I’ve been to a fair number of conventions in my time. I used to think it couldn’t get any better than E3. You know, seeing new and upcoming games, hanging with industry big-wigs. That’s all good stuff.
But today, I experienced my first MAGFest. Music And Games has been going on in Alexandria, VA (just outside Washington DC) once a year for eight years now. It’s remarkably close to my hometown. How am I only finding out about it now?
During the day, I took in all the sights. LAN parties, a huge gaming room where people bring their own consoles and equipment to share all kinds of good stuff from the last 3 decades. Classic arcade cabinets lined the hallways of the Hilton Hotel. And merch, merch, merch! All sorts of cool stuff for sale. Hats and prints and some hand-made “Pixel Art” using legos (thank you MC Death Bear!). Good stuff.
One of the best panels I went to today was “The Being, The Business, and the Evolving of an Indie Game Composer,” led by composer Josh Whelchel. Josh talked about interacting with a game’s designer or producer, and how to sell yourself without “selling out.” A lot of people that attend MAGFest have their own fan projects, and Josh (who has begun to break into the industry himself) gave some great tips for everyone at the panel.
This isn’t a big convention with game developers and the like. This is by the fans, and for the fans. All of the people here, male or female, young or old, have an undying love for games and game music. I witnessed that love, firsthand, later in the evening, when the second round of concerts started. Sadly, I missed the New Year’s Eve show, and I won’t be staying for the rest of the convention. But if there was one night to make, I think this is the one I wanted, and needed, most. Find out why after the jump. (more…)