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Ever since I became a “core” gamer, I have always wanted to attend a convention with video games in mind, where I could play the latest and greatest. After three years of missed opportunities and letdowns, this year I finally got my chance to attend a convention where fellow geeks shared the same enthusiasm that I did for gaming as well as other mediums. That event, a small, if relatively unknown convention (I kid, of course) called Comic-Con was my gateway into a whole new world of crazy convention pandemonium. However, as crazy as Comic-Con can get at some times, the feeling of walking around people who share the same nerdy passion as you and are just as eager to check out their favorite form of entertainment is unrivaled, and I am already anticipating next year’s convention.
Of course, being a gamer first and foremost, most of my time at the convention was spent around checking out panels for the related to gaming and demoing as many unreleased games as I possibly could. I’ll start out with recounting the panels I attended, as well some of the highlights that came while wandering the show floor.
After sitting through a Battlestar Galactica panel that went right over my head, I got the chance to see the “Building Halo Worlds and Wonders” panel, which I was eagerly anticipating. A better name for the panel would have been “A Conversation all about Halo: Spartan Assault” as literally the entire panel was focused around the new mobile game, which I had little interest in playing. When it came time for the Q&A, almost all the questions were centered around the next installment in the core console series, in which the panelists refused to comment on. Maybe most of us were setting our expectations too high, although no one probably expected the panel to be as uneventful as it turned out.
Inside the Batman: Arkham Origins panel
While the Halo panel was a disappointment, the panel directly after had to be one of the best events of the entire convention. While Batman: Arkham Origins wasn’t really on my radar before the convention, the panel promoting the game did a lot to raise my interest. The panel included the reveal of Copperhead as a new villain in the game, and also featured amusing banter between voice actors Troy Baker and Roger Craig Smith that made the audience roar with laughter at moments. There were also some new gameplay details revealed, as well as some of the alternate skins available for Batman for completing certain challenges in the game.
I also had the opportunity to check out the Dead Rising 3 panel (which happened to include GI editor Jeff Cork, by the way). It was an interesting conversation, as both the developers on the game and other panelists discussed the future of zombie-focused video games more so that Dead Rising 3 itself. Each panelist seemed to have a different interpretation of how the zombie game could evolve, and listening to Jeff Cork’s idea of having a MMO where players teamed up to survive to Max Brooks’ concept of having players purify water was fascinating. The panel also showed off a new developer diary for Dead Rising 3, which seems to be shaping up nicely.
Other than the panels at Comic-Con, exploring the jam packed exhibit hall and surrounding booths revealed a lot about how games seem to be taking a major role at Comic-Con. A majority of the cosplayers I saw seemed to be based off gaming characters, as I saw everything from EDI from Mass Effect to Booker and Elizabeth from the recently released Bioshock: Infinite. I also noticed how some of the longest lines seemed at the convention seemed to occur at the in the video game section, at times longer than lines to get the exclusive toys Hasbro was selling at the Con. While some next generation games like Driveclub and Killer Instinct had lines upwards of an hour long, current gen games like Gran Turismo 6 and Lost Planet 3 still had considerably lengthy lines. Even though waiting in huge lines to play some of these games was tedious, to see the sheer scale of people interested in playing these games gave me a sense of relief and assurance that console gaming is nowhere near dead.
Me and Major Nelson at the Xbox Lounge
Other memorable moments of the convention occurred naturally, if coincidentally. Running into Xbox Live’s Major Nelson and chatting with him about the Xbox One and the fine-rumble technology in the new controllers was a gaming nerd’s sensation come true. Discussing whether BioShock: Infinite or The Last of Us should be game of the year with fellow gamers while waiting to play a Halo tournament was a fun way to kill time. Being puzzled at how Splinter Cell: Blacklist crashed twice at the same spot and how the Xbox staff told my friend and I to come back and try later, only to let two more attendees play the game right after we left and have it crash on them.
Even if everything I saw and experienced at Comic-Con wasn’t related to gaming, every minute still managed to be a blast. Witnessing other fellow nerds geek-out when they saw the star of their favorite TV show or when they finally got the exclusive toy they had been wanting for months is an awesome feeling, and it only makes me proud to be part of a community who, for the most part, doesn’t care about societies views on them. Just seeing the amount of cosplayers in attendance was enough to convince me that people were able to express their true selves, and were having the time of their lives doing it.
Like I said before, I can’t wait for next year’s Comic-Con. I would eventually like to attend more gaming focused conventions like Gamescom or PAX, but for the time being, Comic-Con has done more than enough to fill that void.
(Keep an eye out for a blog detailing the many games I demoed at Comic-Con, of which there were a lot).