As a collective group, this [Mag Fest] is the first dedicated video game convention that we, as a collective, have decided to attend. Alora and Doughnut being exceptions of The Ninja Legion crew. Now, I know some of you will call me out by stating that we have been to both Bit Gen Gamerfest & King of Gamers respectively. Well, first off, King of Gamers is just video game tournaments that are held over the course of two days and Bit Gen has video games setup, but it is mostly a music festival for only a single evening. There is nothing wrong with them, but I don’t personally consider anything under three days a convention. Magfest is a four day convention based on video games and the sub-culture that surrounds it. One of the most alluring aspects of Magfest are it’s concerts. All of the bands they feature are related to the subculture of video games. Magfest at least puts on three concerts each day of the convention for the exception of Sunday, due to the fact that everyone is trying to leave.
The Magfest experience itself was unique in comparison to all the anime conventions I have attend over the years. During my time at Magfest I found that the social aspect of this convention is almost non-existing. There were small groups of people but you didn’t see people randomly approach others. Not at all like you would at an anime convention. I guess this goes with the stereotype of gamers being unsociable. Even when there was a group taking turns on a console or cabinet, you had the typical good game or so, but no conversations while waiting, just an awkward silence. Another thing to relate to the stereotype of gamers was the convention funk. I have never, in my wildest dreams, thought that convention funk could be beaten by a Saturday Night Rave from an anime convention! On day one, in the evening, I and others of The Ninja Legion, experienced, at various places and times, the worst convention funk ever. It literally beats out anything I have ever been hit with at other conventions. In regards to panel programming, we here at The Ninja Legion, have a diverse group of fandom and not a single one of us was impressed with the programming at this convention. I would have to say that that was a big disappointment and made Magfest, at times, feel like a huge basement with games and band practices.
But, enough with the negative. Some of the things that I think went rather well during our coverage was, of course, the video game section. You could not possible have called it a room due to the sheer epicness that was barely contained within it. The section was divided into two parts. One of console/Kinect games and the other section of cabinets of all shapes, sizes, both domestic and Japanese. It was a sight that would bring even a tear to the eye of the most casual of gamers. The variety was impressive as well! There was something for every style of gamer and the common courtesy that everyone showed there allowed for others to get a chance at anything they wished to try. The Dealers Room was also impressive, just not in size. It was small in comparison to other conventions but the layout flowed very nicely. The thing that stood out the most, and I wish other conventions took the time to prescreen vendors, was the quality of merchandise that was present. What they had was beyond anything I was expecting. I am talking the rarest of the rare . I know Ninja Legion members Pincer, Krackpype, and I were in retro gaming bliss. I have to mention the flexibility of the dealers room. If dealers wanted, they could stay open twenty-four hours a day throughout the duration of Magfest and some dealers did just that. Hat’s off to those dealers. Being able to get a drink and a snack at four am, without leaving the Gaylord Hotel was fantastic.
Sunday’s highlight was the charity auction held to benefit Child’s Play. If you are unfamiliar with Child’s Play, I encourage you to read up on them here. Even though most of us were very tired and ready to go home we were able to stay for an hour or so at the auction. Everything sold at the auction went to Child’s Play and they had everything from World of Warcraft trading cards to the signed set list from the Earthbound Papas concert Saturday night of Magfest. All in all, a good time for a great cause.
I know what you’re going to ask me. Would I recommend going to Magfest next year? Let me put it to you this way. Everyone from The Ninja Legion had a great time and I think it was one of the most successful conventions we have ever done press work for. That being said I must take a moment to give credit where it is due. P-Chan had to stay behind on this assignment and without him working in the background for us during the convention, I’m sure we would not have been as successful as we were. Also, huge shout out goes to our Photo Ninja, Cross. His pictures are phenomenal and I can’t forget Alora and Doughnut for all the leg work they put in. Make sure you check out all of our coverage of Magfest 2012 here. If you still haven’t figured out the answer to the question, then yes, we will definitely go back next year. Do I think its worth four days? Personally, I do not think so, but like most of you know me. I am not a fan of four day conventions, it really boils down to whether or not you can afford to do so. If you been contemplating on going to gaming convention, Magfest is the event to go to.