I Survived JagFest 2001
By Micah "ETHunter" Rowe
The story goes something like this...
As some of you were aware, I got a kidney stone
"attack" just 2 days before I was to leave for JagFest.
I really shouldn't have gone with the risks of things going bad
not just hundreds of miles from home, but also carpooling with
Carl Forhan from Rochester. But being the hardcore Atarian that
I am, no stone was going to prevent me from attending the fest
I had waited anxiously for so long. You would think that things
could only get better when we made it to Milwaukee. Not exactly.
When we got into Milwaukee at about 8:00pm,
Carl and I first went out Motel to check in, check out what our
rooms looked liked, etc. Carl wished the rooms were a little nicer,
but I didn't care what they looked like, I was just happy to be
there. Unfortunately my opinion of our place took a 180 degree
turn within a short 24 hour period, but that story will come later.
After checking out our Motel, we went to the
place Jagfest was being held at. Carl brought a full van of systems
and software and needed to get a head start at setting up the
table Friday night. I think we got done setting up everything
around 1:00 am Saturday and called it a night while Dan, Gary
and Max hung around till 3:00am setting up all of their belongings.
The fest itself was very well done. The amount
of work The Goatstore put into the event to make it successful
was remarkable. The turnout was also very impressive, with more
than 80 attendees for the day. Several tournaments were going
on throughout the day, unreleased games like Brett Hull Hockey,
Total Carnage, BHH CD, Phaze Zero were on display, prototypes
such as the JagVR and AvP Lynx were playable and we even managed
to get a 10 BattleSphere network going.
The tournaments were agonizing to say the least.
For instance, the rules for the Tempest 2000 competition was the
starting point at level 61. Ouch! If that didn't hurt bad enough,
I lost to Fard by a lousy 1,000 points! I choked when I knew I
was closing in on his score and let my excitement get the best
of me. The starting point was a little extreme as only 3 players
actually completed level 61, while the other 10 were done in just
seconds. Other tournament favorites such as Combat, Ponx, Ram
It, and the big BattleSphere network were a ton-o-fun!
But playing games is only a small part of what
made this JagFest so cool. It was very cool meeting all the JI2
users, seeing again those I met at JagFest '99, and meeting several
I had never seen before. It's always interesting putting a face
to the name. Nice to see guys like Kevin Mosley, Ted Rusniak,
Clay Halliwell, Clint Thompson, Fard Muhammad, Chad Tindle, Randy
Femrite and his wife, Jason Data, Terrance Williams, Dan@AVC,
Eric Armstrong, Max and the Goat crew, Dan and Gary. As you can
tell, several JI2 guys were present and every single one of them
were a pleasure to meet.
During the fest, Carl showed off the soon to
be released Protector SE _WITH_ the CD bypass built in. Using
that cart, he loaded Brett Hull CD on a normal JagCD. With that
device, the possibilities are plentiful for new software to be
released far into the future and at a low cost not just for the
developer, but also the buyer. As for Protector SE, the game,
very impressive! The updated graphics have been done nicely...so
nicely in fact that some wondered if there are additional layers
of scrolling. Not the case, according to Carl, but it appears
that way due to the more colorful background. All you guys should
be saving your nickels for this one! The gameplay tweaking really
makes this game playable for everyone, not just the defender junkies
What probably caused the largest amount of excitement
to this years Jaguar festival was the BS network. It took about
a dozen tries to get all ten systems to hook up with one another.
We continued to have problems with one console. The problem was
fixed when we realized the phone cable we had connected to the
Catbox was a different type. We all applauded when all ten systems
finally entered the network.
We played only Free-for-All, setting the kills
on 10 and went at each others throats. I took the first 2 victories,
with Fard coming in 2nd each time. Then Fard took the next 2 victories
with myself coming in 2nd. It appeared when the tournament was
to begin that it was going to be a dogfight between The UA and
ETHunter. Unbelievably, a pilot that never played BS before won
the tournament! Obviously, he lucked out by not constantly being
targeted by the BS experts! Having ten players together, it's
hard to keep track of everyone that may be quietly getting kills
while staying out of harms way. Grrrrrr!
With the initial problems of getting everything
to work, the tournament wasn't over and the fest near closing
till after 11:00pm. Exhausted, we all packed our stuff while visiting
with others till after 1:00am. Fard missed his bus back to Chicago
and had to wait until 3:30 for the next departure. With a long
wait at the bus terminal, I told Fard he could come to my place
and get a cab in a couple hours to take him to the bus. Fard accepted
my offer, and this is where it gets wierd.
We got to the Motel and went to my door with
my key in hand. Trouble was, my key couldn't get into the lock!
I went the the office...CLOSED! But a caretaker of the facility
saw Fard and myself standing outside and asked if he could be
of any assistance. After say "you're screwed, dude!"
when inspecting my lock, he attempted to pry the lock open when
we heard someone yelling from inside my room! We told him to open
up since that was not his room, but he countered saying it was
indeed his room, the front desk giving him the keys. Now the guy
said I have no chance to get my room back now, and all I can do
is call the emergency number located on the door. So Fard, Carl
and myself are standing outside, 2 in the morning, attempting
to call the owner, but there was no answer.
If going to the fest with a kidney stone and
choking at all the tournaments wasn't enough, now I lost my room
I had paid for! Carl offered his room so we all piled into Carls
room. With Carl laying on the bed and Fard and I sitting on the
vinyl chairs, we chatted about all things Atari until his cab
arrived at around 3am.
Needless to say, when the office opened, they
had to deal with a very angry ETHunter about my room being given
away! Getting my money back (and then some) for that night, Carl
and I made the journey back to Minnesota today.
I will have to say, though, that experiences
like this make great, great memories. This will always be remembered
by me as a time when I got to meet new friends, and strengthen
the friendships of those that I have considered to be buds of
mine for the last few years. I am so happy I was able to attend.
Here's to hoping the next JagFest will be just as great of an
experience...but with a nice, compitent motel next time. ;-)