Terms of Service:

Photos and videos may not be reposted or broadcast without the expressed written permission or license from Washington Mnemonic, and must attribute as the source.

Validate XHTML 1.0 Strict
and Css


MAGFest 12

2 - 5 January 2014 | Written by Maxxum

In private conversation with various staff and department heads, it has been stated to me repeatedly that nostalgia drives the hands that shape MAGFest.


I experienced the results first-hand and unexpectedly in 2012 at my first MAGFest. Initially I didn't know what MAGFest was prior to attending, and I saw it as another assignment with the added benefit of unlimited free play during my down-time. After a day of getting photos, I learned from other attendees that a large concert was going to occur and that I should attend as if my life depended on it.

The headliner was a group called "Earthbound Papas", headed by someone named Nobuo Uematsu... I didn't know who he was. A quick Internet search revealed that he was, amongst other things, the musical composer for a game called 'Final Fantasy'.

My thumb stopped scrolling when I read Nobuo's resume as several emotions hit me at once, or at least as quickly as 8-bits will allow. I remembered awkward days at middle school, zit cream, and bullies followed by hours of gaming with my FF1 group of warrior, white mage, black mage, and red mage (my personal favorite). I remembered boarding the Airship in FF4 (FF2 in the US) and letting it hover so I could listen to the music in the background as I did other things.

I attended the Earthbound Papa's concert, half watching it with my eyes and half on the LCD of my camcorder... I wanted to keep this, not just to publish but also for myself. And, that's how it begins... with a covetous act meant to capture and hold onto the past.

Stage POV MegaDriver Machinae Supremacy MegaDriver

There are several conventions of which I make repeat assignments, and my biggest fear is that the familiar feelings of the past will lose their meaning. This year was my third MAGFest and indeed something changed. Before I explain, first an interview with Al Lowe:

Leisure Suit Larry was one of a handful of early PC based games I could recall with clarity - the first time I came across it was on a 33MHz 386... with turbo. The system had been locked down with a password, but my friend and I had managed to guess it. I didn't know it then, but it was the beginning of my career in computer science, and a natural extension of my attraction to science in general.

I knew very early that I liked science... I had dreams of traveling space, meeting new species to befriend or shoot with laser blasters. I immersed myself in everything to further my goals; I visited the Arecibo Observatory, the radio telescope that detected the WOW! Signal. When I was older, I researched computer science until I was able to build my own systems, and more. Unfortunately, I still remain on this Earth, with no lasers and in the same timeline.

The limits of my imagination are now supplemented by a small set of video games, and the people who create them. Prior to my chat with Al Lowe, I had spoken with the creator of perhaps one of the most intriguing games I've seen to date, Chris Hazard the creator of 'Achron'. Chris has the interesting position of having developed a time travel based "meta-time" strategy game that has been used for testing purposes by the US military and universities, and yet he doesn't believe time-travel is possible. Follows an excerpt about the game:

After the interview we spent a few minutes discussing the peculiarities of the universe and why Chris believes time travel isn't possible. I argued in favor of time travel, but I was ill-prepared for such a heavy discussion.

Earlier, I had written that something about MAGFest had changed... perhaps it would be more accurate to say that my perception of the event has changed. The arcades still function, the music is still good, and the people are still passionate about it all, but I wasn't partaking of the festivities as I did in M10 and M11... I could still see my past but I wasn't living it anymore, I was watching it. At first I thought that perhaps my fear had come to pass, that my past had lost its meaning to me. I think now that it's more like being in a family home movie, and then finding the tape years later... the memories are still the same, but the medium has changed.

End of line.

Photos and video by Maxxum, with audio recording by Richard Baldovin