Hello everybody, and welcome to my in-depth review on MAGFest 2016. Although, I suppose this is not really so much of a review in the comparative and analytic sense, but more of a retelling of the entire journey and experience that I had from February 16th, 2016 through February 23rd, 2016, most of which was taking place in National Harbor (Maryland) for the annual Music and Games Festival; a convention that I loved going to last year and continued to love this year, but even on a more grand scale. My friends and I consider MAGFest to be, not just a convention, but a place we can all get together every year and just have a really good time celebrating our passions and spending time with each other. This year was no different and I’m convinced that this may be the best convention I’ve ever gone to, and last year had set the bar pretty high considering. Not to say anything bad about any of the other conventions I’ve gone to, as they did have their moments and factors that had made them a unique and unforgettable experience, but this was a year where I feel like everything came together in a very beautiful and meaningful way; as I’m sure many of my fellow con-goers this past week can agree and attest to.
So for this post, I’m going to go over some of the different aspects of this trip and I will be doing so in a somewhat linear fashion. There is a bit of backstory to this trip as well, but the backstory is important for things that will be vital for the plot later on. Did I really just classify my journey to MAGFest as some kind of anime plot? I think so, but let’s not be super fixated on that and let’s get started.
MAGFest Prequel: A Game-Chasing Backstory
Ok, so before MAGFest even happened, a few weeks prior I recently started watching a show on Youtube called “The Game Chasers.” It’s a show where two gamers (Billy and Jay) go to flea markets and retro video game stores to find old video games for their huge video game collections. The shows and episodes themselves are really silly and in most cases they don’t take themselves to be super serious about it either (at least in the format of their episodes and humor; I’m sure they take it seriously because they do a lot of game chasing and have been very successful for claiming many rare and retro games, but many of the jokes and running gags they make are pretty dumb (but in a humorous way)). My friends Odin, Snack and Tarran had been fans of The Game Chasers for a while and after hearing so many jokes and references from the show, I decided it was time for me to start watching as well. I made it through the entire series a few weeks before MAGFest and started having plans of my own to start looking for retro games (or just games in general) that I had wanted to play and add to my collection. And since MAGFest has a lot of retro video game vendors, I figured it was a good place to start.
That is, until I found, a few days before MAGFest, a retro video game store called “Game X-Change.” I had heard of this chain on The Game Chasers and I found it in a location that I had never new existed before. I’m sure there were stores like this around Indiana, but never so close to where my old dentist’s office used to be. Curious, I decided to take a trip inside and see what retro games I could find. Now, I had been saving money for MAGFest for a while at that point and I had made plans to not buy any more games until MAGFest, but I figured that since it was so close to MAGFest, and since some of the games would have been a bit overpriced at the convention anyway, that this was a good enough justification to spend some of my MAG money. For 50 bucks, I got a pretty good haul of games. I managed to pick up Star Fox on the SNES; a game I had always wanted to own in the hopes of finally starting a Let’s Play on the game and series in general. Perfect Dark for the N64; a game heavily recommended by good friend Odinspack33 and because I do love Goldeneye 007 as well (another Rare FPS on the N64). Jak and Daxter: The Precursor’s Legacy for the PS2; the start of a series I had always wanted to jump into (I used to have Jak 2 back in the day, but lost my copy). Sonic Colors; a game I had recently watched SnackAttack8 play on Stream and gotten interested in. And finally, Dynasty Warriors 8 for Xbox360; the most recent installment of the Dynasty Warriors series that I had not owned yet (and as a result, I have all of the main Dynasty Warriors games (except “1,” but “1” was a much different game and wasn’t even a hack-n-slash game). It was a very good haul, especially for 50 bucks, considering that some of these games are very classic titles and back in the day, one of these games by themselves would have been 50 bucks, if not more. I think I will definitely be going back to this store to check out some other games in the future.
On this day, I also went to GameStop as well, but I was a little less interested in getting games and a little more interested in A) getting some Animal Crossing Amiibo cards and B) checking in on my Fire Emblem: Fates preorder (since I would have been gone when the game hit street-date). However, I did find two games that I ended up getting and those games were Sonic Unleashed for the Xbox360 (to increase my Modern Sonic collection) and LA Noire for Xbox360, a game that I got interested in after watching a playthrough on Super Gaming Bros; one of my favorite Youtube channels. I got a pretty good price on both of these (LA Noire was like…only 5 dollars for some reason), and the packs of Animal Crossing Amiibo cards I got had exactly what I was looking for. I should mention; I don’t collect Animal Crossing Amiibo cards, I was mainly looking for a particular card to give to a friend of mine, as I will mention later on. If there are any cards I do want to get for myself, they are usually just my favorite villagers and animals I like.
But yeah, my pre-MAGFest game chasing went very well, and I was really happy that I didn’t have to spend a whole lot of money either. I still had enough for MAGFest and I knew I would be able to at least find something out there. And who knows…maybe there would be something on the way during my road trip to MAG!
