list of games. One I’m interested in is Saturday morning RPG. This is a RPG based on Saturday morning cartoons.

-Challenge Corner-This tucked away room where you can play old school games where
they make they very difficult to play with challenges. Only beating a
boss with one life. You earn points by completing them. Top 20 get
prizes.
http://magfest.org/challenges for this year’s challenges to give you a chance.

I know I’m forgetting about the Marketplace (http://magfest.org/marketplace), Large Tabletop gaming area, LARP, Over 300 arcades in the Arcade area, Over 100 consoles and so much more. This is a great event and I will be there to help out, so you will see me at the festival.

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