On Feb. 18th, 2016 the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor, MD hosted MAGFest, a video game and music convention. Rows of old-style arcade games formed a maze where console gamers could be heard button-mashing, shouting, and laughing by the dozens. Over forty performers took to the stage and hallways. This is the Music and Gaming Festival.
MAGFest is an indoor, 24-7, all-ages festival that is held “by the fans, for the fans,” according to the Jan. MAGFest press release. It was held over four days and nights, from Feb. 18 through Feb. 21. The festival featured a 24-hour arcade, complete with consoles and arcade style systems. Panels with industry and community guests were also held. The convention also featured a marketplace for game-inspired art and retro games and wares. Various workshops included stunt sessions with DC Stunt Coalition, gamer-yoga, and special events like Games on Film, Music and Gaming Education Symposium, and a MAGCabaret dress-up concert.
Via press release, MAGFest announced two major concerts from the Inti Creates sound team for this festival, including one dedicated to Azure Striker Gunvolt, titled “Lumen Super Live 2016.” The second concert was an Inti Creates 20th anniversary special that featured music from their history of games, including Mega Man Zero. Performers for the concert included Godspeed, Ippo Yamada, Yamajet, Luna Umegaki, and Megu Sakuragawa (Lumen) among others.
Inti Creates was founded in Japan in 1996 by a group of top industry veterans. It has since evolved over 20 years to become one of Japan’s largest and most successful independent developers. They have spawned many titles for major game publishing companies, including Sega, Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Sony, including their self-published franchise Azure Striker Gunvolt.”
The members of the Inti Creates sound team are legendary in the videogame music community, so it’s our pleasure to be able to welcome them as guests at MAGFest,” said MAGFest Chief Operating Officer Nicholas Marinelli.
“With MAGFest’s main focus being fan and community creations, it’s always a privilege to show the original creators, in person, just how much we appreciate their work.”
Other performing musicians included game music cover bands like The OneUps and composers Grant Kirkhope, Alexander Brandon, and Austin Wintory, who performed his orchestral soundtrack to Journey live. Internet superstars Ninja Sex Party were also in attendance. MAGFest also featured chiptune artists and various genre DJs. There was a dedicated jam space and impromptu stages could be found all throughout the hotel, day and night.
MAGFest began in 2002, started by a group of friends interested in video games and game music. It was a small get-together that has since grown into a massive festival; an estimated 20,000 guests were in attendance for the 2016 iteration. MAGFest is run by MAGFest Inc., a non-profit educational organization dedicated to furthering the appreciation of video games and video game music.