The Road To MAGFest
First off, let me just say that I have nothing against flying as a mode of transportation. It’s fast, and although the thoughts of something going wrong are scary, everyone involved is very well-trained and experienced, so the chances of that happening are generally very low. I’d say the one advantage to not flying though is that it is overall a lot cheaper and if you take the necessary precautions and play your card rights, you can make a road trip work out very well and not run into any issues like traffic or getting lost. Saving money is definitely what I wanted to do though, and when some of my friends discussed the possibility of taking a road trip, I was definitely on board. Indiana to Maryland can honestly be a pretty straight shot considering. And since 2 of my friends were coming from the West, and we did have to make a stop in Ohio as well, things were set up pretty well in our favor. The trip initially started with PraisedScooter driving to the southern bit of Illinois (from Wisconsin) to pick up KingKienzan (Tarran). Then he drove to Indiana to pick me up, and then we went to where PokemonCheese and her husband Andrew lived in Ohio to stay the night and start the final 8 hour trip the next morning. I had a lot of fun meeting all these new people for the first time and it was really nice to see all of their qualities that I had noticed online show up in person as well. Scooter was as nice, gentle and helpful as ever before. Tarran made just as many jokes and “dank memes” as I was used to online, Cheese was as quirky and lovable and made me laugh just as much as she did in Skype calls….it was great to have such a sense of familiarity even though I was technically in an unfamiliar place with people I had not spent face-to-face time with for even 4 hours by that point.
Tarran and I spent the night at the Cheese Palace while Scooter went to a hotel since he has a cat allergy and the Cheeses have two cats. After a night of rest and a nice breakfast, it was time to hit the road and get this 8-hour drive over with. Our vehicle was a Dodge Journey, not the biggest or most ideal car for an 8-hour trip with five people, but we made it work. The most annoying part of the trip was that we just didn’t have a lot of space to work with. The back of the vehicle was packed (almost to the point where you couldn’t even see out the back windows), and everyone (sans the driver) had a lot less room just because they had to give up part of their space to make sure everything would fit. The distance itself really wasn’t too bad. We were in Ohio for a pretty long part of the trip (although to me that part went the fastest because I played through the entirety of Donkey Kong ’94 in that sitting). It seemed like we were making very good time and that we would have been at our hotel early enough, but when we got to Maryland, we got stuck in a pretty huge traffic jam for about an hour. That was probably the worst part of the road trip TO MAGFest because at that point, we really just wanted to get there so we could see all of our friends, get showers and get some food as well. However, with some determination, we were able to get there before 8 PM; and there is nothing wrong with that.
Wednesday night was pretty much reserved for just meeting everybody, waiting for the last few people to arrive, and having a nice, chilled and relaxed time together. We immediately went over to SnackAttack8’s room after putting our stuff away. That was the room Tarran was staying in and that was pretty much where everyone was anyway. The moment that door opened and we saw everybody inside, we knew that the trip had finally started at that point. Looking inside, I saw some very familiar faces in the form of SnackAttack8, Odinspack33 and WolfSheikah, individuals who I had spent last year’s MAGFest with. I also saw a lot of new faces as well…..PixlPlume, Rinslet91, LuigiusXMaximus, Farfinugen33, it was so freaking cool to see everybody; whether it was for the first time or the second or third time……….I loved it. There were still some people that needed to arrive, namely Thomal9 and illuWeaver, but at that moment, we were freaking hungry so we went out to dinner at a place not far from the hotel called the “Public House.” The food there was……ok. I didn’t have the best meal personally…my burger was a bit too well-done and was kind of tasteless, but the French fries were really good. It was also kind of humorous because Wolf_Sheikah ordered a burger for himself and asked the waitress for it to be “well-done” in the same voice as the Donkey Kong 64 announcer whenever you win a bonus game.
After dinner, we went over to the Residence Inn to see LuckySevenDX, GaiaCrusher9 and CeilingLizard; some people who knew who weren’t staying at the Gaylord, but across the street instead. However, there was one problem. Actually…there were two problems. For one, having eleven people crowding into an elevator is never a good idea, because the elevator ended up breaking and not moving at all from the first floor. Many of these guys had a very similar experience back in MAGFest of 2014, but thankfully, unlike THAT experience, we were still on the first floor and just had to get the door open and we were only waiting for like 7 minutes. When we got up to where Lucky’s room was…..something was off. He wasn’t answering the door. After waiting a minute, we decided to call him and see if we got the number wrong. Well, it turns out we didn’t get the number wrong, but we got the wrong hotel. They were staying at the OTHER hotel across the street called the “Hampton Inn” not the Residence. So we literally went into the wrong hotel, broke the elevator and immediately left. I wouldn’t be surprised if anybody thought we were a gang trying to damage rival turf. So anyway, we went over to the Hampton, said hello to everybody, and then went back to our hotel for the rest of the night. Thomal9 also showed up during this point as well.
