After a few days of getting back into the swing of things, it's time for me to discuss this.
This past weekend, I attended my first convention of 2010, and this time it's not the usual anime convention. Instead, for a change, I decided to attend Magfest, a video game-themed convention that was held in Alexandria, Virginia. Going into the convention, I had to keep in mind the focus on video games, and hence things will be somewhat different here than the usual anime conventions that I attend. For a first time Magfest attendee, I'll leave my comments with a list of what was good and what was bad.
-The Video Game Area
. Given how Magfest is focused on video games, you know that there has to be a video game room somewhere, and it definitely wasn't a disappointment, as the video game area was split into three areas.
1. The arcade area. Just as the name suggests, this section is filled with various arcade machines, and boy what a variety. Various cabinets include:
- Classic arcade game cabinets (i. e. Ms. Pac Man)
- A pinball machine
- An old arcade machine where the object is to put a marble into selected holes without falling into other holes.
- 1990's US fighting game cabinets
- Japanese arcade cabinets
- Japanese two player arcade cabinets (In which the machine one player on one side with his own screen and another player on the other side playing the game on another screen)
- Classic cocktail cabinets
- The six-player Xmen machine
2. The console room. This is the room that contained the console games, and by console games, this goes all the way back to the Atari 2600 and Colecovision. Also in this room are various arcade games with a "music" theme to it (i.e. Guitar Freaks, In the Groove).
3. The tournament room. Unlike other conventions, Magfest has most of the console-based tournaments held in a different room from the console room, which means the tournaments won't interupt casual players wanting to play the same game as the one that tournament contenders are playing.
. One of the highlights of the console room, the Challenge corner is a section where brave video gamers attempt to beat the various challenges that the people at Magfest have set up. You can find the list of challenges at this year's Magfest here
. As for me, I was able to complete five of the normal challenges during the two days I was at the convention.
. What do you get when you combine Artist Alley with the Dealers' Room? You get the Marketplace, an open area of the convention where dealers can sell their items to the attendees. With the Artist Alley-like setup, there's no need to wait in line for the room to open. Also, because of the setup, dealers can start and stop business each day whenever they want.
. Following in the footsteps of most conventions, Magfest has its' own video room. The various items that are screened in this room during the convention include big budget Hollywood movies based on video games
, cartoons based on video games, fan-made films based on video games, and various videos of shows that are popular on the Internet. Among the stuff that I saw watched in the room during the weekend were the Double Dragon movie (featuring the T-1000 and Arnold's daughter in Commando), episodes of the Angry Video Game Nerd, and Let There Be Brawl (a film noir style tale featuring various Nintendo characters).
-Jon St. John
. Among the guests that Magfest invited to the convention, one of the bigger names (besides Sid Meier) was Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem (as in the video game character, not the Capt. Planet villain). After attending the convention, that was indeed a good choice, as St. John was a hoot when it comes to being an emcee at an Iron Chef event and the Late Night Game Show.
-Lack of "newer" games at the Marketplace
. Not that I hate older video games (heck, I considered buying some during the convention). However, I was hoping that one of the dealers would contain more recent games that interest me (i.e. Bayonetta and Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5). Sadly, the only newer games that were on sale at Magfest were used copies of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (which I already had). However, I didn't leave the convention without any purchases, as I did buy numerous DVD's of programming on the Screw Attack section of gametrailers.com, a Japanese DS game, and a flashcard for my DSi.
. As in "trying to look for a bite to eat". To begin, the restaurant at the hotel where Magfest was held wass one of those fancy restaurants that serves seafood. Hence, not only would it be somewhat expensive, but also none of the items on the menu would interest me. Second, the closest fast food restaurants from the hotel is in a shopping center that's a few blocks down. While, I don't mind the walking (besides, one of the restaurants included a Dairy Queen, which meant I had some ice cream after lunch
), given how this convention was taking place in January, it would be somewhat rough to walk a few blocks in the cold to get some food. Finally, for some reason, the hotel's gift shop decided to close early on New Year's Day. Hence, I had to use the vending machine to get some food during the evening hours of the convention on Friday night (although in the vending machine's defense, bottled sodas were cheaper there than in the gift shop).
. If there's one bad habit that annoyed me during the convention, it's that some people, when playing arcade games decide to leave the machine while the game's still playing. The biggest offender of this are those that played Excitebike. In the arcade version, the mission is to place in the Top 5 to continue in the game. Sadly, most people were clueless about needing to finish in the Top 5 and hence left the game when there's still more game to be played. To make matters worse, Excitebike requires that a person must complete the course before the "Game Over" screen shows up. Hence, I had to play the game numerous times just so I can reset the game so that way someone can play a "fresh" game when they decide to play Excitebike.
Anyways, I had a fun time at the convention, although I don't know if I'll attend again next year or not. I hope to have some pictures (and a video for a certain person who likes bluenettes) up soon.