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GenreVideo games, video game music
VenueGaylord National Convention Center[1]
Location(s)National Harbor, Maryland
CountryUnited States
AttendanceApproximately 21,000+ in 2018
Organized byMAGFest Inc.,
501(c)(3) non-profit organization[2]

MAGFest (Music and Gaming Festival, originally the Mid-Atlantic Gaming Festival) is an annual festival held in the Washington metropolitan area that celebrates video games and video game music, as well as their surrounding culture. MAGFest's primary features are a large open video gaming room, a hall of arcade cabinets, concerts by chiptune artists and video game cover bands, and a Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) LAN Party.


MAGFest's arcade hall is open 24 hours a day.[3] The exhibition hall contains hundreds of full-size arcade cabinets, and even pinball machines that are donated for the event from local collectors and vending companies. All arcades are set to play for free on admission price, and are monitored 24 hours a day by a maintenance and technical staff. The arcade hall includes specialty lighting, laser lighting, and music to invoke the feeling of a traditional arcade. The game selection ranges from 1970's vintage black and white games, vector monitors games, Cathode Ray Tube games, modern/Indie arcades; as well as contemporary Japanese candy cabinets and Japanese dance/music games like Dance Dance Revolution and Taiko No Tatsujin. Arcades range from various manufacturers like Atari, Nintendo, Taito, Midway, Williams, Capcom, Sega, ICE, Rock Ola, and Exidy. Games that challenge various abilities include driving simulators, shooting simulators, labyrinth games, and others. There are multiple events and tournaments that occur during the event that allow you to challenge dozens of others for prizes. They also host a ten-game tournament that spans the entire event which allows players to openly compete on 10 classic arcade games to work on getting the highest scores possible with the ultimate prize being given to the player who scores the most points total on all games.

There a console hall open 24 hours a day that houses over a hundred televisions and attached game consoles, where guests are invited to play at will and each station's game is periodically swapped with a different one from a game library. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own controllers or fighting game pads to compete with. Consoles range from vintage Atari 2600, Intellivision style games all the way through the years to the most current and up to date Xbox/PS/Nintendo systems and games. Even steam titles are playable and indie game developers have been known to introduce or beta test new games at the events. Tournaments are performed frequently throughout the event on several platforms and game types for prizes.

In 2013 the MAGFest Indie Videogame Showcase, "MIVS"[4] was started. It features between 40 and 60 booths of indie game developers each year. Since 2016 there has been an "Indie Arcade" section, housing new arcade games created by indie developers and artists from around the world. The bulk of these cabinets are curated through Death By Audio Arcade[5] in NY. In 2017 the "Indie Homebrew" sub-section was started, which has featured new indie games that can be played on classic consoles from the 1980s and 1990s such as the Atari 2600, NES, etc...

The concert areas host nightly performances in multiple rooms simultaneously of famous and up and coming bands. Music is themed, but not limited to; Chip Tunes, video game music, and related works. Many luminaries of video game music fan culture have performed at MAGFest. Previous bands include Machinae Supremacy, Earthbound Papas, Minibosses, Powerglove, the NESkimos, the Advantage and Chromelodeon.

Other major attractions include guest panels from the video game industry such as Sid Meier, Jon St. John[6] and Nobuo Uematsu.[7] In addition, the fan remixing community is well represented with sites such as OverClocked ReMix. Filmmakers such as X-Strike Studios, Main Moon Productions, PBC Productions, and There Will Be Brawl have also appeared at the event. MAGFest has also included academic panels such as "Game Studies 101" where attendees were given a basic introduction to the manner in which scholars study video games.

