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MAGFest XI Recap: Saturday & Sunday

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MAGFest Badges

After a grueling night of playing challenges (check out the spoils above), I returned to my quarters only to wake up the next morning at 7am to go down and play some more.  In fact, Brandon was able to make his way down to play, as well, and he had stayed up even later than I did the night before—it was great to have a buddy to share the pain with so early in the morning.

Call us crazy, but those laptops are almost always occupied, and it has long been proven that going to the game room in the wee hours of the morning is the best thing to do if you’re looking to play a specific, popular attraction.  My first year, Jen and I woke up at 5am to go down and we were able to play whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.  That’s a Pro Tip for you there for next year, dear readers.

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At nine o’clock I went back to the room to wake up Jen and eat some breakfast, and together we wandered down to Kinuyo Yamashita’s panel.  Unfortunately for you all, my notes are sparse—she really didn’t say much outside of what I already knew from my biographical post about her.  However, one notable question asked was whether or not Yamashita ripped off a Guns and Roses song called “My Michelle” with her Mega Man X3 track “Neon Tiger.”  After some sleuthing, the Guns and Roses number was recorded in 1987, while X3 was released in 1995 (start at :20 for “Neon Tiger” and :26 for “My Michelle”).


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MAGFest XI Recap: Thursday & Friday

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Disclaimer: I apologize for much of the photography—I apparently have the least steady hand in the universe.

If you couldn’t tell by “MAGFest” being in the title of two of my last four blog posts, yes, it was that time of year again.

Having done a two-day, two-night stint for the past two years, Jen and I decided to extend our trip and come up on Thursday night.  We thought (I thought) we were being baller, but come to find out, the real ballers head up on Wednesday and get the place warmed up while the rest of us toil away at work.  Drat!

After getting, mmmm, “misdirected” on the drive to National Harbor from the other side of the water (National Harbor got sucked into a black hole, according to both Jen’s and our friend’s GPS), Jen and I made it to the Gaylord National and were greeted with a smooth check-in.  The place was alive already, but not nearly as much so as it would be over the next few days.

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After getting situated, we went to go get our badges and ran into a prime example why the MAGFest community is so cool.  While in line, this guy in front of us pulled out a binder of cards.  He was a brony, and he started talking about his collection of My Little Pony trading cards – of which he had a complete base set and a slew of special cards – to the guys next to him.  Jen loves MLP and got excited, so we checked them out as he flipped through he pages.  The guy asked if Jen was missing any of the cards, and we joked that she needed them all.  Well, he didn’t give Jen a set, but he flipped to the back of his binder and let her pick out a couple.  What a guy!  So Jen scored Pinky Pie and Gummy trading cards just by geeking out with another MAGFester.  That’s the name of the game!

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Know Your MAGFest Moguls: Yuzo Koshiro

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Crowned “arguably the greatest game-music composer of the 16-bit age” as recently as 2006 by the now-tragically deceased publication Nintendo Power, Yuzo Koshiro was born in the city of Hino in Tokyo, Japan, on December 12, 19671.  At the age of three, Koshiro’s mother started teaching him piano, and he went on to study with Mamoru Fujisawa – better known as Joe Hisaishi, composer for many Hayao Miyazaki films, including My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away – for three years when he was eight.  A multi-instrumentalist, Koshiro picked up the violin when he was five and later learned to play cello and guitar as well2, 3.

As a schoolboy, Koshiro would cut his classes and head to the arcades, where he would spend his time feeding Namco, Konami, and Sega machines2.  Although he really wanted to be a game programmer, he had a knack for creating music, and so he made mockups of the music that he heard in the games he played on a PC-8801 soundboard3.  Having been influenced by the sounds of Gradius, Space Harrier, and Tower of Druaga, one of his goals was to bring the high quality of arcade game music to the PC since, to that point, there wasn’t much in the way of great, inspirational PC game music4.  It was by sticking with that vision and producing high quality music on that soundboard that he caught the attention of those that worked at the game company Nihon Falcom.

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During summer vacation, at the age of eighteen, Koshiro spotted a job listing for an opening within Falcom in a PC magazine2.  Since the company was close by, he applied and scored the job.  In fact, Falcom loved the music demos that he sent so much that they even used some of those demo tunes in his first game project, Xanadu Scenario II (1985).  The rest of the soundtrack was pieced together similarly—instead of writing music off a visual, Koshiro wrote music that he liked and then applied that music to parts of the game that seemed a fit, giving the music an “unexpected quality” which, to him, “created the game’s unique worldview”3.  On composing this music, he states in an interview with Square Enix Music Online:

“… I was a mere beginner, so I composed blindly, as if in a trance. I didn’t have a special approach; I just wanted to create PC game music with the kind of drive that I liked in arcade game music, and that was my main motivation.”

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