Pax 2010: Chiptune Madness

I didn’t expect that I would be attending a music festival and have a remarkable aesthetic experience when I went to Pax.
Dev suggested that we stay on Friday to watch Anamanaguchi, a New York based chiptune band.
After leaving the dismal “Girls and Gaming” I was concerned that we might have missed them. Fortunately, everything was running an hour and a half late.
After sitting through the Protomen, Anamanaguchi was a sweet payoff.

The Protomen were a metal, gamer, fantasy opera. The stage performance was energetic and played well to the audience. When you want to rock a ~5000 person show and have two large screens to project upon, you need strong visuals, because up in the balcony, I’m looking at the screens. The Protomen had a live mix of onstage activity and looping video images. The live video was shaky. The choice of shots, unsteady zooms and bad timing of when to cut away into the loops versus action on stage. I was constantly distracted by mediocre video loops, when there was an interesting narrative on the stage.

Anamanaguchi (A-Na-Ma-Na-Goo-Chi)
As my introduction to chiptunes, I doubt that I could do better. The VJ, Band, Nintendo connection was sublime. The next day at the Magfest Lounge, I was introduced to the idea of chiptunes being a match of dj/band and the vj. This idea of visuals as the vocals of chiptunes resonated deeply within me. I was fortunate enough to talk to a VJ at the Magfest Lounge. He showed me his set up and how he uses a game cartridge from Pikilipita A guest dj from Anamanguchi, Knife City came and brought forth a day time rave. I kid you not, fair readers, the man threw open the doors and called to the people languishing in lines: “Do you want to Party? Do you want to Dance?” He brought the thunder. If I wasn’t so concerned about being cool, I would have danced like a wild woman. Instead, I settled for dancing in my seat. As I quest on to learn more about combining the videogame aesthetic with my future work, I will continue to post.
Below is a video from the actual concert:

PaxEast 2010: Indie Games

At Pax, it was a mishmash of big industry gaming, gamer culture, academic presentations and local gaming scene. For Indie Games, I was lucky to see Meigakure produced by Marcten Bosch. The concept of navigating on four planes of existence to acheive a goal is no small matter.

Concept: You start on one plane and open additional planes, which you navigate by moving blocks and shifting from plane to plane. Your goal is to reach an exit on the other side of the board, but you must activate the other planes and collect power ups along the way.

The comic, XKCD somehow distills some of the more mindbending aspects of the game. I’m looking forward to when this ships.
XKCD - Miegakure