Additionally, MAGFest features DJ battles, a jam space, an open mic stage, a large LAN party environment, a film screening room, a tabletop gaming room, vendors, contests like "name-that-tune," and a video game "challenge booth" where players can "try to tackle insanely difficult gaming feats for prizes of all sorts."[8]


Dates[9] Location Attendance Featured performers
September 27–29, 2002
Holiday Inn Tanglewood
Roanoke, Virginia
265Everyone, The Minibosses, The OneUps
MAGFest 2
October 31–November 2, 2003
Clarion Hotel
Williamsburg, Virginia
375The Minibosses, The Smash Bros., Wave Theory
MAGFest 3
October 1–3, 2004
Clarion Hotel
Williamsburg, Virginia
500Inheretics, Chromelodeon, The Jenova Project, The Minibosses, The NESkimos, Temp Sound Solutions, The Smash Bros., Wave Theory
MAGFest 4
January 13–15, 2006
Doubletree Hilton
Charlottesville, Virginia
750The Minibosses, The NESkimos, Parasprinter, Powerglove, Search Snake, The Smash Bros., Sprite Slowdown, This Place Is Haunted, Wave Theory
MAGFest 5
January 4–7, 2007
Sheraton Premiere
Vienna, Virginia
950Armcannon, Chromelodeon, Parasprinter, Powerglove, The Smash Bros., Temp Sound Solutions, This Place Is Haunted, Wave Theory, Year 200X
MAGFest 6
January 3–6, 2008
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
1050The Advantage, Armcannon, Powerglove, Select Start, The Smash Bros., Temp Sound Solutions, This Place Is Haunted
MAGFest 7
January 1–4, 2009
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
1350Armcannon, Armadillo Tank, Entertainment System, The Megas, Metroid Metal, A Rival, Rare Candy, Temp Sound Solutions, The Smash Bros., This Place Is Haunted,[10] Year 200X
MAGFest 8
January 1–4, 2010
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
2200Armcannon, Armadillo Tank, Entertainment System, The Megas, Metroid Metal, A Rival, Rare Candy, Select Start, Temp Sound Solutions, The OneUps, The Smash Bros., This Place Is Haunted,[10] brentalfloss
MAGFest 9
January 13–16, 2011
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
3000+ (Capped)The Protomen, The Minibosses, The OneUps, Metroid Metal, Armcannon, Bit Brigade, The Megas, Year 200X, X-Hunters, Entertainment System, This Place Is Haunted, Rare Candy, DJ Cutman, A Rival, Note!, Powerglove, brentalfloss
MAGFest 10
January 5–8, 2012
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
6100+[11]Earthbound Papas,[7] Armcannon, Bit Brigade, Descendants of Erdrick, DJ Cutman, The Megas, Metroid Metal, The OneUps, Temp Sound Solutions, This Place Is Haunted, X-Hunters, Year 200X, Krieger, Random Encounter
MAGFest 11
January 3–6, 2013
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
9000+Yuzo Koshiro, Armcannon, Benjamin Briggs, Bit Brigade, Blind, brentalfloss and The Cartridge Family, DJ Cutman, Mega Ran, Metroid Metal, Powerglove, Protomen, Rare Candy, The Megas, The OneUps, Those Who Fight, Video Game Orchestra, The World is Square
MAGFest 12
January 2–5, 2014
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
12,000+Machinae Supremacy, The OneUps, Love Canon, Bit Brigade, Urizen, X-Hunters, The Megas, Knight of the Round, Random AKA Mega Ran, MegaDriver, Super Guitar Bros, Those Who Fight, On Being Human, This Place Is Haunted, Armcannon, Rare Candy, LonelyRollingStars, GameChops DJ Battle
MAGFest 8.5
September 12–14, 2014
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
1,500Arm Cannon, Temp Sound Solutions, Professor Shyguy, You Bred Raptors?, Steel Samurai, Eight Bit Disaster, The Protomans, The World Is Square, Those Who Fight
MAGFest 13
January 23–26, 2015
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
17,000+Yuu Miyake, Machinae Supremacy, Yoshihito Yano, The Protomen, Powerglove, Bit Brigade, LonelyRollingStars, The Megas, Random AKA Mega Ran, Super Guitar Bros, Kirby's Dream Band, Viking Guitar Live, Super Soul Bros., Rare Candy, Urizen, On Being Human, The Tiberian Sons
September 11–13, 2015
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
1,345Crunk Witch, Sam Mulligan, brentalfloss, Zantilla, Professor Shyguy, James Landino, Chipocrite, Discocactus, Radlib, Triforce, Quartet, Super Guitar Bros, You Bred Raptors?, Super Art Fight!, Starship Horizons
