What’s MAGFest? A guest blog about one of National Harbor’s most immersive events.

National Harbor welcomes MAGFest from January 2-5 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. MAGFest, which stands for “Music and Gaming Festival”, is a celebration of video game music, the gaming community, and gaming of all types. Being the country’s largest video game music events, MAGFest is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for people of all ages and fandoms.

The festival is as diverse as it is non-stop for 84 hours, featuring some of the following incredible experiences:


  • Over 40,000 square feet full of freeplay arcade and pinball machines: Spanning from the arcade classics of the 70s and 80s to important Japanese rhythm games, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And all 300+ games are free to play with only the price of admission to MAGFest!
  • Starship Simulators and Battlepods: Live life as a space captain or a loyal crew member with spaceship bridge simulators! From battling the Romulans to the Empire, or even fighting in a Battlemech in futuristic war, the heat is non-stop and exciting in this unique battle simulation!
  • Virtual Reality Gaming: Ever wonder what the real future of gaming looks like? With VR, immerse yourself in a totally virtual world, complete with full body tracking and unbelievable visuals. Imagine facing off against Darth Vader, taking out enemies in slow motion like Neo, or rhythmically slashing away at virtual beats with two laser swords.
  • Console Gaming: You can play on hundreds of video game consoles, all the way from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Switch. MAGFest has all of your favorite systems, along with hundreds of games to try out with friends, or veg out with a single-player focused game. There’s always time for a little Mario and Mega Man.
  • -MAGFest Challenges: Easily one of the most unique MAGFest experiences you can have is with our renown “Challenge Boxes”, where you’ll be able to conquer classic video game scenarios with a new twist. These gaming remixes feature scenarios like simultaneously beating 3 contra stages, avoiding all rings in Sonic, controlling two karts with one controller in Mario Kart, and so much more! Are you up to the challenge?
  • Endless Tabletop Gaming: We’re talking everything from Dungeons and Dragons tournaments to classic card and board games. With hundreds of games to choose from, you can settle down with Settlers of Catan, conjure spells in Magic the Gathering, or simply get demolished in Dark Souls the Board Game. Bring a group or make new friends in our newly-expansed tabletop hall!
  • Panels and Discussions: Attend panels hosted by industry veterans on a variety of topics, such as “How to Code for Video Games” to a celebration of the Donkey Kong Universe, and much more. The programming schedule is already live, so find your favorites now by visiting magfest.org!
  • Special Guests: Attendees can interact with voice actors such as Wes Johnson (Moe Cronin in Fallout 76), Elisa Melendez (Tyreen Calypso in Borderlands 3), Ellen Lowrie (GLaDOS from the Portal series)  and Jim Foronda (Claptrap in Borderlands 3). Other creators and community favorites include Harumi Fujita (Mega Man 3 composer), Jesse Cox (Video Game producer and creator of “Good Game”), Will Roget (Mortal Kombat 11 composer), Kelsey Lewin (co-director of the Video Game History Foundation) and David Wise (Donkey Kong Country composer).
  • The MAGFest Marketplace: Ring in the new year with a little treat for yourself. Featuring artists, vendors, and so much more, the marketplace is a one-stop-nerd-shop for all the gaming and geekery your poor wallet can handle!
  • Endless Concerts: MAGFest brings over 40 musical acts that perform everything from video game inspired mariachi to the nostalgic blips of chiptune. There’s hard-hitting bands – such as the Protomen, Armcannon, and Powerglove – all the way to the soothing sounds of groups like Videri String Quartet and The David Wise 5. Starting in the afternoon until the late night hours, and with more than five musical stages, the jams will feel endless!

MAGFest attendees can enjoy discounts and special offers at several National Harbor restaurants and stores. Visit nationalharbor.com/magfest for details. For more information on MAGFest and to purchase a ticket, visit super.magfest.org.