MAGFest 12

Dan “Danimal Cannon” Behrens brought the band Critical Hit to the attention of my corner of the Internet (at Critical Hit is a list of physically attractive musicians who play covers of game music as arranged by someone who doesn’t play in the band. This isn’t yet the part that disturbs me. The fact that their covers are plastic and only 1 member of the “band” plays at a given concert is a little but not overly unnerving. What bothers me is that Danimal’s revelation that my last decade of regularly packing myself in a small room with a bunch of sweaty nerds to listen to guitars wail to Castlevania now makes me marketable demographic.

OK. “World Winds” disturbs me a great deal too.

No, Critical Hit didn’t play at MAGFest 12. That’s not the type of show one would ever expect at MAG. It’s just a sign of the times. It makes me wonder what has changed more, the scene or myself.

This MAG was pretty much more of the same: another 3000+ increase in overall attendance, another drop in Shizz attendance, and an exhausting-but-good time had by all.

When the line-up for MAGFest 12 started rolling in it was frankly underwhelming. It’s hard to trump guests like Nobuo Uematsu as far as star power in the classic video game music scene. Then, when I took a look at the concert schedule to see that I only cared about 2 of the main stage acts, the last one of which was slated to play at 7pm on Friday, coupled with the forecast that only about 40 of my Shizz friends would be attending, I was ready to declare MAG12 the worst MAG ever.

Friday: 11am-4pm: Adventure Time: Troubling Time in the Candy Kingdom

I ratcheted that back some when I began to take things into perspective. Our max of 110+ Shizzies is unsustainable. This whole ordeal is getting more expensive across many layers: time, attention, cold hard Nuyen, and the glycogen which fuels my muscles.


And, while TheShizz might not be a huge force in relative numbers anymore (take 40 out of 500 vs 40 out of 12,000), we’re still able to have a large effect on concert numbers. One Shizz favorite, Gimmick, pulled a larger crowd in Jamspace than the attendance of the band at the same time playing at the vastly larger Main Stage venue. TheShizz is what made the difference there. Also, I will make a guess and say the largest turnout for the Chipspace area was by Shizzies for a Shizz-composed group, Marshall Art.

Chiptune act Marshall Art playing at Chipspace. Per usual, I’m just out of sight. In this pic, I’m to the right of the frame.

Nonetheless, a lot of us are getting old. I partied as hard as I could, but it ended with me asleep by midnight on Saturday.

I’m done with griping. Here are some personal highlights.


As always, TheShizz had a suite in the hotel that holds the Fest, and this year’s was the largest we’ve ever had, which attracted a fair amount of cool cats as well as number of unwanted randos. One highlight was when Andrew “Batsly Adams” Reitano showed up with his homemade NES cart of Super Russian Roulette. I wish a had a better picture or video of it. It was simply a Russian roulette game where you pass the light gun around. In this instance, people were playing it as a drinking game: get shot, drink a shot.

Mig50, guitarist for the Minibosses, and Luke, the bass player for Bit Brigade. Taken from Danimal Cannon’s Vine.

Side note: I first heard of Batsly Adams when I saw the video of his DrunkNES project, where he convert a NES cart into a crude-yet-somehow-functional breathalyzer. I was delighted to rub elbows with such greatness.

Drunken NES – Nintendo Breathalyzer from EM Dash on Vimeo.

Super Guitar Bros., which got a well-deserved place at the Main Stage, put on my favorite concert of the fest.
This is part of the Gimmick concert I mentioned earlier. Very Minibosses-esque in how they interacted musically with the crowd (you can see me in the TheShizz huddle at various times).

5 thoughts on “MAGFest 12

  1. Talk about selling your soul… I don’t follow chip stuff nearly as closely as you do, and most of what I know about it I’ve learned through you, but that dude is awful. While a band like the Police could be accused of being cultural imperialists with their brand of white reggae, no one could ever accuse them of “not” being dead serious and over the top sincere about their musical interests and the music they made. Pedro, at best, seems to be a person who broadly understands what a video game is. Maybe he even owned a console at some point? Though, who is worse, Pedro or the company behind this garbage?

  2. Feel a little silly tacking this on to commentary by an exponent of the art, since I figure you might be aware of this sort of thing already, but…

    Came across a video of this woman playing the sheng recently, seemed kind of neat mildly relevant:

  3. Peter: That’s cool. I got to see a sheng in action while in Shanghai. It has to take the cake for the weirdest instrument.

  4. It’s like a calliope for your mouth!

    When I first saw the video I thought someone had invented a newfangled novelty instrument of some kind. Was surprised to find out the things are actually ancient.

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