MAGFest 2016
February 18–21, 2016
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
20,000 + (Capped)Ippo Yamada with Inti Creates Sound Team, Ninja Sex Party, Tupper Ware Remix Party, Psychostick, Bear McCreary, The OneUps, Super Soul Bros, I Fight Dragons, Rekcahdam, Trev Wignall, Coda, FamilyJules7x, Ap0c, Sammus, LIittle Paw, Eight Bit Disaster, James Landino, bLiNd, 2ToneDisco, Mykah, The World Is Square, Metroid Metal, You Bred Raptors?, The Living Tombstone, Note!, Shirobon, Chipzel, Random Beats Showcase
September 9–11, 2016
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
1,3158-Bit Mullet, Bit Brigade, ChronoWolf, DJ Super Sonic, explosion sound, Flexstyle, Insane Ian, Inverse Phase, The Megas, NESkimos, Overclocked University, Search Snake, Stargate, Steel Samurai, The Yordles, You Bred Raptors?, OverClocked ReMix, Super Art Fight
MAGFest 2017
January 5–8, 2017
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
20,000+ (Capped)The Protomen, Triforce Quartet, Makeup and Vanity Set, goto80, cTrix, Awesome Force, Monodeer, DJ Jo, A Rival, Grimecraft, DJ Cutman, The OneUps, Videri String Quartet, Bitforce, nml styl, Richie Branson, Voia, FearofDark, Knight of the Round, Danimal Cannon, Urizen, Machinae Supremacy, The Runaway Guys,[12] Arc Impulse, Mikal kHill, Gemanon, Corset Lore, Creative Mind Frame (AKA 1-UP), (T-T)b, D&D Sluggers, Armcannon, Kadesh Flow, Galaxy Tour Guides, The Returners, Emar, Schaffer the Darklord, Bit Brigade[13]
August 25–28, 2017[14]
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
Santa Clara, California
TBAJason Cirillo, Ben Prunty,[15] Yoga for Gamers, Nino MegaDriver, John Patrick Lowrie, Super Soul Bros, Kirby's Dream Band, Vector Hold, Curious Quail, Space Town, crashfaster, boaconstructor, Extent of the Jam, Myrone, Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett,[16] Richie Branson, The Koopas, Viking Guitar, James Landino, Hyper Potions, and Grimecraft[17][18][19]
MAGLabs 2017
September 1–3, 2017
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
MAGFest 2018
January 4–7, 2018[21]
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
21,600+ (Capped)Amanda Lepre, Auxcide, Cowabunga Pizza Time, Crazy Composers Collective feat. Videri String Quartet, Delorean Overdrive, Dollfin, Double Experience, Dr. Zilog, Hyper Potions, Kirby's Dream Band, LONELYROLLINGSTARS feat Vince DiCola, MC Lars, Magic Hammer, Marshall Art, Master Sword, NNNNNNNNNN, Powerglove, Rare Candy, Retro-Active Live, RoboRob, Sammus, Sci-Fried Shubzilla x Bill Beats, SiIvaGunner, Sonic Adventure Music Experience feat. series composer Jun Senoue, Super Guitar Bros, Super Soul Bros, TORIENA, Tetracase, The Mountain Chiefs, Trash80, Varien, Vic Viper, Viking Guitar Live, Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra, YTCracker, insaneintherainmusic, rainbowdragoneyes, Reid Speed[22]
MAGLabs 2018
September 7-9, 2018
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, Virginia
TBAMeg Eden, Jonathan Bolding, +2 Comedy, Corey Olsen, Content Productions, Kevin Ryan, Wes Johnson, Steven Long, Mike Rosson, Ed Habib, Ryan Amon, Yoga for Gamers, Flabbercasters, VikingGuitar, Thrillkiller, Cowabunga Pizza Time, Crunk Witch, Knight of the Round, LOVE SPREAD, Master Sword, Smoochyface, Steel samurai, Kenzie Black, Chipocrite, NoisyBoys[23][24]
Super MAGFest 2019
January 3–6, 2019[25]
Gaylord National Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
22,200+Takashi Tateishi, Frank Klepacki and The Tiberian Sons, Graz, bryface, don'tblinkoryou'lldie, chibi-tech, HarleyLikesMusic, Blood Code, James Landino, Grimecraft, Ralfington, D*Jadeabella, Kris Maddigan, ConSoul, The Koopa Kids, Bit Brigade, CHROMELODEON, Knight of the Round, MC Frontalot, Please Lose Battle, Danimal Cannon, Ocabanda, Triforce Quartet, Supercommuter, Dethlehem, The Runaway Four, Lex The Lexicon Artist, Curious Quail, Sam Mulligan & The Donut Slayers, Wreck The System, Lame Genie, Mega Ran, Professor Shyguy, Steel Samurai[26]

