The UK may have Superbyte, the Netherlands may have EINDBAAS, but here near the United States’ capital, we have a little thing called MAGFest, and we like to think it does alright. While many of you came out and attended MAGFest with us from all over the globe (attendance surpassed 17,000 people this year!), I know there are many of you who were not able to. And if I’m honest with you, even those of us who DID go couldn’t have gone to everything that there was to do there unless the Ministry of Magic had given out Time Turners to the lot of us. That’s where this post comes in – I’ve done my best to assemble all the links, videos and pictures of the most happening happenings to have happened. Those of you who remember my Post-PAX PAX Post should be familiar with how I’m going to format this: As this was the Music and Gaming Festival, we’re going to have a #Music and a #Gaming section as well as a #Closing Thoughts, tagged as such for easy navigation within the post.
With forty acts rotating back and forth on the two main stages and even more who played at the Chipspace, Jamspace, or secret shows throughout the hotel, MAGFest had more music than they knew what to do with. The good news is that much of it got recorded on Twitch – the mainstage events on MAGFest’s official stream, and our Chipspace events were recorded thanks to Glenn Dubois & his team on Clipstream. The bad news is that Twitch deletes its videos after a time, so I don’t know how much longer those two links are going to get you to music. Clipstream and Mediatron are working hard to get everything uploaded, but in the meantime, some official and non-official stream rips have made it up now, either from the artists themselves, or intrepid fans at home. Thanks to everyone for getting this out there on the internet, I’ve compiled as many as I can. What follows below is as much of the mainstage concerts that I could find. Keep trawling the net in the days to come for more!
If that doesn’t blow your mind, it’s because your mind must have already been blown. This was easily one of the best MAGFests to date in terms of music lineups and visualists. Many thanks to our very own Brandon Hood, Emily Feder, the guys at Mediatron, the security folks who had to deal with a billion pits opening, all the performers for taking the time out of their busy lives to come be sweaty nerds with the rest of us sweaty nerds, and the visualists who worked overtime to keep up with all the artists. With forty performers, the visualists & lighting crew were working overtime to make sure everyone’s sets looked slick. While I might not have video representation for everyone, I will have links to all the musicians and visualists down at the bottom of the post, so please be sure to go check them out and throw money at them for things. The way we make MAGFest good is by having such stupendous artists there, but they need money to go places. You have money, right? You should give it to them.
Now, while the mainstage events were glorious, the Chipspace brought it home. I was only personally able to attend the Kawaii 8Bit set, but let me tell you that was the gnarliest show I’ve been to in quite some time. If you haven’t checked out their new compilation, you wrong son. (Confession, it’s what I’m listening to right now.) Specific shoutouts to Shoujo Kiss’ duet with Azuria Sky, Yotsuba Lifestyle absolutely slaying it with all the added hip hop effects (gun shots, cash register noises, etc), and of course Rainbowdragoneyes wrecked the place in his traditional piratical ways. Now, you could go by the song and blame us getting loose on the juice, but honestly that was some of the hypest I’ve ever seen people be at a straight up chipshow.
But honestly, do you want to know my favorite part about the music here at MAG? It’s not the fact that it rocked – which of course it did. It’s not the fact that there was so much of it, representing a wide array of styles – which it obviously did. It’s not that everyone running the shows did an amazing job, or the fact that the visualists were on point, or the fact that we probably drank more collectively than the entire state of Rhode Island does in a year – no, no, it’s none of those things. It’s the fact that every single one of the performers came out and had something new that they’re working on.
Even some of the tried and true favorites like Powerglove came out and said they’ve got new stuff in the works. Virt is doing a freaking virtual reality music video piece. The Protomen just dropped a new cover album. Trey Frey just dropped the sickest new album. Professor Shyguy seems to have something new every show he comes to. And Yuu Miyake, the man behind the Katamari music among so many others, has a Soundcloud and has been uploading live dance sets for ages. Everyone is doing things, everyone is continuing to produce and grow bigger than they were before, and that’s the true glory behind all of this – the fact that no one just settles for what they’ve done and says “Y’know? This? This was good enough. I’m just gonna keep doing this thing.” Only by expanding beyond our limits can we truly create masterpieces, and everyone here seems to understand that. I can only hope that everyone who was here this year will come back next year with even greater works, and that those who hear these things are inspired to create great works of their own. Check the links at the bottom of the page for how to check out all the different performers there were!
There was an amazing amount of gamery to be had. MAGFest is always well known for having massive interactive game presentations – be it LARPs or events like the Pokemon League (which came back this year in a Aqua vs Magma showdown, which was rad). All the classic arcade games you know and love were there, as were the rhythm games – possibly more this year than ever before. But you and I both know that there’s one place in particular that stands out when you’re walking the game room, and that’s the Indie Showcase. Folks come from all over to show off what they’ve got in hopes that you’ll like it. It takes a lot of guts to bring an unfinished product to be harshly critiqued by the masses, and I give everyone major props for it. I couldn’t get to all of them, but I’d like to talk about a few that I did get my hands on.
