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BASIC Piano Melodies Series – 10 Year Anniversary November 13, 2019

Posted by coolmikeol in Other/TO.com news.
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“This video is to show how to play the basic melody of this song, right hand only. This is meant to be a basic piano video and not a piano skill video. It’s for people who can’t play piano that well, to be able try to play a bit and enjoy piano. I learn the melodies of the songs by ear (meaning I don’t use sheet music) and play them at a slower speed for others to like and learn. There may be some mistakes but hey, no one’s perfect.” – Video descriptions of my piano videos.

The simpler reason I make piano videos; I enjoy anime and music. When I get the melody stuck in my head, I want to be a part of the music. By playing alongside it, I feel I can truly immerse myself in the power and emotion of the song. I make these videos to share my interests to the world, hopefully to reach people who feel the same.

It’s been 10 years since I started this series, and looking back on all those years I’ve progressed and done a lot with it. I’m grateful for all the viewers and feedback that I’ve gotten, whether good or bad, and I don’t plan to stop making these videos any time soon. Let’s look back at how this all got started, as well as how I make these videos, for anyone who’s curious anyways.

History

On a whim on Sept 26, 2008, I made a quick little video for YouTube using nothing else than my first laptop’s built-in webcam. It was me playing the melody of the Negima anime opening theme “Happy Material”, the first anime that got me into non-mainstream anime that wasn’t readily available in the US.

Over a year later on November 13, 2009 I made a piano video that would become the first of my Piano Melodies Series. As I was watching through the Shakugan no Shana series, I decided to play some of the melodies from the songs from the anime in a single video, hence the name “Basic Piano Melody”.

The style of my piano videos for those first few years was to play and record multiple melodies from either a single anime series or theme. As I could only record at the college’s piano rooms and not at home due to not having a great setup for it there, it took time to get the footage. Which meant I was consistently putting out Basic Piano Melodies videos every month or so.

A couple of years later, I changed how I produced my piano videos to both ease production and decrease the time needed to produce videos by making each one focus on one song, rather than multiple. This allowed me to produce piano videos more often with better quality, which in turn increased views and subscriptions. This was the transition to the Basic Piano Melodies videos. A couple more years later, not much changed except that I wanted emphasize the BASIC part of my piano videos. I now capitalize the word “BASIC” in my BASIC Piano Melodies videos, as I have mentioned in all of my piano video descriptions that I am in no means a good piano player, just someone who enjoys music and tries to share that by using my play-by-ear skill to transcribe the melody into its simplest form.

This was generally how I used to record my piano videos, later upgrading to a Canon EOS Rebel T3.

The hardest part of the process of creating my piano videos wasn’t really the practicing of the melody or editing of the videos. Rather it was just having a convenient place to record them. I didn’t have a decent enough set up at home that I wanted to use for recording, and I wanted to stick to a real piano as long as I could. From the beginning up to the end of 2017, I used piano rooms available at my local college campus, but as time went on it became harder to use them, due to a combination of policy changes, and me no longer being a student there.

Synthesia

Starting last year onwards, I finally made the leap from recording real piano footage to recording MIDI for the digital keyboard program Synthesia. This made things a lot easier for me, as I could finally do everything from home. I was already using my keyboard, a Yamaha PSR-170, for practicing and recording MIDI to create sheet music. I used to use a program called MidiPiano to record the MIDI for the longest while, but more recently found a much better software called MidiEditor. Switching MIDI programs allowed me to more accurately record as well as do minor edits to the sequences already done.

Creating the Videos

Since then, not much has changed. Whenever an anime song sticks in my head, I have an urge to play the melody out on my keyboard. A little practice later, once I’m confident that I can play it though, I connect my keyboard to my laptop and record the MIDI. I listen to the TV size version of the anime song using earphones and play alongside it. Once I have a good take recorded, it’s on to creating the actual video footage. I switch over to my desktop where I use Synthesia to play out the melody. I record Synthesia using Fraps, to create both an original speed and slower versions. I also then create the title cards for the BASIC Piano Melody videos with the paint.NET program, using either album or anime related artwork alongside the main info of the video.

With the assets recorded and created, it’s time to put the video together. Using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5, I edit it all together as you see them in my videos, though in the old days (The first couple years) I used good old Windows Movie Maker. They’re then uploaded to YouTube; most of the info in the video description is from a template that I copy from previous piano videos, I just change the parts that I need to for each one. The same mostly goes for the video tags, listing all relevant items, and copying it for their Piano Tutorial counterpart.