I took this time to give out gifts to my friends who I had bought stuff for. I had gifts for Tarran and Cheese, but I gave them back at Cheese’s house before we left. I gave Tarran a Diddy Kong figurine and I gave Cheese (and Andrew) a figurine of the Tenth Doctor from Dr. Who. I brought PixlPlume a coffee mug featuring the likeness of Isabelle from Animal Crossing, including an Animal Crossing Amiibo card of Zell, one of Pixl’s favorite villagers (and the card I was looking for to give him in the Magfest backstory I mentioned earlier). I brought Snack a Seinfeld poster because he and I had often discussed Seinfeld together. I brought Odin a Lloyd Irving mousepad because Tales of Symphonia is a game we often talk about a lot and I thought it looked really cool. Plus, with him starting a Tales of Symphonia playthrough soon, I thought it was very appropriate. I had one more gift to give out, but illuWeaver had still not arrived yet, so I figured I would give it to her later that night or the next morning. I would have liked to bring gifts for everybody, but the only problem is that I didn’t really have a lot of money and these were things I KNEW I had to get because when I saw them, I knew they were perfect for the people I was getting them for. Plus I wanted to spend a little more time with the others and figure out a good gift to give them myself, and potentially find something at Mag as well.
We spent some more time in Snack’s room and before too long, we finally got the text from illuWeaver saying that she had made it to the hotel. I went downstairs with a couple of people to meet her and take her up to our room (she was staying in my room with Cheese, Andrew and Rinslet). It was so awesome getting to see my “Sensei” again. The joke there is that when Odin was hosting “HeroQuest” on his Twitch channel, she was the one who helped me get a character set-up and in my character’s backstory, I wrote in that she was my sensei and that I trained under her command. As the hour went on, people started retiring for the night and went back to their rooms to get ready for the first day of the actual convention. Since we were beat and needed to get refreshed, we quite literally crashed and fell asleep immediately after we got in the room.
First Day, Thursday
After waking up to a really loud siren phone alarm (thanks for that Cheeses =P), it was time to get ready for the first day of the convention. I took this time to finally give Sarah (Illuweaver) my gift to her, which was a Gatomon plush doll. I got her this because in my Digimon World 2 playthrough on Twitch, she was the Gatomon I captured that she requested. And since she got me a Waddle Dee plush for Christmas (and my HeroQuest character was Sir Waddle Don’t), I decided it was the perfect Christmas gift for her as well, albeit a bit late! =P We got ready, headed down to CVS to get some things for our room, came back, and then went downstairs to get our convention badges and start waiting outside for the convention doors to finally open.
During this time I was able to spot “Somecallmejohnny” from Youtube. Now, I feel like I mention this all the time, but Somecallmejohnny is my favorite Youtube personality. I love his insight, find his humor to be really funny, and I enjoy all of his different collab channels as well. Meeting him was like, at the top of my list of things I really wanted to do, and to get that opportunity almost immediately was….not to sound incredibly cheesy, but a dream come true for me. I only got to talk to him for like 5 minutes, but it was really cool and that moment easily made it as one of my Magfest highlights. I look forward to seeing him and talking to him at future conventions, because honestly, the guy seriously rocks. And I’m making it my #1 goal in life to get him a copy of The Simpsons: Hit and Run! Classic Simpson fans deserve to own that gem of a game.
So after a bit of waiting, the convention doors finally open and we can go inside. One of the things I look for almost immediately are the game vendors to expand my game collection. While I’m looking through the N64 box at this one vendor, I spy a copy of Rugrats in Paris for only $5. Now, while I wouldn’t say the game is incredibly awesome, it was a game I had a lot of fun playing with my best friend from high school and it does have some entertaining minigames that are good for a laugh. Plus, 5 bucks is really, really cheap. PixlPlume also helps me spot a copy of Crash Team Racing for the PS1, a game I had expressed interest in finding. It was about 17 bucks, but I think that’s a very fair price considering. The game didn’t have a manual or cover or anything, so I asked the vendor if he could go down to 20 bucks for the 2 games together, which he accepted. I took that tactic from Shady Jay of The Game Chasers!
SPEAKING OF THE GAME CHASERS! Not far away from that vendor were the two men in the flesh; Billy and Jay of The Game Chasers. Odin, Snack and I had a small chat with them, telling them how much we love their videos and their jokes; Snack even doing an impression of one of their jokes that they loved. Snack also mentioned that I had recently started watching their videos and they asked what I thought of them, and I told them that I really enjoyed their work and how they inspired me to go out game chasing on my own time for games I’ve always wanted to own, but never was motivated enough to try and get. It was really cool getting to meet some other Youtubers, especially Youtubers that I had very recently discovered. During this time, I also ran into PowerToMario who was also attending this Magfest as well. Of all the people I know online, PowerToMario is probably the person who I have known the longest and have seen the most times in person. I was really happy to see to see the guy and glad that he could see what Magfest was all about for the first time.
