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This year marked the first time ever my wife, Jill, and I attended the San Diego Comic-Con. As two proud geeks, it has long been on our bucket list, so we were thrilled when we got our tickets and made our arrangements. When the schedule was released each day, Jill and I poured over it with excitement, meticulously choosing the panels we wanted to see the most and which activities were not to be missed. But, you want to know about the Con, so let’s dive right in!
As we approached the San Diego Convention Center, we couldn’t help but be amazed by the sheer number of people who surround us. An estimated 130,000 people attend the event each year, all descending on the downtown area for four days of nerd-dom. You may have heard that you have to wait in endless lines almost around the clock. This is partly true, and we first experienced it when we had to pick up our badges, bright and early, the first morning. But waiting in line is half the fun. Almost everyone around us was brimming with excitement, and extremely friendly. Also, Comic-Con is perhaps the best place in the world to people watch. About 20% of con-goers are dressed up in elaborate costumes and 85% have quirky, unusual t-shirts worn proudly. It’s not uncommon for people to stop those in costume to take pictures of or with them (I rocked out this Captain Hammer outfit the first day).
Upon entry to the Con, Jill and I first took some time just to get our bearings, as the space is enormous. The first 90 minutes or so we scoped out where we would have to wait in line and did a quick tour of the main ballroom floor, which is where all of the booths (videogames, comics, movies, etc.) are located. Our first stop, however, was offsite at the Konami Gaming Suite where we were allowed to try some new games not yet released on the market. Most are slated to hit the streets in the fall.
The first was a remake of the classic BurgerTime for the XBLA. The simple vertical platform game has been given a fresh coat of paint and several unique level designs. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the original, the basic premise is that the player, while controlling their chef character, must construct burgers. This is done by running across each layer of the burger (bun, meat, etc.), which allows it to fall to the level below. All this must be accomplished while avoiding the evil baddies (fried eggs and peppers). BurgerTime was quirky and fun and I think I’ll try it more once it’s released.
Next we tried Bobblehead Baseball, which is exactly what the title suggests. The likenesses of the pros have been transformed into limbless head-bobbing dolls and are ready to play. Bobblehead Baseball had rather simple gameplay mechanics where the player usually controls the pitcher or batter respectively. Overall, the game seemed to have potential, but I found it hard to just sit down and immediately play. In the few minutes I had, I was able to get a handle on pitching, but batting was a bit confusing.
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