That’s pretty much the whole process I go through to make this content. One thing though that I should be doing more after uploading is advertising it on my social media. I tend to forget to post them on Facebook and such, and sometimes when I do remember a few days after, I feel that posting it late lacks relevancy to the original time of uploading. It may not help much, but any help is better than none in getting the word out that a new video is out.

Feedback

Feedback from viewers and subscribers is always something to expect from making YouTube videos. And while a great amount of them are positive, the negative ones I either think of them as constructive or just missing the point of the video. I get a bunch of comments mentioning how poor my piano playing is, and that is true. It’s not like I’m hiding it, or that I’ve mentioned about it in every video description. These piano videos are BASIC, and always will be. Maybe they’re trying to help me, but I’d rather not try to compete with other anime pianists on YouTube, as I don’t see much people do what I do.

As for when people make requests for certain songs I should do, as much as I would like to indulge them, I usually only do songs that I get into sync with. Most of the time the songs I do are new ones that are part of the current anime season, or ones from a favorite artist/anime series. If a request aligns with that then I’ll probably consider doing it for a video.

 

The Future

I don’t have a grand plan for improvement or expansion, but I will keep this series going as long as I’m able or willing to. I may not have the viewership that I used to have in my prime years (2014-2016), but recently I’ve had a bit of an uptick of viewers so I know that my content is still relevant to what some people want to watch. I guess this piano series is tied to my love for anime as well, as the majority of the songs I do are from them. The only way things may wind down with these videos is if I start to stray from anime, but I don’t see myself doing so any time soon. As small as my channel is on YouTube, I will always be proud of the piano videos I make, regardless of how unprofessional my piano playing is. These are made for people like me, someone who enjoys these kinds of music and wants to try to play them on piano but doesn’t have much experience doing so. Starting with the BASICS from me, taking that first step, you can learn to see if it’s something you want to do. If you want to go to the next level, I will gladly recommend other YouTubers who also make fantastic anime piano videos.

Summer Anime Season 2019 – Review September 29, 2019

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This anime season probably had the most animes I’ve watched from a season. A few of them are popular ones, a couple are short anime series, and others were either straight up strange or underrated. Overall it was a good mix of the good and alright, the serious and the comedy. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.

Dr. Stone

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka II

Enen no Shouboutai

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2

Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?

Kimetsu no Yaiba

Sounan Desu ka?

Tejina-senpai

Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator

Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka?

Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai.

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.

This show was a roller coaster of young emotions, revolving around the thoughts of relationships and sex. “The girls in a high school literature club do a little icebreaker to get to know each other: answering the question, “What’s one thing you want to do before you die?” One of the girls blurts out, “Sex.” Little do they know, the whirlwind unleashed by that word pushes each of these girls, with different backgrounds and personalities, onto their own clumsy, funny, painful, and emotional paths toward adulthood.” – MAL.net

Due to each girl’s situation, they are all at varying levels of experience when it comes to this taboo topic. Reading about it, observing others from a distance, and imagining it can only get you so far. Actually experiencing the good and bad, the happy and sad moments of pursuing a relationship and what comes from it is the only way to know for sure how it feels for yourself. I’m not just talking about the sex part, but all the thoughts and emotions that lead up to that moment when you open yourself up to that. Personally I’ve not been at that point, but I can at least understand how the characters from this anime felt. Emotionally so much so that I’ve watched this a few episodes at a time rather than all at once. (Normally I keep up with animes on a weekly basis, but because I started this when a few episodes were already out, I watched it in chunks.) I found out that Mari Okada is responsible for this work’s script, as well as others such as AnoHana, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Nagi no Asukara, and Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms to name a few. Guess that explains why I was so into this show. I’ll look forward to future Mari Okada works in the future now that I’ve realized that I love her style of animes; they really absorb you into the story’s emotional themes.

—–

Dr. Stone

One of my favorites of the season, Dr. Stone is all about science. After a blinding green light strikes the Earth and petrifies mankind around the world, Senku awakens thousands of years later to find that we’re back in the stone age. As a man of science, he is determined to bring civilization back from stone to modern age in record time, as well as figuring out the cause of the petrification. We’re at the halfway point in the season, and I’ve enjoyed every episode so far. Each one takes a step towards Senku’s goals of using science to bring everyone back. Whenever he reinvents a new technology, it makes you appreciate what we have now and realize how far we have come from the days of old. (The scene of the creation of the light bulb filament and powering it on using a hand crank generator, I had a tear in my eye from that.)