We checked out a few other vendors and I also ended up picking up a copy of Final Fantasy X for the PS2. I haven’t had a lot of experience with Final Fantasy games, but FFX was a game I had heard many good things about and I figured it was a good title to add to my collection. I also found a copy of Digimon World 1, perhaps my most wanted game right now, but it was very, very overpriced. Apparently the game is extremely rare and expensive, as I’ve figured out from this trip. From here, Sarah and I went back to our room to grab something to eat and then we went over to Snack’s room, where they were playing Pokemon Stadium 2 minigames. We stayed there for a while, shot the breeze, discussed what things we were looking forward to during this Magfest, and just in general having a good time. Then, when it got to be around dinner time, we had debated going out for Sushi, but because the timing wasn’t exactly right and there were a lot of things coming up that evening, we decided to save it for lunch the following day. Sarah, Pixl, Farf, Odin and I went over to Snack’s room (which was also Pixl’s room) and decided to hang out some more while everyone else went to the Metroid Metal concert. Pixl wanted to try out some Diddy Kong Racing and I decided to play with him and do some co-op Joint Adventure (until the next thing we wanted to do came up). I also had a hilarious experience of trying to open up a bottle of “hard” Root Beer (basically Root Beer with a bit of alcohol in it). It took me about 25 minutes to take off the bottle cap, using a variety of different methods, lacking the easy method of just using a bottle opener. The drink was all right, and I feel like I did get a slight buzz from it, but the process of getting the cap off definitely was a pain and an annoyance for me.
After that small hangout, we went back downstairs to get in line for Laser Tag, something new that was being put on for Magfest this year. We were promised a 7 vs. 7 team game, but when we got there, we discovered that it was a 10 person free-for all instead. This was kind of a shame, just because we were really looking forward to having a big group game, but with the way things were set up, it was only going to be a 10 person game while the remaining 3 or 4 people were in another game all together. Regardless though, it was fun and we did have a good time for what it was. At that point, we decided to turn in for the night and get ready for the next day’s activities!
“Name that Friday!”
Friday actually started as a pretty rough day for me. I didn’t get a huge amount of sleep the night before, my stomach was hurting overnight, and I woke up with a huge headache. Because of this, I got up early and went downstairs to get some air in the Atrium area. PixlPlume knew I was down there as well, so he came down and spent some time with me as my head started feeling better. Afterwards, I went back upstairs to get some breakfast from the room and get ready for the day.
So yeah, if you didn’t notice from yesterday, I didn’t really go to any panels aside from the laser tag thing (if you could even call that a “panel”). This is because there was really nothing of major note and there wasn’t going to be anything until Friday night when the yearly “Name that Tune” competition would be going on. So safe to say, there were already some things on my schedule/agenda for this day, although they wouldn’t be happening until much later on. The first thing that happened though was that Sarah, Wolf, Farf and I went to the arcade room to check out all the arcade machines they had. We stopped at a Gauntlet machine and played for about an hour. After that point though, it was getting to be lunch time and we wanted to try and get sushi again. We got a pretty large group together (16 people) and started heading toward the restaurant. It was nice getting to walk around National Harbor for a bit, but unfortunately, we were going to run into some issues once we got to the restaurant.
Now, sushi is already a pretty big luxurious food item (not to mention expensive), and like I said, we were going, in the middle of the day, without calling beforehand, with a pretty big group of people. It was already revealed once we got there that Sushi was NOT something they could serve for lunch, and they couldn’t sit sixteen people at one table, so they tried to split us up. We didn’t really like this idea though because we wanted to go together, so we bailed on the place and went to go get some sandwiches at a nearby deli/coffee place. I ended up getting a Steak and Cheese sandwich which was actually really, really tasty and I washed it down with a Strawberry Banana smoothie (also very good). Overall it was a good lunch, although we once again kind of crowded the place a bit too much, so not everybody got a place to sit, and I feel the huge volume of people kind of messed with the orders a bit. For future reference (for all people in my group reading this), let’s try not to go with so many people at once, and if we do, let’s give plenty of notice beforehand like we did with Cadillac Ranch on the last day. I don’t think we’ve quite grasped the idea that when the entire group gets together, we are a force to be reckoned with…..and maybe not necessarily in the best way.
After lunch, we found out that Odin was at a Video Game Improv panel which sounded interesting to Sarah and I, so we decided to go to that when we got back to the hotel. For the first half, we couldn’t find Odin, but thankfully for the second half, when they took a break, we were able to locate him and CaptainDonkeys, a friend of darkmindedsith who we met last year, and spent the rest of the panel with them. It was a really funny panel and some of the improvs were very, very well done. After the panel, we decided to go down to the Console Freeplay room to goof around for a bit until Name That Tune was going to happen later. We played Pokemon Stadium Kids Club minigames and did a 2 vs. 2 team battle that Sarah and I won and beat Odin and Cheese (who had joined us as well). We went back up to grab a small bit to eat and then the entire group proceeded to go down for Name That Tune.
