MAGFest, in its most basic form, is an annual fan-run video game convention that takes place at the beginning of the year in the Washington, D.C., area.  It’s not a showcase-type of convention; rather, it’s one that is all about playing and enjoying video games and the like to their fullest potential (read: party).  Some of the key features of the convention are its 24-hour game room that holds tons of arcade cabinets and console setups, its diverse set of panels hosted by veteran and up-and-coming gaming professionals and organizations alike, and its multitude of concerts by video game cover bands and chiptune artists.  This year – its tenth – MAGFest runs from January 5th through the 8th at the Gaylord National in National Harbor, MD..

My friends will be there, ready to rock out accordingly.  You will know us by our shirts, which contains the blog’s new logo:

Art ©Natalie Parisi

If you’re going and see one or more of us wearing the shirt, stop us and say “hi”!  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be the one that you stop, but anyone wearing one should have a good indication of where I am if you’d like to speak to me directly.  If you do stop one of us, I think I might have a couple extra shirts to give away… (we’ll work out how to find you later and get one to you).

This will be my second MAGFest, but some of my friends have been a part of the convention since its inception.  The sense of community between the longtime attenders is infectious, and its energy sucks in everyone that attends.  Needless to say, I highly recommend attending and staying for the weekend if you can get to the area.

Not only will I be getting my fill of all of the gaming that I can dream of, I will be attempting to get an array of material to post for the blog.  After all, VGM is a huge thing there, from the concerts to the panels.  Last year, goers were graced by the presence of none other than the great Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana), and, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this year we will be standing before, and listening to, the man himself: Nobuo Uematsu.

Not only will Uematsu be speaking in a panel, he will be performing with his band, Earthbound Papas, which includes other VGM composers and former members of his last band, The Black Mages.  Here’s to hoping he also follows suit with Kikuta and decides to visit the Jam Space to play along with some of the musicians present.  I didn’t bring my horn and regretfully missed playing with Kikuta–this year I will be prepared.

During the panels I intend on taking notes and regurgitating my information here (though, posts likely will come after MAGFest has ended since I’ll be busy giving my thumbs a workout).  Aside from Uematsu, there will be VGM panels hosted by OC ReMix (“How I Can Make Video Game Remixes?!!?”), a collegiate VGM orchestra (“Orchestral Game Music & Society”), a slew of other game composers (“Indie Game Musicians Protips and Q&A”), and more.  That last panel mentioned will feature none other than Darren Korb, the composer of the OST for Bastion (see my review of it here).  In fact, I’m attempting to get a short five-to-ten minute interview with him, but even if I can’t he will certainly fall victim to a question or two of mine.

Wish me luck, and I hope to see you in D.C.!

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