Tag Archive: games


or, Learning Why Your Hearing Doesn’t Matter When Nobuo Uematsu is Rocking Out Ten Feet From Your Face.

So, Lady Sephi messaged me out of the blue one day and asked if I was going to MAGFest in January. I had no idea what this MAGFest thing was, so I went and looked, and noticed two things of note:

  1. MAGFest is a four-day convention that features 24-hour board- and video-gaming rooms.
  2. Nobuo Uematsu was slated to be the guest of honor, along with his new band, the Earthbound Papas.

I was sold in a heartbeat; I called the hotel up a week later to make my reservation.

I’ll be honest; I’d never even heard of this convention, so I was completely floored when I first got there. First, because I’d never been to the Gaylord National Convention Center before, and second, because MAGFest is just that awesome.

Thursday, we booked it for MAGFest in the afternoon, and were a little late getting there, so Sephi ended up missing one of the panels she wanted to be at ( :( sorry, Sephi! ). We checked into the hotel, and then checked into the con, and went exploring a bit, being in a new hotel and all, with many things to see.

Of first, and most important, note: MAGFest features a 24-hour arcade. 100+ arcade machines of all different types, all set for free play. I felt like a little kid in a candy story.

Of second, and only slightly less important, note: MAGFest features music pretty much all day, every day, lasting well into the night. In the mornings, the space was basically open jamspace; in the evenings, it was scheduled concerts which completely rocked. It was awesome.

Thursday, I didn’t do much of anything, really; I hung out in the arcade and explored the convention’s offerings. I attended the panel on today’s video games sucking, which was pretty awesome, but then it was back to the arcade.

Friday, I hit the 1130 panel for OCRemix, a site I’m very fond of, and had a ball there. The OCRemix guys are all pretty awesome dudes, and it was a hugely informative panel. Following that, I hit the Orchestral Game Music & Society panel, where I was introduced to the Gamer Symphony Orchestra from the University of Maryland, and they were all pretty awesome, too. I promptly downloaded all of their music from their website (for, free, y’all!), because they are just that awesome. The recordings aren’t spectacular; there’s a bit of sonic bending in the environment that they perform in, but they sound pretty awesome in person. I was, unfortunately, disappointed with the Too Ugly For YouTube: Video Game Radio panel; it was basically an ego-stroking session for two online radio stations, and wasn’t very informative or interesting. Ah, well. Worse things could happen.

Friday night featured a trip back to OCRemix land; they basically had a party starting at midnight, and it was an absolute blast! There was a huge discussion about video game music, remixing, pushing the new albums, and generally having a great time. Prizes happened to the crowd, the panelists cracked us all up, and I really, really want to see them again next year. I had an absolute ball; thank you, everyone from OCRemix, for hanging out with us and letting us all have such a great time with you.

Saturday morning, I actually deigned to be awake for an 0930 panel. For the first time, I was exposed to Loading Ready Run–in person, no less!–as I got the live commentary from selected episodes of LRR. Totally worth being up at that ungodly hour of the morning, and besides, I made a new friend who had come all the way from Nova Scotia just to be at MAGFest. Later that day, I hit up the panel from the Smithsonian Museum, of all places, and learned about The Art of Video Games, an exhibit that opens on the 16th of March at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. The curator for the exhibit is, besides being pretty cute, also a huge video games fan, so when her director asked her to do something with video games, she jumped on it. The end result of her working with Chris Melissinos is looking to be a fantastic event, and I’ll be there on opening day, particularly for the keynote speech that night from Nolan Bushnell.

Saturday night, Sephi and I piled into the main ballroom at 1900 just to get good seats for the whole reason we were there in the first place: the Earthbound Papas were on at 1030! We survived the mess through Bit Brigade, who basically played a live backing track to a complete run through of MegaMan, The OneUps, back for their tenth-year anniversary mellow funk-out (since their first live show was at MAGFest I) to showcase a cover of Dancing Mad that they’d prepared before they even learned that Uematsu would be at the con, and Year 200X, a thrash-metal band who actually did a pretty decent cover of Battery. Then…the Earthbound Papas went on stage. Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up: AWESOME. Their music is fantastic. They’re all enormously talented musicians, and in some ways I’m really happy they’re not working with SquareEnix anymore, because now they’re not restricted in what they can play. We got their Introduction, which is a fabulous piece, and then a bunch of music from Uematsu’s (and his compatriots’) years of developing music for Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Bahamut’s Lagoon, and more. It was so fantastic, I didn’t care that I couldn’t hear much of anything for the rest of the weekend. If you have the time and money, take a moment and invest in a copy of Octave Theory (their first album); it’s worth every penny.

Sunday was pretty quiet; we hit the LRR Q&A panel and got to have some more laughs with Graham and Paul, and then we headed out ’cause we were just too exhausted to carry on. Sephi headed back home shortly after we returned to Herndon, and I promptly collapsed in bed. It was an exhausting weekend, and I’d had so much fun I just didn’t have the energy to keep awake much longer.

I am definitely going back next January.

Tonight, we played Innovation.

Players: Tony and Angel.

  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (0).
  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (5).

Tonight, we attended Ludus and played Eminent Domain.

Players: CT7, Byron, and Tony.

  • Byron won Eminent Domain with 49, followed by CT7 (35).
  • Tony won Eminent Domain with 12, followed by CT7 (9), and Byron (5).
  • Byron won Eminent Domain with 44, followed by Tony (34), and CT7 (23).