Name that Tune is a competition where you sign-up, and if you are picked, you have to compete against other players to determine which video game a particular music track comes from. This competition is very iconic for us Puddle Splashers. Odin had been picked to play for the past 2 years and Wolf Sheikah and I were selected last year to participate. Odin had also hosted a variety of Name That Tune competitions on his stream channel before Magfest happened, so he was very ready to get picked to play again. However, this time it seemed a bit harder to get picked to play, just because there were more people and it seemed like some individuals had special rights to play because they had played before in other years (or at least Papers Please, the two-time champ in a row going for his 3rd title). Thankfully though, one of us was selected to play and that was SnackAttack8 who wrote his name in as “Captain Krunk.” I wrote my name in as “Valter the Moonstone,” Tarran as “Kuja” and Odin as “Eubans,” but Snack was the only one who got to play of us PuddleSplashers. Overall, he did pretty well and got a few songs, but was unable to make it to the next round. The entire competition was pretty epic though as Papers Please managed to defend his title yet again and win for a 3rd time in a row and promptly “retired,” or so he claimed.
After Name That Tune, we went down to the console area again because Odin had signed up to be in a “Mystery Game” tournament. A tournament where every match, a game is selected at random and you have to win in order to move on. A majority of these games were fighting games, but there were some unique titles as well. Uniracers was also set-up really close to the tournament, so in between rounds, Odin and I raced; reliving our glorious moments from the Uniracers Co-Op videos. Odin won the first round of the tournament he was in, but proceeded to lose the 2nd round. However, the night wasn’t over yet as there was one more thing that Wolf, Sarah and I wanted to do, and we were also joined by Odin, Cheese and Andrew as well.
So last year, we went to a panel titled “Action Castle,” which was a panel that was based on the really old-school PC text adventure games like King’s Quest, Quest for Glory and many others. Everyone stood in line and they would step up to the mic and give one command. After giving a command, the parser (aka: the person commentating) would run the action through a simulator he had created and the goal was to try and get through the game. Action Castle was not the panel this time, but a new scenario called “Gamer Quest.” Overall, there were some things I liked better about Action Castle over Gamer Quest, and there were things I liked better about Gamer Quest. I thought the use of video game references and video game knowledge was exceptionally done and the puzzles were kind of clever about it as well. However, the entire event was….not really ran as optimally as it could have been. Some of the audience members were really rude and spoke up extremely loudly when it wasn’t their turn or when they didn’t have their hand up and it kind of made things a little annoying. However, it was still a fun experience and I look forward to seeing it again (or something similar) next year as well.
That was about it for Friday’s events though. Sarah, Wolf and I had yet another goal we needed to meet the following morning, and that was Cartoon Intro Sing-a-longs, but I’ll get to that in just a minute!
Saturday Morning Cartoons and Saturday Evening Gameshows
Sarah and I made sure we woke up early as we WERE NOT going to miss our first panel. Last year, along with Action Castle; Sarah, Wolf and I went to “Cartoon Intro Sing-a-longs,” a panel ran by MarzGurl of Channel Awesome (and a few other individuals of Channel Awesome as well). We had an amazing time geeking it out with other geeky gamers as we would watch glorious cartoon intros while playing BINGO with a board where we would predict what shows they were going to feature. Us three were all there yet again, but we were also joined by Odin and Farf as well. Sarah even brought her new Gatomon plush that I bought her and waved it high in the air proudly when the Digimon intro played. It was a great time had by all. Unfortunately though, for the second year in a row, I was unable to win anything, getting close to a bingo, but not quite there.
After the panel, we immediately had another panel to get to, but this one was a Q&A with my most favorite video game composer, Grant Kirkhope; composer of music from Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, Goldeneye 007 and many other Rareware games that I love dearly. Unfortunately the Q&A wasn’t really that awesome because we were really far back and it was kind of hard to hear him, but it was cool nonetheless to hear his responses to some questions. Afterwards, Grant stayed a little after to sign autographs and chat for a bit, so Snack, Tarran & I got in line to get our Donkey Kong 64 cartridges autographed and get some pictures. In line, I also ran into Elliot from the Super Gaming Bros, and as I said earlier, SuperGamingBros is one of my favorite co-op channels. So it was cool to talk to him as well. Now if only I could run into Matt sometime in the future! Afterwards, everyone kind of split up to do their own thing and the next major thing of note was that Odin was going to be in a Goldeneye tournament (with Wolf and PTM as well). After getting some food and chilling out for a bit, I went down to see how my friends would fare. Odin did really well, but ended up facing a lot of tough competition, and as a result, was knocked out kind of early. We also finalized our plans for that night, which ended up with us going to three back-to-back-to-back game shows.
