MAGFest 2017

MAGFest was held January 13 -- 15, 2017, in the Gaylord National Harbor, Oxen Hill MD

MAGFest is a Music And Games convention hat had a large boost in popularity about five years ago, approximately coinciding with its move to the National Harbor. It's held in the Gayloard National Harbor resort and hotel, which also hosts Katsucon. Cosplayers and photographers know the location for its gigantic, sun-lit atrium. The focus on the covention is largely on gaming (table-top, cards, role-playing, etc) and is very welcoming of music acts, large and small.

The covention itself is mostly in the covention center with three main areas. The mercant's area (to buy stuff) is in the largest downstairs room, with video games set up on either side, taking up twice as much area again as the merchant's area. There's video games from the very earliest to the newest independent releases. Many game developers are there to show off their games and get feedback and sales. The third area is located upstairs in the convention center and holds most of the open table-top gaming offerings. Here again there are game developers present showing off prototypes (or early editions) of their games. More common games are also available to check out from a library and play as one chooses. This was a change from the previous year when the table-top area was a much larger single area adjacent to the video game room.

In 2016 I went for the whole weekend and stayed at the Gaylord and had a great time. This year due to scheduling constraints I could only go in for a day. Much was the same; it's a slower-paced event than many comic and anime conventions. There's more focus on just playing games, though there's a strong (but much smaller) contengient of cosplayers who tend to coverge on the upper-level atrium levels. For those used to the very large crowds that find themselves there at Katsucon, MAGFest has enough room to move around. Knowing ahead of time that my stay there would be limited I didn't look much into the specific programing, but got many indications that people were very happy with the convention. In the future I'll have to try to arrange to go for the full weekend again.

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