By Apathylad 2 Comments
March 16, 2012 marks the beginning of WonderCon, and it took place in Anaheim, California, opposed to San Francisco. The Anaheim Convention Center is very close to Disneyland, so the large number of hotels makes it an ideal location to hold such an event. I didn't go to as many panels as I went to at previous conventions, but it was still a good experience, and I managed to get some cool stuff out of it.
I left my house some time after 10:00am, and I listened to the latest CAGcast on the commute over. Coincidentally, Wombat was telling a story about getting back from his vacation at Disney World. The commute isn’t too bad, but I did take a wrong turn at some point. Anyway, I still made it there on time, and messed around with the 3DS Street Pass while I waited for the Exhibit Hall to open. While I was Puzzle Swapping, I randomly heard a woman behind me say, “Hey, can I get a picture of your shirt?” And there was Tony Guerrero and Sara Lima from ComicVine. We chatted a bit, and the news about GiantBomb and ComicVine being acquired by CBS came up. Tony said they had lots of interviews scheduled for the weekend, and Sara said that she still sits next to Brad like she did back at Whiskey Media. We said goodbye and parted ways as soon as the Exhibit Hall opened.
The Exhibit Hall is fairly large, and similar to what I saw at Anime Expo. Various booths and lined up, selling toys, shirts, comics, manga, and all sorts of memorabilia. Some of these booths were handing out swag, and that’s when I remembered that I wanted to head on over to the Nintendo booth. I played some of Kid Icarus’ single player and multiplayer, and tried out Spirit Camera. Kid Icarus was enjoyable, but my hands felt a bit tired after awhile. It plays more like Sin and Punishment during the on-rail flight sections and a third-person shooter during the on-foot segments. The on-foot segments take some getting used to, because turning around wide angles is imprecise. Within the game, Pit describes turning around like “spinning a globe”, which isn’t very encouraging. I didn’t see any kiosks with the second analog attachment, so I don’t know whether that would be more, or less comfortable. The game also has a strange sense of humor. Palutena jokingly tells Pit that she is able to read hearts, and will know if he is thinking something naughty. The self-aware and light-hearted dialog is fairly charming, though, and I look forward to purchasing the game at some point.
Spirit Camera, for those who don’t know, is an augmented reality game set in the Fatal Frame universe. You still use camera to fight ghosts, and you will interact with characters in real-world backgrounds. It’s an intriguing premise, but it doesn’t show all that well in a public space. In my encounter with a ghost, I had to turn around while holding a 3DS that was tethered to a kiosk. Included with the game is a small diary that is used to access new areas. On paper, a retail AR game on the 3DS is a unique concept, but I’m concerned it may not have the same chilling atmosphere that the Fatal Frame games had. Although, I’ll admit I jumped when Maya was looking straight at me when I was moving the 3DS around. That’s about all I checked out at the Nintendo booth, and I got some cool swag out of it, including a Xenoblade poster, a Kid Icarus shirt, and Kid Icarus AR cards.
I looked around at some other booths, but I didn’t buy much. I purchased an Astro Boy volume, because I just finished reading Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto recently, and I wanted to read the original story again of which Pluto was based on. For lunch I ate at a Sbarro that was in a hotel across the street. Other than that, I mostly walked around and took pictures at random stuff and cosplayers. I walked around Artist Alley, as well, but didn’t recognize most of the artists.
As for panels, the only one I went to was “How to Get a Job in the Video Game Industry”, hosted by Capcom’s Francis Mao. I got a chance to meet with Dan Amrich, from OneOfSwords.com, who had also previously worked at GamePro with Mao. You might remember them as Dan Elektro and Dr. Zombie from the GamePro blog I wrote soon after the magazine shut down. It was an informative panel, and while I do like video games, I’m not sure what aspect of the industry I’d enjoy the most if I wanted to make a career out of it.
That wraps up WonderCon for me. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day. It was an overall good experience, but unfortunately I won’t be able to attend tomorrow or Sunday. Compared to the previous anime conventions I went to, I got an impression that there were less cosplayers. Judging from a tweet from Sara from ComicVine, it looks like she expected more people, but I’m certain there will be a larger attendance tomorrow. Feel free to check out the photos and videos.