I’ll say that initially I was a bit off-put by some of the looks of the characters in the beginning, namely Taiju and Yuzuriha, but the art and animation grew on me. I’m somewhat glad that those two were put on a supporting role away from Senku, but I’m wondering what’s happening with them in the Tsukasa Empire. I know we’ll find out in due time, but the fact that we’ve seen barely anything of the anti-science side bothers me somewhat.

Overall, I’m definitely looking forward to more Dr. Stone, which I feel is a breath of fresh air in terms of anime shows. It’s not a high school anime, or an isekai, or something magical/supernatural. It’s something new (to me at least).

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Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?

If you can’t tell by the title, this anime series is all about working out; Specifically in a gym and exercising using real proper techniques. I think it best to drop the synopsis here for context:

“Sakura Hibiki is your average high school girl, with a voracious appetite. Noticing her clothes tightening in lieu of her slowly expanding waistline she decides to look into enrolling in the nearby gym. There she runs into a girl from her grade named Souryuuin Akemi. Akemi, who has a muscle fetish tries to get Hibiki to enroll in the gym despite its high ratio of macho men. Thankfully a beautiful trainer, Machio, appears and unknowingly convinces her to enroll and start her quest to a great body.” – MAL.net

It’s a pretty standard story for an anime, and one for why people probably join gyms as well. As basic as it is, I really enjoyed this show even though I don’t workout at all. First thing, they really nailed the exercise/workout information, showing how to exercise in the proper manner and explaining the benefits of doing so. As mentioned, I don’t workout (which sometimes I feel I should with my scrawny arms) so I wouldn’t know if the info from this show was actually accurate, but I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt. If there was any inaccurate info, I’d bet people would have commented about it, but so far I’ve not seen anyone complain. I also like how the show would make fun of itself. For example in the beginning, Machio’s appearance would command attention, especially when he would rip through his clothes with his muscles. As everyone got used to it though, no one would even take note, something that the characters would comment on. Coming off of this example, the fan service was also fairly tame. I got used to the obvious attention shots that was to show the results of a certain exercise.

I always like seeing who is the voice behind the characters, recognizing the popular or veterans of the seiyuu industry. I was surprised when I researched who voiced Hibiki Sakura, Ai Fairouz, a relative newcomer to the seiyuu industry. On her MAL.net page, it only shows this sole role, making me believe that this is her first major work that she has worked on as a Egyptian-Japanese voice actress. (Her official website shows she has worked on several other anime prior to, mostly in minor roles.) What’s impressive is that she doesn’t sound new, having a decent vocal range and emotion. She also performs the opening theme for the show alongside Kaito Ishikawa (Machio) which gave her singing experience as well. I’m looking forward to what future anime voice roles she’ll play as.

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Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka II

In this second season of DanMachi, there wasn’t much dungeon exploring but more of Bell picking up girls, as in adding more to his harem so to speak. Story wise this season had two main things going on, the Apollo Familia Battle and the Ishtar/Haruhime arc. As this was a 12 episode season, there wasn’t much time to really develop these stories, as I felt like while more was done to explore the town and the familias, Bell and company didn’t really grow their characters. On a positive note, I did feel that animation wise it was as good as this anime could get. A third season has already been announced, also hinted if you watched the last episode of this season to the very end. I do plan on watching it in hopes that DanMachi gets itself back into its dungeon roots.

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Enen no Shouboutai

Fire Force is one of the hot animes to hit this season, one of the reasons is that this series comes from the same creative mind that created the popular series Soul Eater. With excellent animation and backstory, Fire Force has gained many viewers but it’s not without flaws. My main concern is the portrayal of the women in this series. At first we are introduced to Maki and Iris, who are both part of the SFFC 8. They are shown doing their respective roles within the group, with some mild fan service thrown in, typical of what to expect in the first few episodes of a new series. Later down the line we meet Tamaki and Hibana, both who are also involved in fan service in their own ways; Tamaki being the unfortunate target of a “lucky lecher”, and Hibana who rules over her men in a sadistic manner. Most of the serious spotlight goes to Shinra the self-proclaimed hero as well as to the other male members. Look I’m fine with fanservice, but not when it seems like the only use for a character is strictly for fan service.

