I thought I would be posting updates from MAGfest, but as it turns out – I was too busy and not at a computer all weekend. And although my texting skills are pretty good, I’m not going to start writing blog posts from my phone. So here it is, the weekend in a nutshell:
It’s Friday morning. I’ve been staying up at night making Pac-Man Ghost finger puppets to sell at our table (the puppets are pretty awesome, I’m hoping that at some point soon I might get myself an Etsy page and start hawking some of my video game puppets). Chad is already awake and is finishing getting everything together. I’m remembering all the things I was supposed to do before I leave – get the show outline together for the Lee and Z episode we’re going to film that night, update my blog, update the PBC page, pack my toothbrush… all very important things. Suddenly Brett is here and the car is being loaded up outside. I try so hard to be on time, but occasionally no matter what, there is just too much to do. The next thing I know the car is packed, the guys are ready to go and everyone is waiting on me. Ugh. I finish the internet stuffs, I grab my toothbrush, I make myself a PB&J sandwich for the road and then we’re off – driving from NYC to Alexandria, VA.
It’s about 4 1/2 hours in the car. Chad is driving, I’m making puppets, and Brett is playing his DS in the back seat. Around 3pm we arrive at the hotel. MAGfest has been at the same hotel for last three years. It’s starting to feel very familiar. We open the car door and the icy arctic wind hits us. It’s FRIGID. It makes no sense, it feels colder in Virginia than it did in New York. Aren’t we more South? Oh well, who cares – we’ll be inside a hotel all weekend.
We begin unloading and bringing our stuff down to artists alley. We have a table to set up, Little Miss Gamer shirts to sell, and all other sorts of PBC merch to share with the masses. As I’m setting up the table I learn that we don’t have a room at the hotel. Wait… what? Aren’t we guests? It seems it’s not just us, but a bunch of people were displaced. The Hilton overbooked (this is the first time something like this has happened) and we will be relocated a hotel across the street. Ok, no biggie. Slightly inconvenient, but at least we don’t have to sleep under the merch table.
The day is already great – we’re at our favorite Con – all our gamer friends are here – and my panel is coming up at 7pm. I check in with the Con staff around 5pm to see how to log onto the internet for my skype podcast session with Lee for a new episode of the Lee and Z show. I learn that the internet is down, and that due to the amount of folks online at the hotel right now – it’s really not going to work to try to have a 30-45 minute Skype session. This is a bit of a bummer, as I was really looking forward to recording a new episode with Lee and to take live questions from the audience. It’s decided that my panel will be rescheduled for the next day and that I’ll plan something else to do.
At that point I go back down to the Lower Level, and man the PBC table while the guys are rocking out with some Video Game improv. There were a bunch of video cameras at that panel, so I’m sure some of that footage will find it’s way here eventually. We pack up the table and decide to go to our hotel room to drop off stuff. Chad had said – yeah, it’s across the street. We bundle up and begin the trek. We cross the street. The wind is bitingly cold. We take a right. We keep walking. I’m starting to wonder why we’re not going to the places that are directly across the street… but it’s so cold that I’m not willing to ask this out loud. We begin walking over a highway overpass and I start to get anxious. Each time we go further away from what I consider suburban strip mall corporate civilization and more towards endless highway my tolerance level for the cold and this “walk across the street” drops. I’m thinking “Seriously?” The hotel finally comes into sight and we leave the highway overpass and walk across a desolate long forgotten closed restaurant parking lot to this Marriott beacon of warmth.
After this initial walk, I had to hike back and forth from the Hilton to the Marriott about 3 more times and I will say that it’s not that bad, only about 10 minutes, however it’s a funny thing – when you don’t know where you’re going or how far – it seems to be much further than it is. It’s also important to note that other folks had to make this hike as well, and MAGfest was really apologetic and really good about taking care of us.
Friday night was spent hanging out with friends and laughing a lot. We trudged back to our hotel at 3:30am and got a few hours of sleep. Saturday morning we awoke, setup the table again and prepared for a day of awesomeness. Saturday included: Gamer Iron Chef (in which the team made up of friends Darrin, Brett and black Chad (seriously, this is his nickname… I wouldn’t make that up) came in a close second), my panel which was combined with Retroware TV for a really great discussion about the last ten years of gaming, and playing a lot of old cabinet arcade games – which this years MAGfest had more of than ever before. We also held a contest for a new LMG shirt – name all 28 consoles on the shirt. We also showed a final rough cut of the 2009 National Puppetry Festival Documentary that we’ve been editing for the last few months. A trailer for it can be seen here:
Preorders are available now at the Puppetry Store!
Saturday night was filled with more of the same awesomeness – including some amazing concerts. Arm Cannon was among the groups that rocked my socks off.
Sunday came – I attended a That Guy With The Glasses panel, and held out with that gang for a bit. Then went back to held out at our table, and suddenly it was 3:00 and time for us to pack it in. All of us had stuff we needed to get back to on Monday, so even though the Con was lasting till Monday we had to take off. Overall it was such a great time, and if you haven’t gone to MAGfest before I highly recommend that you check it out. It’s a con run by gamers for gamers and it is truly epic. I can’t wait for next year!!!!