This was a tough one to write. I got the email when I was already at the convention that Paste Magazine was looking for an article on MAGFest. Of course I said yes, but after experiencing the con and after some unforeseen personal setbacks the day after that I was going to do some writing, it was an almost painful thing to write. I truly love this con and there was so much to talk about and that setback that occurred on the Monday I got back managed to zap any fond memories I had of the experience. Luckily, I thought back to my boyfriend, who goes to MAGFest every year for the reasons detailed in this article. Him and his friends are so passionate about the games that show up in the game room and their spirit is infectious.
“Does anybody know if this elevator goes down to the Dungeon?”
It’s the first day of this year’s Music and Gaming Festival, aka MAGFest 2014, and most of us have no idea if the convention decided to get medieval with the names of the rooms or if there’s a secret chamber somewhere in the basement of the hotel. Thankfully it’s the former.
As we learned, the elevator does not go directly down to the Dungeon. Con-goers first have to take a small hike through the Gaylord Convention Center, past the restaurants, gift shops, and roaming packs of families and MAGfest attendees. Then, they must go down two flights of stairs to enter the Dungeon—the name the convention lovingly gave to the 24-hour game room at this year’s Legend of Zelda-themed event.
This large space is one of the biggest draws of MAGFest; it’s the largest single room at the festival, and it’s where most people gather. The place is set up like a videogame museum, covering the gamut of gaming options with rows of ancient arcade cabinets, consoles set-ups, and seemingly never-ending tournaments of games from all generations. Many people come to the convention just for access to this room, which is included with the badge fee, and allows con-goers to play games not common in America.