Right now we’re 11 episodes in to this 24 episode long season show, the next episode to show after a two week hiatus transition into the Fall Anime Season. This is the second hiatus Fire Force has taken, the first was when the Kyoto Animation Arson Fire took place back in late July. Don’t know if this will hurt Fire Force in terms of viewers (combination of people forgetting about it for new incoming anime), but I do hope that the producers are using this extra time to turn things around in this second half of the season. This show has potential, but has yet to show that it will take advantage of it.

—–

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2

Season 2 of Takagi-san felt more or less like season 1 did, at least in the first half of it. I’ll admit that sometimes I did find myself falling asleep during the slow times during the first few episodes, but I always went back to watch the stuff I’d miss from that. Towards the end of this season though, you could feel that Nishikata was starting the develop feelings that would go beyond his meekness. The moment that he finally decided to ask Takagi out to the festival (without a reason to get back at her for her teasing) felt like a win for both sides. This show continues to be a cute little story about young love growing from the small moments in life.

As an extra note, there was a scene that hints that Takagi and Nishikata do get together/married in the future, an older Takagi looking back an a photograph of them as kids. I am aware that they do actually get married and have a kid, all thanks to spoilers that many people have mentioned in comments sections, even if it was obvious that it would be the case. Whether or not we’ll see an anime based on their future life together I don’t know, but the end of this season would be a good segway to that if they wanted to move the story forward.

—–

Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?

This romcon explores different fetishes as each girl that our MC Keiki knows has a quirk she’s interested in. To name a few there’s the masochist, sadist, fujoshi, lolicon, and exhibitionist. After finding a love letter addressed to him with nothing more than a pair of panties left as a clue as to who it was from, it’s up to Keiki to sniff out the truth from the girls around him who he suspects could be his “Cinderella”.

Despite the synopsis, the fan service scenes that are expected are short and tend to mostly be tame, though as tame as it can be to have a PG-13 rating (on MAL.net anyways). The story isn’t deep, as it seems to focus on a girl or two every episode. And while the girls are fine and all, the same cannot be said about our main protagonist. Keiki wants a normal relationship with a girl, something he won’t get with the girls who he’s surrounded with. He’s not dense, but he’s nothing really special either. I guess the reason why that’s so is that he is suppose to be the all around nice guy, who would be compatible with anyone who is nice in return. It wouldn’t be the same if he had his own fetishes that didn’t mix well with another’s. At the very least, while the girls have their interests, they don’t indulge in it all the time, knowing that time and place means everything for a healthy relationship.

I won’t spoil who the Cinderella is as Keiki figures it out quite brilliantly, but this anime overall, as kinky as it may sound, explores the hidden tastes that loom in peoples’ bodies as well as the amount of respect and trust one must have to willingly tell others about it. I personally though this was an OK series, but there are other romcom series that entertain better.

—–

Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer has finally ended its first season, and boy has it been entertaining. What’s refreshing about this shonen series is that it’s not just some straight up power house protagonist who yells his way though. Tanjirou has built himself up, all from the sole reason to protect his last remaining family member, Nezuko. He may not be the strongest physically, but his will to fight the odds to turn her back into a human is what makes him truly powerful. He uses his head (figuratively and literally) to plan a means of attack, rather than betting on sheer strength as he knows one wrong move may kill him. And even though Nezuko doesn’t fight for any extended period of time, her contributions to the battle has saved Tanjirou in turn. The beautiful moment when Tanjirou and Nezuko attacked together showed the true power of the Kamado family.

As for the other main characters like Zenitsu and Inosuke, initially I found them a bit annoying because they either had really bad fears or egos. After the battle against the spider demon family, they all got injured quite bad and had to go to rehab for recovery. During their healing Zenitsu and Inosuke calmed down, though Zenitsu was still protesting about things he hated when he could. Inosuke was quiet for quite a while, realizing that he wasn’t as strong as he thought he was. After seeing Tanjirou’s improvements though his recovery training, the two finally decided that they didn’t want Tanjirou to one up them, so they joined him on his Total Concentration Breathing – Constant training, eventually mastering it. With this, the three of them should be significantly stronger, though whether or not this would be enough to take on the Twelve Moons Demons, we’ll have to wait and see.

As mentioned in my last seasonal anime review post about Demon Slayer, this show has the ingredients for greatness. I did enjoy watching it, but something about it just doesn’t make me think its a masterpiece either like a lot of other people think. I can’t describe this feeling, maybe it has something to do with the saying “If it’s too good to be true, then it is.” A movie has been announced for the next arc, Infinite Train, and I will continue to watch this show as it will probably have a new season in the future. Maybe as I continue to watch this my feelings about it will change, but only time will tell.