Before that happened though, I actually ended up losing everybody for a bit. It started with a wild goose chase of trying to find LittleFu68, another friend of mine who I hadn’t seen yet, but it seemed like whenever I checked a location out, and then went back to my room, she ended up being in that location later and I didn’t feel like walking down again. I was also trying to meet Baltes (a TSG (TheSpeedGamers) member), who was hanging out with Cheese, Andrew, Jared, Rinslet and Tarran, but before I could find them, they went out to dinner, so I was tired of running back and forth and getting nowhere. I ended up hanging with Pixl for a bit and we ended up watching some Youtube (later joined in by Sarah and Snack). We decided to hang around for a bit until Thrown Controllers, the gameshow hosted by TheRunAwayGuys that they do at…pretty much every convention they go to. Before that happened though, the TSG crew had returned so I was able to go down and say Hi to Baltes as well. I also knew that I would more than likely run into Fu later, so my two failed objectives from earlier wouldn’t be complete failures.
The line for Thrown Controllers….as usual….was pretty freaking long. I’m surprised we were as far up as we were in the line because at one point, the line went all the way down the hallway and back again. However, it’s not really about where you sit, as the Thrown Controller panels end up being pretty funny and hilarious and you always end up having a good time with all the silliness that happens. Unfortunately, I was unable to go up to the front and challenge Chuggaa to a video game (although my chances are pretty low considering I’m a pretty recognizable figure and I’m sure they don’t want to give special treatment to anybody), but Cheese was selected from our group and got to go up and try her luck at some trivia. Unfortunately it was Undertale and I don’t think Cheese had played Undertale, so her response of “Butt Mountain” didn’t get her very far. It was still pretty cool to see a friend go up and represent Puddle Plains proudly!
I would have liked to have been able to stay afterwards and say hi to all the TRG people and meet some fans of my own, but unfortunately I had a bit of a time limit because the next gameshow panel was about to start and it was something I would be able to actually participate in. We just barely got a team together in the form of me, Snack, Odin, Sarah, Jared, Rinslet and two others who had gotten drafted to our team. Our team name was “The Tonka Truck Bois” (in reference to a gag that had happened with Snack and Jared before Magfest started). We were a very confident team and for the most part, we had managed to stay in 2nd or 3rd place for most of the game. However, there is always one group that seems to know everything, and because of that, we came just short of getting first place. Odin and I also signed up for an individuals section of the gameshow, but neither of us were selected. There were also raffles being done during the game and I was fortunate enough to get the last prize which was….whatever was left in the bag after the initial raffles. There was a lot of stuff, and while most of it was pretty throwaway like…pencils and button pins, there were a few other prizes of note like a Shredder mask (from TMNT), some trading cards and….even a custom ice-cube tray. So there was nothing incredibly interesting, but still, it was fun winning something.
The final gameshow of the night was Nintendo Double Dare, a Nintnedo trivia and game challenge contest based on Nickelodeon’s gameshow Double Dare. This was the game I was most interested in because I do love Nintendo and I was definitely a Nickelodeon kid. Sarah and I were really hoping that we would get selected as a pair, but unfortunately, only Sarah was selected. I was looking forward to Sarah getting her chance to shine, but unfortunately the team she was paired against knew their stuff and also had the advantage of winning their chance to answer questions first. But she knew the answer to every single question and I could tell she did. Odin also got selected to play, and unfortunately made a mistake during his digital Mario 3 challenge. So unfortunately, no one from our group “WON,” but as always, it was cool to see them on stage trying their hardest. They did win consolation prizes for playing though. Odin got a Donkey Kong Amiibo (a very ironic prize considering DK is the mascot of PuddlePlainsHD) and Sarah won a Blathers Amiibo, which she gave to me because I didn’t have Blathers yet and she didn’t have any games that used Blathers either.
So after that, it was time to turn in for the night because it was 3 AM and we had one last day of MAGfest remaining. Before I went to bed though, I went to twitter to schedule something in the morning. You see….the entire time I was at Magfest, I tried to meet up with fans, but I wasn’t exactly having much luck. So I decided that as a result, I would try to get up in the morning and go somewhere for a bit so I could meet some people. I know it wasn’t the greatest or most efficient way of meeting up with people (plus it was kind of last minute too), but I feel that I deserved to at least give it a shot. I was only getting 4 hours of sleep though, so I had to make it worth it.
Sunday of Hiijinks
So as I explained in the last paragraph, the first thing on my agenda was doing my small meet and greet with fans. I wasn’t expecting a huge turnout because I’m definitely no chuggaaconroy or somecallmejohnny, but I knew I had some fans at the convention who wanted to say hi and talk for a bit. I went down to the Atrium, ate some breakfast, and put out a tweet that I was going to be staying in one place for about an hour. About 20 minutes later, MasterStarman, another Youtube Let’s Player approached my table. I had seen him a few times at the convention and at PAX East in 2014. He sat down and we talked for a bit about games, let’s plays, conventions, and a lot of other stuff. It was really cool and it was a nice morning. It honestly did make up for me feeling bad about not being as efficient about meeting others as I had wanted to be. So after an hour had passed, I went back up to my room (after making another CVS run) and started trying to contact Snack about one last thing we needed to do before the console room officially shut down. We had to do the second official Donkey Kong 64 race.