Neon Krieger Yamato is basically everything I love – slick robot suits, high-quality pixel art, challenging gameplay, good combo-based combat, and a variety of characters to choose from. Just shut up and take my money already, Jesus. NKY is the work of Dong Lee, the one-man production studio known as Lionplex. I got to chat briefly with Mr. Lee about the game, mostly asking about what he wanted from it and where he felt it was going. Lee, showing impeccable taste in anime, said that he was a big fan of the works of Shirow Masamune, and of cyber dystopias in general, and hoped to channel that æsthetic combined with tight combo-based combat. He’s not going for something, say, Nintendo-hard for this, but it’s definitely meant to be very challenging. I thought I was doing pretty well until Lee showed me the practice menu where you can run through your moves, and was blown away at the almost fighting game level of combo precision that you can achieve. This game is already fantastic as it is, and the fact that this game is all the work of one man astounds me to no end. Keep an eye on this one folks, it’s gonna be a doozy. It’s up on Steam Greenlight too, so be sure to vote for it!
Treasure Adventure World has a solid core of puzzle-solving action platforming, with all the craziness of the ocean exploration from Wind Waker compressed into a 2D plane. It’s quirky, and while it recycles some of the most tried and true tropes – young boy with amnesia finds himself on an island, gains animal companion, must save world – it manages to set itself apart by having some rather unique approaches to the old standards. The video above is a year old now, and let me tell you, they’ve come leaps and bounds since then. The devs have said that they hope for the game to be out sometime in 2015, or early 2016. While it may not be finished, Treasure Adventure World definitely feels like it’s shaping up to be something worth grabbing. If you like it, why not preorder it from their site? It helps them fund the game, and you get access to some pretty neat stuff too.
You know what game I loved as a kid? Power Stone. You know what game only got one sequel and was then abandoned? Power Stone. You know what game needs spiritual successors? Power Stone. You know what Combat Core is a spiritual successor to? Well actually it’s Final Fantasy Tac- NO IT’S NOT IT’S FUCKING POWER STONE. This game is super-intuitive arena style wreck your opponent funtimes. At its current stage, there are only a few levels, a few pickups and a moderate amount of characters, but this game is definitely worth playing. If an incomplete like game like this let me wreck my friends and laugh at them, then I can only imagine the hilarity that will ensue from its final form. (Friends ARE supposed to mercilessly mock other friends for being terrible at games, right?) This game unfortunately didn’t meet its Kickstarter goal last year, but I’m confident that with enough work this thing’ll be shipshape in no time.
Now, we in America just had our yearly SPORTSBALL championship, but that’s not the kind of Sportsball we’re talking about here! Forget big burly men running around a field, why not have JOUSTING BIRD DEATH QUIDDITCH instead?! This game takes a few minutes to master, but it’s very easy to just pick up and go. It’s up to five players, on as many teams as you like, where you have to divekick your opponents to spawn balls that you must then knock into the central hoop. It’s great. Also, some chiptune guy who no one in the blog here would ever work with, especially not multiple times wrote the soundtrack, and it’s pretty okay I guess. You could go listen to it, or you could buy the game on the WiiU shop! Or BOOOOOOTH.
This was easily one of the best MAGFests I’ve ever been to. Not everything went perfectly, but that’s just how it goes! But good or bad, to me MAGFest has always been about seeing the people I care most about. I’m always happy to see my friends on stage, succeeding at being badasses, hanging out in the halls, or trying not to spend a billion dollars as we all go out to grab a bite to eat together. MAGFest is a gathering of nerds unlike most you can find anywhere else, and for that I am thankful. I continue to meet new people while maintaining friendships with my old pals in an environment where everyone already knows that everyone else there is a giant dork – and by having that pervasive camaraderie to strike up conversations with anyone allows for such a relaxed and happy experience. If you have yet to attend, all I can say is there’s no better time than next time. NEXT \m| MOTHERFUCKIN’ MAGFEST TIME |m/ THAT IS!
The Protomen | Powerglove | Bit Brigade | Urizen | Rare Candy | Triforce Quartet | Lonely Rollingstars | The Megas | Dethlehem | On Being Human | Super Guitar Bros | Machinae Supremecy | Double Ferrari | Do A Barrel Roll | Kirby’s Dream Band | Tiberian Sons | Viking Guitar (Live!) | Super Soul Bros | missingNO | Descendants of Erdrick | Cheap Dinosaurs | For Astronausts And Satellites | crashfaster | Marshall Art
Professor Shyguy | Random (AKA Mega Ran) | SAMMUS | virt | Solarbear | Roboctopus | an0va | Rekcahdam | Sam Mulligan | Russellian | James Landino | Auxcide | Kommisar | Boy Without Batteries | Shoujo Kiss | Yotsuba Lifestyle | Rainbowdragoneyes | Inverse Phase | ap0c | Animal Style | Chipocrite | Awesome Force | Glenntai | robotsexmusic | coda | Note!