Sadly enough, MAGFest is over but that isn’t stopping us from reminiscing about our favorite moments.
If you were following us on facebook or using the hashtag #npccmag you may have noticed we were scattered quite a bit around the convention. For those of you who are unfamiliar with MAGFest, it is “an annual festival held in the Washington metropolitan area that celebrates video games and video game music, as well as their surrounding culture.” – Wikipedia
This was my second MAGFest (Some members 5th and 6th) and it was an amazing experience. People come from all over the world to nerd out about the things they love and share the passion for those things together like a family.
Since it was a MUSIC AND GAMING FESTIVAL the NPC Collective definitely did the musics. We had 4 main stage sets between the collective, played the Mega Man-athon from 5-10PM on Friday and were scattered through probably 10 other sets between main stage and underground.
Mega Ran, Creative Mind Frame, K Murdock, DJ Cutman and Sammus speaking about different ways they monetize their music
But the true fun was partaking in the convention itself, going to panels… playing in the arcade at 3AM and just hanging with people talking life. If you want to catch some of our performances you can head over to the MAGFest youtube page and Mega Ran also set us up a nice little Spotify playlist for the NPC Collective!
Below is a video with some of the collective’s thoughts on the con!
Creative Mind Frame (1-UP) has come to the end of his Nerdcore Emulation Station journey.
If you’re not familiar with the Nerdcore Emulation Station (NES) series, it all starts with an assault on the entire universe by an evil army who call themselves the “Imagidrains.” (If you are, then skip down below to start reading and streaming!)
In the future, creativity is directly tied to life force which is fervently defended by artistic heroes of each planet.
The king of the Imagidrain army spends decades during a time of peace planning a vicious assault to send his imagination stealing minions to overrun planets in multiple galaxies, which succeeds in overwhelming the heroes who once defended them.
After a mysterious voice teleports the nearly killed heroes to a planet not currently taking the Imigidrain King’s immediate attention (with good reason) , he instructs them that in order to defeat the king, they must first venture through the worlds of Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64. In these worlds they will fight enemies they have never fought before including guardians left behind by the Imagidrain King to keep “visitors” at bay in order to augment their power so they can face off against the evil king.
Eventually the mysterious voice reveals himself to be of interesting relation to the story and they continue on to the Gamecube after freeing the planet guardians and other characters and bringing them along for the journey.
After saving the Gamecube from the Imagidrain army sucking it’s life force out, they are now venturing to the trippy home planet of the Imagidrains… the Dreamcast. While it is a Sega world at heart, it seems to have spread its reach to other systems and brought it back into the home planet, possibly due to the Imagidrains evolving and spreading to other galaxies and systems.
Cover of Nerdcore Emulation Station 3 (N3S)
Join 1-UP and party as he and party venture through this final world to put an end to the Imagidrain strong hold on the galaxy and also make sense of the past of the hero.
PAX!!! An experience I’ve been waiting on for nearly 10 years. Two of my best friends went when we were in high school as kind of a graduation present and I assure you I was happy and jealous at the same time. In the mid 2000s, it became a goal of mine to go to PAX one day and play all of the games.
As of Sept 2016, I can now travel back in time (once I learn time travel) and tell teenage Emmanuel that his goal has been fulfilled and close out with an epic fist bump. Joining up with the NPC Collective and Death*Star, we brought and weekend full of jams, hilarious (and some serious) panels.
Headed to the convention early Friday obviously to scope out the area, grab some grub and develop a game plan after picking up our badges. Because we all have no attention span and because I’m a huge Destiny addict, we ended up splitting up to go do our own things and explore for day one. Word to the wise, if you have the same cell provider as like 70% of the attendees (*Cough* Verizon) you may want to bring walkie talkies because you’re going to have a difficult time connecting to send messages over said network.