Afterward, we came home and played Innovation.

Players: Tony and Angel.

  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (3).
  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (0).

Tonight, we played SPANC and Zombie Dice.

Players: Tony, Boots, and Harpy.

  • Tony won SPANC with 10, followed by Harpy (8) and Boots (4).
  • Boots won Zombie Dice with 13, followed by Tony (0).
  • Harpy won Zombie Dice with 15, followed by Tony (14), and Boots (7).
  • Tony won Zombie Dice with 14, followed by Boots (7).

or, Feeling Your Headache Melting Away is the Best Feeling in the World.

Went to TCEP 18 this year. Had a blast. I’ll be honest; the whole convention was something of a blur for me, especially now, two weeks after the fact. There were a few things that stood out, though, and some of them were freaking hilarious, so I’ll share.

Friday was Hell On Earth for me. At least, it was, until about 11:00, at which point I handed off the documents I needed to turn in, and left the office. I didn’t know for sure if I was going to be well enough to attend the convention, but when I got home, I realized that the relaxing sensation I was feeling on my commute was my stress headache dissipating. I packed my bags, and off I went to the con.

I left right at the beginning of rush hour; this was a mistake. Fortunately, I made it through rush hour to Laurel with a minimum of fuss. The trip took about 70 minutes longer than it should have, but I arrived in one piece (as did the Little Red Truck), and promptly set about unloading the con suite, which showed up about five minutes behind me. After that was done, I set out to eat dinner with the other carnivores; normally, I head out on the bait run, but I really needed mass quantities of red meat. I ordered a ribeye, bloody rare. What I got was a piece of shoe leather, introduced to fire, so I sent it back. The second plate came out with a perfect steak, and I promptly set about enjoying it. After that, I recall some games happening, but I can’t for the life of me remember which ones…

Saturday came, and with it came more gaming and socializing. Not that I remember much of what, at this point, other than “fun”.

Sunday was somewhat more memorable. There was a LARP scheduled: Miskatonic Class Reunion. A good time was had by all. Byron, who was in charge of the game, had previously asked me if I wanted to play or run, and I asked him to put me where I was most needed. I got handed a shill. My entire purpose in the game was to stand up in front of everyone, tell them how awesome the punch was, and they really ought to try it, start to make a speech… and then keel over dead. I felt my death scene was particularly well done. Poor HotMamaB, though, later cussed me out for it. Apparently, her train of thought at the start of the game was similar to this:

“What the heck!? Since when does Tony wear a suit? Great! I actually get to play in a game with Tony! Wait, he’s dead. Dammit!”

…or something like that, anyway. What I particularly remember was the cross look on her face when she realized that, no, I was Really Most Sincerely Dead.

While everyone else was playing, I ended up running out for lunch with Joan, and we found this really neat little pan-Asian joint about five miles down the road, and it was fabulous. As in, I really enjoyed what I ate, and the prices weren’t even wince-worthy. After I got back, I promptly got dragged in as a GMs handyman, to handle props and stuff that Byron didn’t have enough hands to deal with. It was fun, running around and sticking little red stars on people who had no clue why they were getting them…

More gaming happened after that, and HotMamaB’s Sprog #2 pulled out a really classy move in Apples to Apples. When the adjective was “comedic”, Sprog  #2–who is seven–pulled out “my first time”. Byron promptly fell out of his chair, and came to report this move to HotMamaB, who started imitating a tomato. I have the coolest friends, with the coolest sprogs, and they provide endless entertainment. I also ended up failing to reign in my helium hand; more on that will probably come in a later post.

Monday morning was kind of a drag; I got to hang out with everyone, but I kept getting the usual end-of-con feeling of not wanting it to end. We gamed, we laughed, we partied, we had an excellent time. Hopefully, I’ll see everyone again next year, and perhaps even some new faces.

Tonight, we played Lunar Rails and Fluxx

Players: Tony, Angel, and Sephi.

  • Tony won Lunar Rails with 255, followed by Angel (198).
  • Much chaos ensued with Fluxx, and fun was had by all.

Today, we attended the Boardgaming CoP at Booz Allen and played Glory to Rome, Scotland Yard, the Alien Pie Fight prototype, and Innovation.

Players: Tony, Joan, Thierry, Jeff, Trey, Jennifer, Christian, Phil and Don.

  • Christian survived Alien Pie Fight against Jeff, Jennifer, Tony, Trey and Thierry (in order of knockout).
  • Tony marshaled a game of Innovation.
  • Christian lost Scotland Yard to Jeff, Jennifer, Tony, Don, and Phil.
  • Jeff won Glory to Rome with 50, followed by Tony (43).

Tonight, we played Innovation and Race for the Galaxy.

Players: Tony, Angel and Jason.

Tony won Innovation with 5, followed by Jason (2), and Angel (0).
Tony won Race for the Galaxy with 37, followed by Angel (35), and Jason (32).
Tony won Race for the Galaxy with 61, followed by Angel (43), and Jason (28).

Today, we attended the Boardgaming CoP at Booz Allen, and played Innovation.

Players: Tony, Joan, Russ and Lance.

  • Tony won Innovation with 4 achievements, followed by Lance (3), Russ (1), and Joan (0).
  • Joan won Innovation with 10 points, followed by Tony (3), and Lance (0).

Tonight, we played Carcassonne.

Players: Tony and Angel.

  • Tony won Carcassonne with 135, follwed by Angel (122).