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June 18th, 1999
Location: Rochester, MN
Host: Carl Forhan

JagFest '99 Through My Eyes

- By Micah Rowe

The following is my detailed story trying to get to, and ultimately attending jagFest'99.

So I finally made it to June 18,1999. it was time for JagFest! I woke up at 4:30 in the morning so I could pack the car and hopefully get a good start on the trip of about 80 miles. Everything would have went smoothly if only my brother would have not forgotten his TV at his home. We were planning on leaving my house at 6:00am so I told him to be on time at my house. Not only does he show up 25 minutes late but, like I said, brings jag but no TV! I'm in disbelief because he lives 15 miles from me and 6:30am is rush hour here in Mpls. I was so mad we had to go back to his home first I don't think we talked till we were 10 miles from Rochester. It ended up not mattering but I finally arrived at the location around 8:30.

So I finally get to the right Holiday Inn (I went into the first Holiday Inn I saw on Broadway thinking there could only be one Holiday Inn on Broadway, but upon entering thought something wasn't right when it was WAY too ritzy, but went ahead anyway and asked the front desk "Where is JagFest being held at?" They had no idea what I was talking about so I excused myself and drove down Broadway a little further to find the right place.)

I entered through the front doors and immediately saw a large room with TV's and Atari banners. HONEY, I'M HOME! I entered the room and was immediately greeted by Carl Forhan. It was very cool to put a face to the name and founder of Songbird Productions. I and my just forgiven brother began to unpack the car and put my TV and Jags on the table right next to Kevin Manne's table. I had never met Kevin but have seen many pictures of him from previous JagFest's so when he approached to say hi I immediately said "Kevin!" like I knew him for many years. Very wierd.

Before too long it was 10:00 and the fest had officially begun. After maybe a half an hour I was thinking that I should link up Doom for a little fun but was unsure if it would be appropriate when I saw some young children already in attendance. I went ahead anyway with the deathmatch setup and came to the realization that these "young children" were very good at Doom. Almost too good. In fact I was reluctant to deathmatch with them for fear of being humiliated. So I played it safe and watched others play their games. One of these young children turned out to be Scott Walters 7 year old son.

It really began to get fun when I began to meet other attendees that I've seen posting at JI. It was very cool meeting Kevin, thought Dan Loosen was very cool and his friend from Milwaukee, Max (can't spell your last name) was very friendly. It was a pleasure to meet Dan Lacovelli from AVC and put an order in for the FREE JagFest newsletter! Clay Haliwell amazed me by pouring in over 420,000 points in Zero-5, easily winning that competition. I try to be modest but I was very lucky and did have success with the Tempest2000 and Breakout2000 competition.

Carl finally let us see and play Protector and I was very impressed despite totally sucking at it. I need a good month with a game before I get the hang of it. Not to my surprise, my success with Battlsphere didn't go much better. I would end up flying in the completely wrong direction I was supposed to go and even ended up firing upon (and destroying) my own star base or something like that simply because I had no idea what to do. Give me a manual and the game for 2 months and I'll be the most dangerous BattleSphere pilot you've ever seen. At least I want to believe that!

To top it off, Carl gathered us all around the big TV to show us a little surprise which ended up being the very cool Skyhammer. It ran fast, smooth, great soundtrack, non-linear gameplay, everything you could like in a game. By the time the Fest was nearing its end, I started to get very tired and had trouble sitting and playing games endlessly. So I'd play for 15 minutes then walk around aimlessly and boy was that ever fun! :-)

I almost forgot that Carl forced me to be interviewed and I reluctantly agreed to make a fool of myself. I really do hate cameras as I never seem to look good in them. Upon further review I think I need to diet or something. What a mess!!!

So the night came to a close and I sadly packed my belongings and packed my car for the trip home. I just may have had the best day I could remember except when my kids were born and the day I was tricked into marriage. The whole way home all I could talk about to my brother is BattleSphere this and Protector that and Skyhammer too! What a day it was. In fact, I had so much fun, I'm going to try to travel any distance to get to the next one.

Sorry for the way too long story
Micah (ETHunter)

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