Destiny – I played that beta at the Bungie booth like 10 times. It was only a multiplayer map but man it felt good to use the Gjallarhorn again. ESPECIALLY due to the fact that I got mine in year one like two days before Xur finally decided to sell it
* Side tangent I started getting hit up on twitter by a bunch of random people because I had my tagline listed as “1UP @ PAX West” asking me for Union of Light Emblem Codes. I started just giving them out at random to people who were liking a photo I posted and gave a couple out in a random grand giveaway. Heads up… DON’T do that … It’s super aggravating when 100 + people are messaging you sob stories (some being spam accounts) about why you should stand in line for 45 minutes to get them a code for an emblem. *
But back to Destiny. There wasn’t a huge amount of the story revealed this weekend just by playing the multiplayer beta but it was still a lot of fun. Bare minimum I was able to test out a couple of maps and judge the character balancing as far as super negations went. I made it a point to play on the Warlock, Titan and Hunter to get a feel for the potential tweaks. I can say I didn’t notice a huge difference in the multiplayer mode other than hand cannons seemed pretty powerful in comparison to the Taken King (even more than the July damage buff). But then again I could have just been playing against some folks who were super good with hand cannons (ಠ◡ಠ)
1UP handing out thrashings in Destiny
** Other side tangent, Super Soul Bros were there playing right by the booth so it gave some awesome music to destroy folks to. Haven’t seen them since MAGFest so it was really good to get them back in the earholes. **
*** Double other side tangent. Spent too much monies at the Bungie store T_T #worthit ***
Rivals of Aether – This was actually introduced to me at Otakon by Trailer Drake. We played a few rounds in the hotel room a couple of days but I ended up forgetting the name of it until I walked up to the 6th floor (which housed most of the indie games). All I know is:
It was super fun
I played probably 20 + matches
I’m super addicted now and have to Boot Camp my Macbook now because I bought it anyway lol
If you haven’t checked it out, it plays a lot like Smash Bros Melee (SSMB) which IMO was the best one, but it’s all more pixel type 2D character designs. When I say it plays a lot like SSBM, I mean it even plays as fluid as SSBM (if not more fluid). Right now the game is still in early access but you can still purchase it and play, but it’s going to have releases and updates pushed to us until the game is complete. I still think that the playability factor is super high even in beta and TOTALLY worth the money. There were a lot of fighting games on the floor that attempted to emulate the SSBM style but were kind of clunky and not really all that enjoyable so it was nice to be able to come back to Rivals for a refresh.
Virtual Reality Demos – Even though I was there all four days, I actually never jumped into any of the Virtual Reality (VR) demo lines because I hate lines and yeah… I hate lines. I spent a lot more time observing people in all hilarity with their headsets on playing different games. PlayStation had quite a few set areas up with close observation range where you could see the participant and the television display of what they were seeing in their VR headsets. I’m sure even if there were ear buds in they could hear the laughter of joy coming from the crowds. It definitely put the idea and desire of picking up a set for myself, buttttt maybe on second iteration so I don’t have to deal with bugs and issues associated with early adoption syndrome. ^.^
I know that a few of my fellow NPCC squad attempted to get tickets for the Resident Evil VR experience. Which basically handed out all of the daily allotment of tickets within 30 minutes of the convention opening. I looked at that line once and was like “Nope.”
Kadesh taking losses in Tekken 7 😂
Other Stuff – To be honest the stuff mentioned above is what I spent a majority of my time on when it came to gaming. I strolled around a couple of days with Ohm-I and Kadesh Flow to try some games like Elder Scrolls Legends, Classic Gaming Room, Tekken 7, and got some serious education on Trove from Twixler. I will probably end up diving into that game as well soon and destroying my spare time life lol. Oh and Atlas Reactor haha! Ohm-I taught me a few things about that game since he’s like a celebrity there, although I didn’t want to get wrecked playing in front of people so I passed. Link here.
Even though I didn’t get wrecked Ohm-I caught these feet during Dance Dance Revolution T.T (for your viewing entertainment).
