New York Comic Con
Sixth annual pop culture convention draws record crowds
New York Comic Con animated Manhattan on Oct. 11-14th for the annual pop culture convention with an estimated 115,000 people in attendance. NYCC is the second largest pop culture convention, behind the International San Diego Comic-Con, and continues to approach San Diego’s epic proportions each year. Considering that the expected attendance in 2006 was a mere ten-thousand attendees (actual attendees were far more than anticipated, climbing to upwards of 33,000 guests), the New York Comic Con has become one of the premiere showcase of all things geek culture on the East coast. This year, tickets were sold out months in advance, with the entire convention was sold out for weeks before the event.
While technically called “Comic Con,” the convention has expanded become a convention for virtually everything multimedia related. With humble beginnings in 2006, the convention sports everything from graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, television, and of course, comic books is represented at Comic Con.One of the major highlights of Comic Con is the panels and autograph sessions, allowing fans to interact with their favorite stars and media creators. This year, fans of CAPCOM’s acclaimed Street Fighter game series were pleasantly surprised when, during the panel highlighting Street Fighter’s 25th anniversary celebration, the series’ producer Yoshinori Ono revealed for the first time, the resurrection of the DarkStalkers fighting game series. Immediately after the panel, Yoshinori Ono was available for photo ops, dressed in the garb of one of Street Fighter’s main female protagonists, Chun-Li. That’s just the kind of craziness to be expected from such a massive supercon.
ShiftyLook, a division of Namco Bandai hosted a 3,000 square feet Freeplay Arcade of classic arcade games as a Live DJ mixing chiptunes (synthesized, electronic 8-bit music produced with the sound chip of vintage computers) on multiple modified Nintendo Game Boy systems. Attendees both young and old crammed the booth all four days for a chance to play classics such as Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Dig Dug, Galaga, and Time Crisis. The excitement surrounding the booth was proof enough that the Western arcade spirit is still very much alive. I had a chance to speak with Cory Casoni, Head of Marketing for ShiftyLook, about why these games are still very popular, despite the fact that most of these games have aged well past their thirtieth anniversary. It’s a combination of that “one-more-time” feeling, and the power of these games to stimulate the imagination, that keeps players coming back for more, even after all of these years.
During the four day event, con-goers also had the opportunity to preview upcoming games and consoles, such as Nintendo’s brand new Wii U system, Halo 4, and Assassin’s Creed III. Since Nintendo’s brand new console is set to launch on November 18 for this holiday season, the Japanese game company allocated an entire booth dedicated to the Wii U, jam-packed with playable demos of upcoming games such as New Super Mario Bros. U, Zombie U, Batman: Arkham City and Nintendo Land. Not content with just one console booth, Nintendo’s second console booth showcased the 3DS XL system, and also hosted both a New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Kid Icarus: Uprising uprising tournament for each day of the convention. Contestants competed in Mario’s brand new coin rush mode, and battled each other in Kid Icarus’ player- versus-player mode. The winners of each competition took home brand new 3DS XL systems of their own.New York Comic Con never fails to provide an entertaining and eventful convention. Geeks around the nation anxiously await NYCC’s return next fall.