—–

Sounan Desu ka?

A survival tip themed anime with four anime girls stranded on a deserted island, of course when every episode is a beach episode you’ll also expect some fan service as well. Sounan desu ka? (Are you lost?, also a pun on the phrase “Is that so?”) is a short episode anime series that seems to use real world survival advice. Enjoyable as entertainment and educational too, I found this show to be a light hearted take on the deserted island scenario.

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Tejina-senpai

Magical Senpai is a short episode anime series about boy who stumbles on upon a senpai who loves performing magic tricks, but due to her massive stage fright, always messes up in the most comedic ways. After becoming her assistant (unwilling at first) he watches over her as she practices, often being her audience and receiving the brunt of her failures. This series was one that I’d watch just after watching an episode of Sounan desu ka? as they came out nearly at the same time on Crunchyroll. The entertaining part of this show is mainly from when senpai messes up her tricks while being watched, but it turns out that behind her stage fright is a truly skilled magician. If she ever got over it, she would definitely be one to watch out for, like those magicians who perform to talent shows like America’s Got Talent and the like.

 

—–

Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator

When I first heard that Accelerator was getting his own manga series, it made me hopeful that eventually he would get his own anime similar to Railgun. Our wish was granted this year for the “To Aru” series with both Season 3 of Index and Accelerator’s own anime series based off his spin-off manga. I’m also glad to report that Accelerator’s anime was not rushed like Index 3 was.

A quick synopsis: “Taking place after saving Last Order at the price of much of his power, he is faced with a new conflict in the form of a sinister organization called Disciplinary Action which plots to use Last Order for a dangerous mission. Using his Misaka Network powered abilities, it’s up to the world’s most powerful esper and his newfound companion to protect Last Order and defend Academy City in the process.” – MAL.net

Looking past the star of the show, A Certain Scientific Accelerator wasn’t exactly complex or unique, storywise or animation wise. Unlike Index and Railgun, I felt that the art style was more toned down to a more generic look. It’s not to say that it was bad, more like a noticeable downgrade when compared to its other animated counterparts. The story was also pretty bland too; bad guys intruding on another bad guy’s turf, you know it won’t be pretty, but if you know Accelerator it will always go his way. One thing that bugged me was the fact that the Misaka sisters were pretty much helpless in this, being the damsel in distress. Even when she was saved she barely was ever useful, being just dead weight. Does she not remember that she is a Level 3 electromaster with vast fighting experience from numerous bouts with the number one esper? I would have liked to see her in a better light as a way to show that she’s able to use what she learned to protect herself and others fighting alongside Accelerator.

—–

Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka?

If you can’t tell by the title, this anime is all about mothers in a virtual isekai-like video game. Masato finds himself in a video game that’s designed to get a mother and her child to reconciliate. He meets others in similar situations and helps them with their mother problems throughout his adventure, all the while keeping his own mother at an arms length. Unfortunately he keeps getting himself and his party into a bunch of situations that you definitely wouldn’t want your mother to be a part of, usually ones involving fan service.

I found this anime to be a strange one indeed. Of course it’s because of the mothers aspect, especially how jarring it is to the setting of the show. They try and make it work for the story, but at times it feels forced even though this virtual world is designed for the specific purpose of having mothers and children adventure together. This might work better when the child is of younger age, but it’s just wrong when we have high school age kids with their mothers in a video game setting. With the fan service being cringe worthy at best, this was one that no one asked for except for meme making.

—–

Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai.

This is one of those cute stories about a young child and a parental figure, in this case Latina and Dale. Dale who is a renowned adventurer comes across Latina during one of his beast hunting jobs in a forest. She is alone, dressed in rags, and bears the devils’ symbol of a criminal: a broken horn. Concerned for her wellbeing, Dale decides to ensure Latina’s safety by bringing her to his home, eventually leading to him adopting her.

Just like with other animes with similar premises, this one was all about Latina and her growth. Maybe not much in terms of age, but of mind. She’s bright and pure, who treasures her family and friends. She learns new things fast, and has magical ability due to her demon lineage. She’s also lucky to have Dale who cares for her so much, even though he’s quite young himself. While his job tends to have him leave for sometimes months at a time, his duty is always towards Latina’s care, always thinking about her even when he shouldn’t worry. It would be interesting to see what becomes of them in the future, but I’ve seen some comments with potential spoilers, so I’ll just wait to see for myself if the anime continues.