MUSIC AND PANELS
NPCC MOB – Saturday was a ball. We played an epic game of rap tag and blasted dopeness to the earholes with Death*Star at the LoFi venue a couple of miles from the convention center. If you haven’t been to an NPCC Mob event it’s pretty hilarious and MAD fun. I don’t mean to toot our horns but… TOOT TOOOT! We basically have a drink or two, pass the mic after a couple of songs and catch our breath something serious (◡‿◡✿). I bumped into Murs for a hot minute at the event before he had to bounce and the universe can be at peace as he is as chill as we all imagine and hope. Instead of writing a bunch about the show I will just share some pics from our wonderful photographer Sayed :
PAX West After Party @ LoFi (Photos by Sayed Alamy)
In addition to Saturday’s show, we fortunate enough to put down a quick set on Friday at one of our homie Mark’s shows and we were sprinkled in through some panels from Friday to Monday (Nerdcore Hip Hop Panel, One Fandom To Rule Them All, Business In Music and Code to Cardboard: How to Draw Digital Addicts to Tabletop) which ranged from fun debauchery to serious and informative with game creators all the way up to the grandfather of Nerdcore MC Frontalot. I will say that it is one thing to go to something celebrating the culture that you genuinely enjoy, but it’s a great feeling to be able to contribute to that thing you love. Much love to C0splay for the epic team up and making 17 and 28 year old 1-UP super happy.
Changing Faces Of Nerdcore Hip Hop Panel (PAX 2016)
So obviously we are at the end meaning it’s time for the unnecessary but usual ranking of the convention.
PAX West gets a 10/10 from me!
Reasons being: Even though there were lines (and I can’t subtract for this because every con and expo has lines), it was extremely well put together. The content was obviously right up my alley 100% so I’m going to be a little biased but it just felt a lot more like a “Hey, we are adults and are here to enjoy the Expo” versus a few that I have been to (and I’m going to sound old for this) where people are like acting an extreme fool in the con exhibit hall. Don’t get me wrong I love to party but I also like to be in the mind to enjoy the thing I traveled to enjoy, and while everyone enjoys the world differently I just appreciated the mature nature in which the attendees immersed themselves in PAX West.
Thoughts from Kadesh Flow:
Kadesh Flow (Photo by Sayed Alamy)
This was my second PAX West trip. It was much better than the first (not that the first was bad), as I was able to engage in more gameplay and attend more panels. The Lo-Fi show was the highlight of the trip. First, I’m still stoked to play a PAX after party. Heck I’m glad to just have chances to go to the convention! But playing an after party? Awesome!More importantly, rocking with homies from Death*Star and my NPCC family is always priceless. 1-Up, Shubzilla, Ohm-I, and I employed a highly effective strategy of running round robin for about two hours. The energy level remained super high, and everyone maintained a fresh and consistent energy as a result.
The biggest shock of the trip was Murs (yes, Murs) coming to the show and clearly enjoying himself. I looked out at him while we were on stage, and he was smiling, vibing out, and filming us!!!! Murs was filming our set! In a packed house. It was a great night and a great trip.
P.S. If you’re wondering where the links are to the things I mentioned before, scroll up… I hyperlink everything
Where to even start? Denver Comicon was an absolute blast. I want to sum up how this convention started with one quote:
“Comic Book Classroom was founded in 2010, a Colorado charitable organization focused on enhancing and improving student’s learning experience through the use of comic book media.” “Denver Comicon.” Wikipedia.Wikipedia.org. n.p. Web
The convention uses the profits and sponsors a nonprofit program that takes place all year called Pop Culture Classroom. Pop Culture Classroom uses comics in classroom environments to increase literacy. I mean I played typing racing games all of the time as a kid and I type 90 words per minute, so I would have to agree that kids learn very well when you wrap the lesson in something that interests them. 🙂
When I first arrived and saw all of the kids there for field trips on a FRIDAY I was a little jealous I won’t lie (then again I was there for a vacation day on a Friday so I shouldn’t complain) and as I read through the program more in depth I thought… “This is mad cool, there are a lot of educational panels! And they’re celebrating teachers all over these signs?! OK DCC I SEE YOU!” For those of you who don’t know me on that level I am a huge believer that we need to increase not only the amount of education we provide to everyone in the world but also the quality of methods we use to relay the information. So when I saw how excited kids were walking over to a “NASA – Women in Science” or “Science of Exoplanets” panel I had already signed off that Pop Culture Classroom / Denver Comicon had my support.