So here is the deal; Snack and I love speeding through Donkey Kong 64. We love doing it so much that over the past 2 or 3 years, we’ve done so many runs of the game that we’ve started becoming serious about speed running the game. Now, as much as we do love running the game, we don’t break it as hard as official speedrunners do; you know, the speed runners that glitch through walls and doors to get something early, making a general run a lot faster that it normally should be. We like playing legitimately and routing out our own individual routes of each level. Last year we did a race of just the first level; Jungle Japes, and this year we were going to go one step further and race Jungle Japes alongside Angry Aztec. I was unfortunate enough to make a colossal error in last year’s race which costed me getting first place, so I was hungry and out for blood this time. Now, Snack and I weren’t as prepared as we should have been, so there were plenty of errors across the board. However, I like to think that I knew the Aztec route better, so even if Snack managed to beat me at Japes, I could still make a pretty nice comeback. That’s pretty much what happened too, because my Japes was a mess. There were 3 instances where I screwed something up that I shouldn’t have which costed me a lot of time in the long run. Snack made some errors too, but at the end of Japes, he was at least 20 seconds ahead of me. I started Aztec pretty terribly too, dying at one point (definitely not optimal), but the rest of the run was pretty solid. Snack was the one to make a colossal error this time though, managing to miss grabbing a golden banana after beating the Stealthy Snoop minigame. This caused him to look around for the banana for about a minute, allowing me to pass him and widen the gap significantly. This made me the winner of the 2016 Japes-Aztec race. Next year….maybe we’ll have Factory ready! =P
After the race, we took one last look around the vender hall before we went up to our rooms again. I managed to purchase another game; Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 for the Gamecube. I loved Need for Speed Underground so I figured having another Need for Speed game wouldn’t hurt. Plus it was pretty cheap as well. We went back to our rooms and got some stuff together, because for the next several hours, we knew we would be hanging out in other rooms, playing some games and doing some recordings for Puddle Plains. Before the recording though, we got word from LittleFu68 that she would be hanging outside the convention room for a bit to do some Animal Crossing card trading. I wasn’t interested in the card trading, but I did want to say hello to Allison, and I heard Chuggaa was going to be in the area as well.
I didn’t really get to say hi to Chugga though, but we did share some brief words on how bad Mario Party 10 is, and really….that’s all that needs to be said. We stayed downstairs for a bit, did a little bit of street passing, and then went back to the room and played some games. One of the games we tried was Pac-Man Vs, a multiplayer Pac-Man venture for the Gamecube that was….actually kind of cool. We didn’t record any matches though, but it was fun checking this game out and thanks to PraisedScooter for bringing it.
This day actually went pretty damn fast, because after that round of Pac-Man Vs., it was actually time for dinner at our usual hangout; The Cadillac Ranch, just down the road from the hotel. This place is great! Great food, great accommodations for huge groups like ours, and just a solid place to spend at dinner for the last night. This time, I tried the pulled pork sandwich and my god, it was amazing! The group also decided to try mechanical bull riding, but I was unable to even get on the bull just because I don’t have a lot of upper body strength to pull my body up. Some of my friends got to try though and shoutouts to both SnackAttack8 and WolfSheikah for managing to have two pretty good sessions. After this, we took our annual picture and then went back to the hotel to record some things.
Now, I’m not going to say a lot here because these recordings will be featured on either my channel or PuddlePlainsHD, so there is literally no reason for me to spoil the results here. We recorded Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Party 3 and Fortune Street (the latter two on PuddlePlainsHD, the former on my channel). Now, I have to say…these recordings were hilarious. So many funny and hilarious things happened and overall, it was just a really fun night for us gamers. So many laughs, so many “WTF” occurrences…it was a good night. Kind of a sad night too because this was the last night that we would all be together. It was a somber mood when we all left the room that night, and it was just about to get even worse.
When Sarah and I got back to our room, we hugged and started tearing up a bit. As I said elsewhere and in other places, I probably spent the most time at Magfest with Sarah. Yeah, we were in the same room, so it was kind of hard to not spend time with her, but even when we weren’t in the room, it always seemed like we were together in some fashion. Pixl actually said it best while he and I were texting on the way home, but he said that she and I were like two peas in a pod. And it’s true; she’s such a good friend, we have a lot of fun together, like a lot of the same games, have a strong Fortune Street rivalry….she’s great and it was sad to know that in less than 5 hours she would be departing. But I knew that in 3 months, Momocon was happening and that’s another convention that she’s planning to go to that I also really want to go to, so it wasn’t so much a “goodbye” as it was a “well, we’ll see each other in 3 months!” Not to mention that I’m sure we’ll skype and play stuff together in the meantime. Still though, that moment right there was when it hit me that Magfest was ending….
