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Playing Catch-up

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Aside from my review of Journey, for the past month and a half you all haven’t heard much out of me, and I apologize for that.  My full-time job is running the operations/logistics of a show in Norfolk, VA, called the Virginia International Tattoo, which is essentially an annual international military band and cultural act show that features around 850 performers in groups from various countries (this year we had eight: US, Canada, UK, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, Albania).  In short, the groups are here for ten days doing rehearsals, education outreach events, and performances, but it takes all year to nail down the details.  Work really starts to get busy in February, exponentially increases from then through their stay at the end of April, and remains busy through May and the beginning of June as we do wrap-up.  Here’s the first eleven minutes of this year’s show on YouTube–try it; thousands like it!

I’d like to relax a bit and plan things out and get going full speed ahead with the blog again, but I think I’ll have to build up before I hit my stride ala three posts a month.  Not only did I lose touch with the blog, I lost touch with the rest of the gaming world, not to mention my musical endeavours.  In fact, it was actually quite a miracle that I was able to focus on and get out the Journey review on time.

That being said, I’m playing catch-up.  I have one of those reading list aps on my browser, so I’ve been going through the links I’ve accrued… lots of the stuff is actually from January, heh.  Here’s what I’ve been checking out:

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MAGFest X Recap, Part III: The Dessert

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In case you missed them:
Part I: The Appetizer
Part II: The Meat

Nobuo Uematsu and the Earthbound Papas were set to perform at 10:30pm on Saturday.  After a long number of hours at panels and gaming, a bunch of us stood in line at Elevation Burger for a long time only to be told that they no longer had milkshakes.  That was the worst.  However, we quickly devoured what we got and headed to meet our friends at the show.

When we got there, The Year 200X, one of the many bands named after something Mega Man-related, was playing.  I think we arrived 45 minutes early, and that was time enough for us to get optimally positioned for the Earthbound Papas.  We were slightly left of center-stage, 5-10 people back, I’d guess.  After some moshing and a rendition of “Dancing Mad” that was highly praised the next morning by Uematsu and his band themselves, the stage crew immediately started getting ready for the headliner amidst a sea of Colossus roars.

As you can see in the picture, the crowd for the Earthbound Papas was, as you’d expect, enormous.  That wasn’t even the whole crowd, either—I took that well before they came out, if I remember correctly.  Of course, everyone was going wild the whole time, and the crowd got especially pumped when Uematsu came out during soundcheck for a couple of minutes.
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[Score.] heads to MAGFest X!

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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.
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