As for any con I perform at, I didn’t get to see as much as I would like to see but here is the rundown for what Kadesh Flow, Mega Ran (Not Meg Ryan) and I smashed into one weekend.
Goosetown Tavern (Thursday):
After some flight delays and really close calls Ryan (Kadesh Flow) and I made it to Goosetown Tavern Thursday night and got to perform with a bunch of cool cats. We had a lot of fun during our set laying some rhymes and jazz down, and we quickly realized that the altitude shift was no joke. We were cramping and out of breath like 6th graders running the mile for the first time in gym class.
I always love seeing Word Burglar perform, he is that dude you watch and you’re like “Man you’re chill, just want to grab a beer with afterwards!”
I have to say I was blown away by Felix Fast4ward’s set… like it was insanely awesome. To describe it would not do it proper justice, but I’m going to try anyway… Watching it I’m going to assume you will probably have that face you make when you hear something so awesome it’s disgusting (Or when you smell something funky). Smooth beats obviously, but the thing that grabbed my ear was not how he used a diverse sampling set of things (from anime themes to the king – Michael Jackson), but the way he used them. The mixes and transitions were so perfectly blended… It was like a perfectly seasoned four course meal with just the right amount of offset in flavors. Unfortunately the delay mentioned above meant we missed most of the acts before us (Adam Selene, An Hobbes), but I was able to catch up with some of my friends from the high school and college days.
I’m used to the Dallas Comicon which is usually kind of low key the first day and partly the last day, which was not the case in Denver. While the attendance was obviously the most on Saturday (with that being the only sold out day) people were SHOWING UP with some of the most intense and intricate cosplay I’ve ever seen. There are no days off and almost everyone I spoke to gave about a three month estimate for the outfits.
Now I know The Dallas Fan Girls spend that much time and more on most of their cosplays but I guess I’m just not used to hearing the central tendency for time spent being that for EVERYONE. I will stick to music lol. Even though it took me forever to get a Gjallarhorn in Destiny I was able to find one in two days in Denver so note to self, whenever the Black Gjallarhorn is released in the next expansion… go to Denver, forget you Xur. Or I guess I could just pre-order (OH WAIT I ALREADY DID).
The NPCC had a handful of slots for the convention spanning from Friday to Sunday on the 5280 stage (located near one of the entrances to the show floor) if you couldn’t tell from our Facebook posts. I was a little bit worried about the acoustics, but the sound crew was on point and were doing adjustments every song for each act to make sure the artists could deliver wonderful music to the ear holes of each attendee. Mega Ran played on Friday after catching a flight from E3 with some backing horns from 1-UP and Kadesh, and per usual his presence was awesome commanded the floor… I mean what else would you expect from a Mega Ran show?
I hopped up onto DJ Alf’s 45 + 1 set right after which is an extremely cool concept if you haven’t checked it out before (don’t worry I’ll link you to one). He invites different artists up during a two hour time block and each artist performs either a jam or a song they’ve already written over a 45rpm record he spins to (artists choice). What we are left with is a wonderful smorgasbord of different genres and styles over some smooth records, and since I’m not the greatest freestyler I went ahead and did my 8-Bit hero song over the instrumental for Wings of Honneamise.
Saturday we were joined by Danimal Cannon for some free roaming of the Con while I basically scoped out things I was going to buy the next day. Lots of really good artwork and crafty things but I was slightly saddened by the smaller “celeb” presence (which I had to remember this is focused on education) in comparison to what I think I’m used to seeing.
But back to the music, I finally got to see an entire An Hobbes set which was cool especially if you’re into story songs like myself. He performed a string of songs off of one of his recent albums in which he focus on just that – telling a string of stories. I won’t get into detail and give any spoilers, but you can check him out here.
It was a great lead in because after he gathered up everyone’s attention we proceeded to steal it before they could leave.