The Road Home
I actually ended up waking up a little early so I could say one last goodbye to Sarah before she had to leave. I was just going to text her “I miss you already” when she left the room, but I felt like it was more appropriate to actually go down and see her off. Plus, she was also leaving the hotel with Farf, who I wanted to say goodbye to as well and didn’t get to the night before. I saw them one last time, said my goodbyes, and went back up to my room to sleep for two more hours. When we woke up, it was time to start packing up and saying more goodbyes. Overall, I wasn’t leaving with too much more than I came to Magfest with. If anything, I probably ended up having less, but with clothes, whenever you are coming home from a trip, I feel like it’s harder because your clothes are no longer folded, they are dirtier….just a lot harder to get organized. Around 10 AM, we were ready to start the trip home.
Now, this trip back was honestly a lot worse than the trip to Magfest. It didn’t help that we were all very sad about leaving and just in general worn out from all the festivities. But I feel like the car was more packed than it was before, and on the way back, I volunteered to be in the very back on the fold-up seat. Now, I didn’t mind being in the very back, but there wasn’t a lot of leg room or foot room, so I was pretty scrunched up considering. And the further we got into the trip, the worse it got. When we were about 2 hours away, I seriously felt like screaming so many times because it was so uncomfortable. However, I stayed quiet and kept my cool like a trooper, because Scooter had to deal with the same issues on the way to Magfest and I didn’t hear a peep from him.
On the way home, we also stopped at a retro video game store and did a small bit of game chasing. I ended up picking up a copy of Jak 2 and Jak 3 from the Jak and Daxter series, meaning that I now have all of the games from the trilogy. Like I said, I used to have Jak 2, but one of my friends borrowed it and never gave it back. However, they were doing a 2 for 1 sale and it figured like it was going to be my best chance at owning the game again. I also got a Kirby plush as well, but not just any Kirby plush. This one had a string with a suction cup that you could attach to your windows. What a perfect way to scare away intruders! Overall, it was a nice stop and I’m glad we made it.
Around 7 or 8 PM, we were back in Ohio at PokemonCheese’s house. We unloaded the car, got some pizza to eat and then Scooter and I went to the hotel that he stayed at previously. I decided to go with him so he didn’t have to spend too much money on a room for just himself, and to be honest, after a week of sleeping on the floor (or the one night I slept on a fouton), I wanted a nice bed and MY GOD! It was wonderful!
The next morning, we picked up Tarran, said bye to Cheese and Andrew, and then we left for home. I was the first stop on the way home, so this drive was only three hours for me. However, it was still sad knowing that I had to say bye to the same people I was traveling with one week ago exactly. It was cool meeting them for the first time, especially for a wonderful occasion as this, and I appreciate them including me on their road trip. When I got home, I checked a few things online and then immediately took a nap because….I WAS DEAD! Not actually, but damn I did not want to move or do anything for the next three days.
So yeah, that was my trip to Magfest! Overall, it was a fun adventure, I met a lot of cool people, spent more time with other cool people, and just got to have the time of my life being a gamer at a really cool place for gamers. Just want to once again give a shoutout to all the PuddlePlainsHD people I spent such an amazing week with; illuWeaver, Odinspack33, PixlPlume, KingKienzan, SnackAttack8, WolfSheikah, PraisedScooter, Thomal9, Farfinugen33, GaiaCrusher9. TheSpeedGamers peeps; Rinslet91, PokemonCheese, spn_phoenix, LuigiusXMaximus, Baltes and Mrs. Baltes. Always great to see again; PowerToMario, Littlefu68 and LuckySevenDX, and also great to meet CeilingLizard. Another big shout-out to fellow Youtube inspirations; somecallmejohnny, Elliot, chuggaaconroy, NintendoCapriSun, ProtonJon; even though our talk was brief or non-existent, it was great to see you in some form. Grant Kirkhope, it was a pleasure to meet you. Nice to meet you and talk to you for a bit as well MasterStarman! See….just so many great names, and even then, I don’t feel like that’s all of them. It was such a great convention with so many highlights and so many good times.
So like I said before, my next trip will be to Momocon during Memorial Day weekend (or at least that’s the next trip I’m going to try and take). There are still some things I need to get figured out, but I think it’s more than do-able in the time that I have. As usual, I will be at Magfest next year as well and I’m already looking forward to it, despite the fact that it’s still many, many months away. It’s a great convention, great place and space, not too expensive….for anyone who is interested, I would definitely give it a consideration for your first (or next) con. But until then, this post has been long enough, so let’s stop it here! This has been SlimKirby! Thanks for reading guys!