Rather than a summary of the last week, I’m basically going to give a blow-by-blow account of MAGFest here.
So my weekend began at about 8:15 Thursday morning. Or rather, it didn’t, because my car door wouldn’t close right away (This isn’t as bad as it sounds for those of you from warm climates–basically, on mornings after cold, wet nights, the door latch takes awhile to thaw out. It’ll open, but not close). Eventually, that gets worked out and I get to Jess’s house at about 8:45 to 9AM or so.
I then begin the first leg of the drive to MAGFest. For an hour and a half or so, everything goes fine. Then we hit a snag–our paper directions took us one way, while the Garmin Navigation System we borrowed from my dad sent us another. We decide to follow the Garmin–onto I-95 through New York City. Oops. We don’t get lost or anything, but it does take us an hour to go roughly 4 miles. Eventually we stop and switch spots at a service station. The rest of the trip goes uneventfully, and we make it to MAGFest at about 5PM. I wander around and say hi to people for about an hour, and then walk into the mysterious RESERVED on the M6 schedule.
Actually, it wasn’t mysterious at all–this was the block of time for Kareshi and I to play Pianotoads together for the first time. In all, I actually played through the game twice on Thursday–the first time, I was kind of screwing around while Kareshi ate dinner, taking huge risks (Jumping over walls you’re supposed to dodge in Turbo Tunnel, charging the insta-death robots in Terra Tubes without stunning them first) that I wasn’t going to do in the live performance. Then it was time to practice for real, and the practice went really well–almost too well, in fact.
After that, we ate dinner, ordering pizza from Pizza Hut (Which I am linking to here despite the awful design of their website), and then it was down to the game room. You probably remember my talking about the challenges that would be set up there, and I went and won myself a hat by completing an Expert challenge. Take a guess which one. No, go on and guess. You’ll never do it.
Did you guess Battletoads? *BUZZZZZZZZ* WRONG! I actually did the Batman challenge for the hat.
Told you you wouldn’t guess it.
I actually got the Batman challenge on my first try, too, which was cool–there are strategies for both The Firebug and the Joker, but even knowing how to do the battles (The Joker one in particular), it usually takes me a couple tries to actually execute it properly. So that I got it right away was cool. I don’t remember if I did any more challenges that night or not. I do remember getting to bed at about 11:30PM Thursday, which is ridiculously early for a MAGFest (For some perspective, I didn’t even arrive at MAGFest the two previous years until about 1AM Friday, or about 8 hours after I got there this year.), but I had to make sure I was in top form for Pianotoads.
At about 9:30AM or so Friday, I woke up and got ready for Pianotoads. At 11AM, it was time. Now, I tend to be self-critical, sometimes to a fault. Also, this was only the second time I had played along to the piano. Keep both of these facts in mind…
…when I say that I totally nailed it.
Outside of boss fights, I died exactly one time–I screwed up a jump in Level 4 (Arctic Caverns) and whacked some spikes–which matched my best performance in any of the practice runs (Notably…the first time I played it with the piano, the previous night). General reaction from Shizzies and non-Shizzies alike was quite positive, which was cool. If for some reason Brendan (AKA Mr. MAGFest, who sort of oversees the whole show and until M4 or so did everything on his own) asks me to do it again next year, I probably will, but won’t insist on it on my own–honestly, this time went so well that I doubt I could match it. Major thanks to Kareshi for learning all the music, he did an awesome job with it (Especially his Level 10 [Rat Race] rendition)
The rest of the weekend is sort of hazy. I know I spent a ton of time at the Challenges booth. I also know Jess and I walked down to a plaza for dinner Friday–she picked up two sandwiches from Subway (One for Friday, one for Saturday), while I got McDonalds. I did also check out the Temp Sound Solutions set, which was absolutely amazing–Battletoads baby! I went to bed at about midnight Friday.
Saturday was more of the same–a ton of time at the Challenges booth, plus lunch at the same plaza (With Sam tagging along) and dinner in our room (With Sam and Kareshi), this time Papa John’s. To any Shizzies reading this, I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time with you, though I guess this wasn’t too different from my M4 and M5 excursions–you’re all definitely cool people, but in general I spend most of my time in the game room anyway (Though as a result of this, I did get very well-acquainted with Kareshi and Metal Dream, who were my main competition challenges-wise)> as an old Seinfeld ep would say, “It’s not you, it’s me”.
Anyway, late Saturday/early Sunday presented me with a conflict–the Dance Dance Revolution tournament was finally ready to get underway, and I went to that instead of trying to complete a few more challenges. The tournament started at 1:30AM Sunday, and I finally got eliminated at about 3:45AM (Telling a guy named Flash, who was one of the favorites to win, “It’s too damn late to be Perfect Attacking” [For those of you who don’t play DDR, “Perfect Attacking” is trying to get a Perfect with every step–most DDR tournaments factor number of Perfects into the scoring in some way; This particular tournament’s scoring system was 2XPerfects + Greats + OKs], and saying to Kevin, who was my opponent in my final match, “Just eliminate me so I can go to bed” [Though I did try my best in said match, tying the first song before losing the next two].). At that point, I said “I mean no disrespect to those of you still in this, but it’s too damn late. I’m going to bed.” And I did.
We woke up about 8:30AM Sunday morning to pack up and check out and be at the Challenges Awards Ceremony for 10AM, where it turned out the competition wasn’t quite over yet–Kareshi had gotten 1st place by one point (Picking up that point at 1:58 AM Sunday, literally two minutes before the 2AM close of the stations), while Metal Dream and myself were tied for second (For some perspective on how obsessed the three of us were/how much we dominated, Kareshi had 51 points, and Metal Dream and myself had 50. Fourth place had 28.). The solution: a Dr. Mario-off–2 players, Level 10, High Speed, best two out of 3 games wins. Whether it was the lack of sleep or a lack of Dr. Mario skill, I wound up losing the match 2-0, effectively throwing the first game (I immediately started making mistakes and it spiraled out of control in the space of about a minute) and getting ahead in the second game before I started making mistake after mistake and losing that game too. Still, an official finish of third place wasn’t too bad, and in the end, Kareshi, Metal Dream and myself agreed to call it an unofficial tie for first and split the money evenly.
We left Sunday shortly after noon, and this time ignored the Garmin on what was now the second half of our trip in favor of taking route 287 to 87 to 84. My plan was to sleep for the first half of the journey and drive the second leg. I executed the second part of that plan, going from really tired to kind of in a groove to almost falling asleep at the wheel near the end. When we were almost to Jess’s house and she gave me directions of “Okay, it’s left, no, right, I’m sorry. Okay, here’s what we do, pull into that parking lot.” and I responded, freaking out, with “I can’t even see a parking lot!” she realized I’d had enough and drove the last ten minutes or so to her house. At that point, I was so exhausted that I didn’t trust myself to drive the last half hour or so back home, so shortly before 9PM Sunday I just passed out at Jess’s before waking up at about 8:30AM today and driving home.
So all in all, it was a great time, probably the best time I’ve had there so far. I’ll definitely be back there next year. The two bad things that happened from my end were:
- Jess’s camera misbehaved while recording Pianotoads. Showing she’s as hardcore about these things sometimes as I am, she proceeded to record most of it in 15-second increments on her cell phone.
- Unfortunately, that didn’t matter, because between 9 and 10 Saturday night, she lost her cell phone too. We looked around the area she had lost it, plus the room, to no avail. So she called and got it deactivated, which is good.
But yeah, like I said, definitely a great time.