Being our first time at DCC, sometimes I forget in these types of scenarios that people will sit when given the option. If you don’t think this is true… walk around a Con all day and then you can pretend like you don’t salivate when you see an empty chair. We jammed out both Saturday and Sunday (Sunday surprisingly being a larger crowd), I bantered, Kadesh threw some sick trombone down while I tooted the sax and we got to meet some really interesting and fun people from all over the state. Bonus find was we got to hang out with The Fangirls Of Dallas outside of Dallas which I will say it is always nice to have as many friends in the crowd as possible.
We stuck around and see Sunnydale High after talking to them a little bit (also partly because I used to have a huge crush on Sarah Michelle Gellar) and then a little bit of ghostRADIO. I chatted it up a bit with the drummer’s (SDH) family and they were so nice which is always pleasant to get to hear good music while sitting around good people, and then watched a few songs from ghostRADIO and … wow. I know I keep using words like awesome and wow but that’s literally how I need to describe the awesome music I was exposed to this weekend. Contrary to what some people believe I really like rock shows. ghostRADIO was like a mix of Alien Ant Farm, Incubus and Creed’s studio sound (for their instruments only because I’m not going to insult ghostRADIO’s singer like that). High energy, connected with the crowd and had great musical ability – check them out here.
Quickly following we dashed to the Marquis theater to catch Daminal’s set. If you haven’t gotten to see him yet he is as great live as he is mixed and mastered. Not just musical talent but you can almost watch the music flow from his heart into the guitar.
And then stayed to jam our tails off with Teacher-Rapper-Hero extraordinaire… MEGA RAN. I’ve already covered Mega Ran through videos so many times I figure you’re tired of hearing me talk about how great his shows are, so instead I opted to get some words from him and Kadesh about the con and how he felt about everything:
“As a guy who can say he’s seen them all when it comes to cons, I thought I was ready for the Denver Comic Con experience. I was not.
It’s larger, more expansive and more inclusive than most other conventions in the US, and even the world.
First of all, let’s start with the most important side of things to me, music. DCC has a stage that runs all day, every day with nonstop local and national music talent, something I’ve not seen at any other major city’s Comic Con. It’s a great place to sit and escape from the hustle and bustle for a while, as well as hear some new and interesting music.
Outside of that, the atmosphere was welcoming, the staff was helpful, and the people had an amazing time. That makes Denver Comic Con a rousing success in my book. Can’t wait to visit again.”
“I’ve been wanting to get out to Denver and perform for over a year, so the idea of finally having an opportunity to do so — and at Denver Comic Con, at that — was exciting. I have compatriots in the nerdy hip hop community whom I did not know even lived in Denver! Playing with and hanging out with them was an immense pleasure.
Unfortunately, 1-UP and I were too busy doing shows and preparing for shows to really experience Denver Comic Con to its fullest. I’m completely okay with this result, but I do have an unanswered curiosity about the con’s programming. I had no idea the event was so huge. I guess I know now. While I do think the performance space could have been more conducive to a live performance, the sound guys were dedicated and professional, and the opportunity to rock multiple shows was an honor! It’s always a pleasure to make new friends/fans and impress those who see us do what we do. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”
Ok back to me. Sunday I wasn’t really anticipating a large turnout but there were A LOT of people there. I also saw a handful of repeat faces in the crowd which made me feel like we had done something right to bring them back for more!
Post set I rounded up some art and trinkets for friends and family (and myself) to support the local scene which was probably the most time I got to spend in artist alley. It’s bitter sweet because I got some really cool stuff, but it’s good that I didn’t spend more time there aka send more money than I needed to. But I did score some sweet Power Rangers socks and you all know how much I love them rangers.
The Round Up:
Middle Photo : MarkDago
Overall I give Denver Comicon an A. If you’ve ever been to one of my shows I’m all about quantifying everything including how I feel about things… just less ambiguous that way.
The amount of unique talent and art they bring in paired with staying on track with a goal that benefits the larger Denver community year round puts them on a level that a lot of people just can’t touch. On top of that the stage manager was very accommodating, always reachable and communicated all updates to us very VERY quickly. There isn’t much else I can ask for from a Con.
Got to see my friends, play multiple shows with my friends and had another excuse to go to a Comicon I hadn’t been to before!
I can’t wait to go back and it’s definitely worth it if you have yet to attend.