Step 1: Decide to do a thesis on videogames.
Step 2: Decide you NEED to do interviews in person at a convention.
Step 3: Attempt to get this need across to your university’s research funding agencies.
Step 4: Somehow get them to agree with you.
Step 5: Profit.
Could I have put together a thesis without MAGFest? Probably. Would it have been nearly as fun? Not a chance. My uni paid for my entire trip: flights from LA to DC and back, a room at the Gaylord (!!!), a stipend for food and other transportation, and basically everything else I could need. In return, I actually had to interview people, but generally, I was able to enjoy the con—and boy did I.
Let’s get business out of the way before I give you my highlights of MAGFest 2018. I’m ethically not allowed to show you any data I collected or identify anyone I interviewed, but just know I got a LOT of really good stuff. I met so many awesome people and everyone was really receptive to being interviewed. If any of you happen to be reading this, thank you so much for being so awesome and dealing with a very shy, nervous introvert who for some reason decided interviews would be a great idea for a thesis. You all rock.
Alright. Now for the fun stuff. I’m just gonna bulletpoint the highlights and throw a bunch of pictures in. This is very stream of consciousness, so bear with me.
Day 0 – Wednesday
- Arriving at the Gaylord at 5pm after being on a plane since 6 AM (curse you, time changes and long flights!) and immediately running into Chuggaaconroy and MasaeAnela in the lobby, along with some other cool dudes. Talking with Chugga about our recent projects (finally got to the battle he was referring to in his Pokemon Black/White LP, and he was right—it was pretty crazy) and lamenting with Masae that I won’t see her in July at Anime Expo (did I mention I’m going to Japan?!).
- Meeting my awesome roommates in person for the first time (Ty, Betsy, Zach, Ando, Moot, and everyone else). It was a real party in our rooms and they made the weekend awesome!
Day 1 – Thursday
- Seeing my gurl Adriana and us being sad that Noelle wasn’t here to share MAGFest with us this year, hence our sad selfie.
- Going to see The Last Jedi with NintendoCapriSun (Tim) and backstar432 (Mark) because I complained on Twitter that none of my family would see it with me and so they adopted me, took me to dinner, then to the movie theater WITH RECLINING SEATS.
Day 2 – Friday
- We played a lot of videogames on Friday—on our Switches, 3DSes, and phones. I did my first Pokemon GO raid with Tim and we both caught it, which was pretty sweet. Tim managed to capture our triumphant victory faces.
- Along the same vein, getting to sit in the first two rows at arguably one of the most exciting Runaway Guys panels ever—the tiebreaker had everyone on the edge of their seats! It was so much fun and the people around me were great. (BTW, there was a familiar face among the contestants! I couldn’t get a good picture from where I was sitting, but GameCola’s very own Anna Bryniarski was tied for first for a bit! Super proud.)
Day 3 – Saturday
- Running into Chugga again in the merch hall randomly and having him remember my joking tweet that he should teach me how to actually be good at Xenoblade 2, and HIM ACTUALLY SPENDING LIKE THIRTY MINUTES TEACHING ME and also explaining stuff that’s been changed since he played the early release. It was kind of an incredible experience and since he was the one that actually got me into Xenoblade, I think I was kind of in shock the whole time. But I definitely wouldn’t have made it through the game without his tips.
- SEEING THE SNORLAX AGAIN.
- Seeing the lovely Lady Lucahjin in the merch hall and talking with her about Ace Attorney, Nancy Drew, and her amazing America’s Next Top Model LP. And don’t worry, her selfie game is as strong as ever. Meeting one of my huge inspirations is always super overwhelming for me—I can only hope I wasn’t too awkward. Now if only I can get her to back off my man…
- Going to my friends’ panel that night, which was super fun! They had a mini adventure trivia game going, and aside from a near fight over whether “ace attorney” can be considered an occupation (I’ll forgive you this once, boys), it was a really great time.
- Perhaps because we were inspired, trooping up to a hotel room with most of the same group to watch the Ace Attorney live action movie to end our last MAGFest night.
Day 4 – Sunday
- Experiencing extreme sadness because MAG was overrrrrr.
There’s more that happened, of course: shopping trips, the arcade, watching challenge runs and all that, but I think I’ve hit all the high points. Note that I may have 100% gotten specific days wrong; it all kind of happened in a blur, but I tried to base it on the outfits I’m wearing in my pics. I love MAGFest with all my heart—being able to see all the people I love only once a year is hard, but it also somehow makes the weekend so much more special. I’m already counting down till next year…do you think law school would pay for a MAGFest adventure?