Super MAGFest 2021 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland.[27]

In January 2021, Magfest announced the resignation of executive director Paul Birtel.[28]


  1. ^ "MAGFest 13: January 23-26, 2015 | MAGFest - Music and Gaming Festival". MAGFest. Archived from the original on 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  2. ^ "MAGFest - What is MAGFest?". MAGFest. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  3. ^ Cantler, Topher. "What you missed at MAGfest 8".
  4. ^ "MIVS 2016 Games List". Youtube. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  5. ^ "Death By Audio Arcade". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  6. ^ "MAGFest 2010 Lineup Released". Wired. November 21, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "From Mega Man To Final Fantasy, Live Video Game Music". Retrieved Apr 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Grogan, Joe. "Recapping MAGFest 8".
  9. ^ "MAGFest Information". MAGfest. Archived from the original on 2009-04-25.
  10. ^ a b "Gaming and Rock: 'THIS PLACE IS HAUNTED' Hosts The 'FINAL VIDEO ARMAGEDDON' This Saturday". Retrieved Apr 1, 2020.
  11. ^ North, Dale. "Magfest X: The best one yet".
  12. ^ "Thrown Controllers Game Show - Magfest 2017". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  13. ^ "MAGFest - Musical Guests". MAGFest. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
  14. ^ "Magwest - Gotta Go West". Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  15. ^ "Ben Prunty will be a Guest at MAGWest". 8Bit/Digi. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  16. ^ Korb, Darren [@DarrenKorb] (5 July 2017). "I'm performing a MAGWest ( @MAGFest ) with @ashbarrett !!! Get tickets here:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "Guests". MAGWest. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  18. ^ "Rockstars". MAGWest. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  19. ^ "MAGWest: The Inaugural Video Game Convention From MAGFest". Con Freaks & Geeks. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  20. ^ "Magfest Laboratories". Archived from the original on 19 Aug 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  21. ^ "MAGFest - 2018 (Official Event)". Facebook. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  22. ^ "MAGFest - 2018 Performers". MAGFest. Official website of the music and gaming festival. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Guests". MAGLabs 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  24. ^ "Bands". MAGLabs 2018. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  25. ^ "Super Magfest". Super Magfest. Retrieved Apr 1, 2020.
  26. ^ "Musical Guests". Super MAGFest 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  27. ^ "MAGFest Is Cancelled". Super Magfest. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  28. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (26 January 2021). "MAGFest executive director resigns after accusations of abusive behavior". Retrieved 2021-11-19.

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