MAGWest 2019 September 15, 2019

Posted by coolmikeol in Events.
Tags: ,
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“MAGWest spawned from MAGFest, the Music and Gaming Festival currently on the East Coast. MAGWest [2019, Sept 13-15] is a three day event dedicated to the appreciation of video game music, gaming of all types, and the gaming community. MAGWest is the West’s flavor of video game music, gaming, and non-stop party action! The event runs 24 hours a day, and offers consoles, arcades, tabletop, LAN, live video game cover bands, chiptunes, guest speakers, pool concerts, and so much more!” – via MAGWest Website

MAGWest started in 2017, this marking its third year running. I heard about MAGWest during its first year as it was running at the same time as Crunchyroll Expo, just next door to it at a neighboring hotel. This year’s was the first for me to attend, buying my badge way back in May when there was a sale going on. I have friends and acquaintances running parts of the event, so that’s partly the reason for wanting to finally check it out. Being a fan of video games and music is mainly why I went, and it’s easy to see how both come together. Even though the event was three days long I only went on Day 2 (Saturday Sept 14th), as I got the most out of it in a single day. I took photos to show how the event looks, so if you want to check it out see my album MAGWest 2019.


Day 2 – Saturday, Sept 14th

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Looking at the schedule online, there wasn’t much that interested me in terms of panels and events, so there was no rush getting to the venue. I had a friend tag along and so after stopping by a Costco to grab lunch for the day, we got to MAGWest held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in San Jose, CA at around 11:30am.

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As we entered the hotel, you can quickly tell that the event is very much a small one, reminiscent of the first anime convention I attended back in 2011. We picked up our badges and proceeded to check out everything. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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Custom MAGWest video game challenges. Win one, get a prize.

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Saori Kobayashi concert. Never heard of her before, but her music was fantastic. While listening it really got me imagining being in an RPG kind of game.

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Apparently MAGWest didn’t have enough lanyards so this was one of their alternative solutions. There was even a cardboard box asking people to return their lanyard if they don’t plan on returning.

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Overall the event was fun but very small. Because I’m used to much bigger events, I got to see pretty much what the event had to offer in a few hours. I was expecting a bit more people at least, but I guess the combination of it being in a hotel away from convenient amenities and it also being fan run rather than one with sponsors and whatnot explains it. I did enjoy myself playing the games that we did get to play, but most of the ones that were at the events were either retro games, music/rhythm games, or fighting games. The arcade area was quite small but still packed as many games as it could. Just wish that there was more wiggle room. One of the other lively parts of MAGWest was the pool party complete with music and summer heat. The rest of the areas of the event though tended to only have a few people or were just dead. For example, passing by the panel rooms at times there was only a couple of people sitting in.

I didn’t buy anything at MAGWest, but got a few freebies in the form of deck boxes and card covers that I got from the Tabletop main table that they were letting people take, as they said that they got too much from donations. I did however have to pay a pretty penny for parking ($18), and that’s more than I would pay if I was going to the San Jose Convention Center area for a whole four days as I know where to find cheap parking in that area due to going there every year.

MAGWest 2019 was a fun experience but I think it needs more down the road to attract more people. As it seems to establish itself as a “by fans, for fans” event, I think that catering to a more broader audience would help bring in more people. I know that the theme of MAGWest is primarily about video games with an emphasis on its music, but I think when I say “broader” that it needs a better balance of retro games (console/arcade), modern console games, PC gaming, etc. Yes it had all of this but weighted more towards the retro side. And while I did not mention indie and tabletop games, I felt that as they had their own areas that they were covered fine. I was expecting at least a dedicated PC gaming area with modern games, and not just the LAN area being the only area with PC gaming. The LAN area had spaces for 36 computers, but I only saw maybe 8 set up, and at least four of them was brought in by one guy for retro games such as Quake.

Will I return to MAGWest in the future? I’m not sure, but if I do I’d probably come for just a day like I did this year. If MAGWest can also bring in more guests that would be sweet. I was also thinking that because MAGWest is small, if I wanted to run a panel or gaming event that it would be a good way to practice on smaller audiences if I wanted to go that route. As MAGWest is a offspring event from its parent MAGFest, I’m mildly interested in going to it but I know that would take some dedication in order to do so, as it’s all the way on the East coast. I guess that would be a good excuse to visit Washington D.C. as it’s in the area. Either way, MAGFest/MAGWest is on my event radar now, so I’ll look forward to their future endeavors.