Posted 01-23-2011 at 11:34 PM by TnAdct1
On Martin Luther King Day weekend, I attended my first convention of the year in the form of Magfest, a video game convention in Alexandria, Virginia. The following is my commentary about the con.
-Note to Magfest: next year, make sure there’s more people working badge pick-up for the regular people, as it took two hours for most people (including me) to pick up their badge (whereas Otakon pretty much eliminated the wait time to pick up a badge via using barcodes at its pre-reg booths last year).
-One thing that I seriously underestimated this year was the amount of items worth buying at the Marketplace. Given how I didn’t buy much last year, I expected that I wasn’t going to need that much money at Magfest. However, the Marketplace was much better this year with a couple of dealers that weren’t there last year and Mad Gear (a regular video game dealer at my conventions) stepping it for this convention. In the end, my purchases included a number of import games, a couple t-shirts, the latest Angry Video Game Nerd DVD, a pin of Cammy from Street Fighter, and a statue of Buzzy Beetle from the Super Mario games.
-Another thing that was on the "grow" this year: the amount of arcade cabinets at the convention, as the cabinet structure at this year's Arcade area was very similar to the set-up that was common with arcades during its' golden age. The end result: a lot more arcade machines than last year (with the music games and Japanese cabinets being in the video game room).
-The Challenge Corner was back again to test the gaming skills of Magfest attendees. This time around, I was able to complete 8 challenges, including at least one challenge that was labelled as Expert (that one involved beating Dr. Robotnik in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine).
-The main event for Thursday night (outside of another event that I'll get to later): a screening of Mazes and Monsters, a 1980's made for TV flick starring Tom Hanks as a messed-up college student who ends up taking a Dungeons and Dragons style RPG tabletop way too seriously after his group plays the game at an abandoned cave. Given the chesse factor, me and some fellow viewers had a fun time riffing the film throughout the screening. In fact, after the convention, I've begun writing a "riff script" for the movie (in case I want to record my own iRiff for Rifftrax).
-The main events for Friday (and part of Thursday): numerous stuff involving the crew of That Guy With the Glasses, a web site known for its numerous comical reviewers. The following are the events related to that site that I attended:
1. The Uwe Boll Hour: Bloodrayne 2. One of three late night events in which one of the convention's guest riff a bad video game movie made by infamous director Uwe Boll, the first of these events was done by Spoony, a reviewer voted as the “Funniest Man of the Internet” with some help from Linkara (the main comic book reviewer on the site) and Jewario (a reviewer who covers import games that people who don’t understand Japanese can still play). I only stayed for the first half-hour (as it started at midnight), but it was fun given the riffs said by the TGWTG crew and those in the audience (i.e. given Bloodrayne 2’s subtitle is Deliverence, some people began doing Dueling Banjoes).
2. Atop the Fourth Wall Live! A live version of Linkara’s weekly review video, the panel featured him providing his comments on the Atari Force comic, some Q & A session, and a sneak peek of his review of the Power Rangers Zeo #1 comic book (which included Linkara’s rematch against his evil robot clone). When it comes to the live portion, that was a hoot, with some of the highlights including a jab at E.T. for the 2600, Linkara giving the main member of Atari Force many names a la Mike and the ‘Bots calling Reb Brown’s character in Space Mutany many names on MST3K, Linkara responding to an audience member when she suggested that mission control wasn’t invaded by zombies, but the Ultimate Warrior (SKRONK!), and the reaction to one African soldier wearing khaki shorts.
3. The That Guy With the Glasses Panel. Basically, it's a Q & A session involving many members of the website, with regular humor throughout (for instance, there's a drinking game, but without alcohol, in which the panelists take a drink whenever someone asks a question either to Spoony, to Linkara, or about how to become a regular on the site themselves). I myself happened to ask Spoony a question during the panel, one involving his reaction to discover that fourty minutes away that same weekend was a TNA wrestling event (as Spoony has done a number of videos in which he bashes the poor booking going on at that company once Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff appeared on the scene).
If you want to check out what you may have missed, the TGWTG Panel, Atop the Fourth Wall Live, and the Power Rangers Zeo #1 review are currently online.
-One board game that I played at the convention that I really need to pick up for my family to play (although that will mean I'll have to to find a Starbucks that sells the game): Cranium Party Playoff. The concept of the game: players try to predict the outcome of a tournament consisting of 32 "contenders" (split between people, places, activities, and objects), with the matches being determined by the players deciding which of the two is the better answer to a question that is asked on a game card. One example of a question (from the finals of one game): Which would make for a better Wikipedia page: Gumby or the thong? I'm sure my family will have a hoot with this game if I decide to buy it.
-The main event for Saturday: The Random NES Challenge. This is a different kind of video game tournament, as it involved the competitors, including me, to play in four different NES games, with points being awarded for how you did in the game. The four events in the competition were as followed (as well as my comments):
1. Spelunker - How many points you can receive in three lives? Given how the game is an example of "Nintendo hard" at its most evil, a number of people failed to get any points at all when playing the game. However, I wasn't one of them, as I did all right (even though I've never played Spelunker before, a result of me dislikng the Broderbund brand as a kid due to their games being too hard for me).
2. Alfred Chicken - A "secret" round in which the players don't know what they need to do to earn 5 points in the competition until everyone has played (the secret action was to peck "normal" ground at least once during your turn). To ensure that I got the points, I tried to make sure I completed everything that can be done in the level, as well as act like a chicken while playing the game in case that's the secret action (hey, it's best to keep your bases covered).
3. North and South - Capture the enemy base's flag within a time limit. I refer to it as the "Ninja Warrior" section of the competition, as no one was able to complete this task.
4. 1942 - How many points can you get on the first level with one life? Given how this was one of the first NES games my family got in 1988, I've had experience with this event, thus doing well here.
In the end, I finished third in the competition, with me receiving a tote bag and 5 M-points (which is like a gift certificate for the Marketplace). I opted to not spend the points and instead keep it as a memento of the convention.
-Another tip for next year, Magfest: book panels between 8PM and 1AM each night, as some people don't to concerts at conventions. I was hoping to stay until midnight on Saturday in order to see if I won a Metal Man scupture that one dealer was raffling off. However, since there was nothing to do besides playing video games and going to the Saturday concerts, I decided to leave around 8PM than stay around. Of course, other reasons for this include the Ravens losing their play-off game (if they'd won, I'd probably tough it out and have stayed) and me possibly starting to come down with a cold that would bother me the week after the convention.
With Magfest said and done, the next convention for me is next month’s Katsucon at National Harbor. Now to ensure that I have enough money for the convention and the amount of video games that are coming out the week of the convention.