30th May2019

MCM London Comic Con – May 2019: Event Report

by Xenia Grounds

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You know the first sign that you’re heading in the correct direction for Comic Con? It’s normally seeing a train full of cosplayers and it’s one of the only times where you can strike up a conversation with a group of strangers without that typical British awkwardness. I have missed Comic Con since October and I was eagerly anticipating being able to go back again in 2019. It turns out that my excitement was completely valid as this one ended up being my best experience yet!

While it is Comic Con, you may as well have called it ‘Retro Replay Takeover’ when it comes to what I was doing. I used a lot of my time to talk to Nolan North and Troy Baker. It’s the key reason why it was the best convention I’ve been to so far. For those unaware, they are the two of the best voice actors working today. If you’re a gamer, it would be a challenge to go through your gaming existence without hearing their voices in something you’re playing because the common joke is that they’re in basically everything. I have met Nolan before (I even got to attend his press conference in October) but I had never met Troy until last weekend. They are incredibly talented actors but they’re also genuinely nice guys. It’s an absolute pleasure talking to them. I got an autograph from each of them, took part in a photo-op and had the pleasure of being in the front row for their first podcast. The two didn’t exactly have a plan for the podcast and what to talk about but Troy and Nolan have very entertaining tangents which is no secret if you’re a fan and their comic timing would make anyone laugh so even when things don’t have a proper structure, you can count on them to make it work regardless. Other than meeting fans, the two were there for a Retro Replay Live Show. In summary, Retro Replay is the show where Troy Baker and Nolan North play video games of yesteryear with varying levels of success but with a lot of great lines and funny moments. I’ll go more into how amazing it was experiencing it live in another article but it somehow beat very high expectations because of how much fun it was and thanks to the mystery guest who had all of us screaming at the top of our lungs.

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I didn’t just spend my time focused on Retro Replay. There were quite a few things to enjoy when it comes to gaming. Now Comic Con always has games for attendees to enjoy in-between getting autographs, food, shopping or going to panels. This time, a consistent part was VR. There were many VR experiences at Comic Con such as Five Night at Freddy’s (apparently people are brave/insane enough to sign up for that), Skyrim with the Playstation VR Set. Another one was Doctor Who: The Edge of Time. I am not very experienced with VR gaming but it is becoming more common so I was intrigued by Doctor Who. I queued, put on the VR headset and found myself in the world of one of my favourite television shows. It was only the one mission which was assembling a radio which isn’t hard but as I found out, VR can be a little disorientating and I struggled to see properly. I could barely see in front of me for most of the mission but it does feel like you are transported into another world and it was nice to step into the TARDIS even if it was only in the virtual sense. That said, if you get dizzy easily then it’s not something that I would recommend. It does take some getting used to and while I don’t think it’s for me, I can’t say that it was a wasted experience.

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One of the games that is coming out soon is the updated Crash Team Racing. Comic Con had a huge space for some online racing for CTR with other attendees and that was a game that I did have the opportunity to play. From the ten minutes I got, it really does feel like the PlayStation’s answer to Mario Kart. You have boosts, items to use against other racers which can turn things in your favour when used correctly, the controls are easy to learn and if you’re playing against competent players, it becomes a lot more difficult. It’s a fun game and for those who were wondering if Crash Team Racing is as good as the original? I can’t answer that because I haven’t played it but 2019 Crash Team Racing is enjoyable. Naughty Dog don’t disappoint and have never had a bad game in their history and this one doesn’t change that.

If you weren’t playing upcoming releases then you could really throw yourself into nostalgic gaming. It was one of the few times where I didn’t see a giant Nintendo sign hanging in the air but there were Nintendo IPs. There was a lot of retro games in the Side Quest section to play during Comic Con like Space Invaders, Super Smash Bros Melee and N64’s Goldeneye. Going from the modern shooters to something like Goldeneye really does demonstrate how far gaming has come because the controls, hard to read radar and terrible framerate for the original Goldeneye have not aged well but it’s very hard to ignore the influence it has had for multiplayer games since its release. There were modern games to play as well like Songbird Symphony for the Nintendo Switch which is a light-hearted little platformer where you control a small songbird and get to play musical minigames as well as some story missions. It’s probably an easy game when you know how to use a Switch controller properly because I didn’t really know what I was doing.

It was a very crowded Comic Con. It’s not hard to see why because of the guests like Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Stephen Amell (Arrow), Misha Collins (Supernatural) who had queues that would stretch for nearly a mile long and needed stewards to make sure people knew where to queue which only happens when there are so many people, it’s hard to tell who is queuing for which celebrity. All three belong to movies and television shows with massive and passionate fan followings but if I had to choose the one who had the largest number of fans to see then Sebastian Stan wins that round. His photo-ops were sold out before the event started and getting an autograph looked like a mission worthy of a video game achievement. I believe it was his Comic Con in the UK and considering he came while Endgame is dominating the box office and became the second highest grossing movie in two weeks of its release, I imagine a lot of fans wanted to talk spoilers with him.

Overall, this was the most rewarding Comic Con experience I’ve had especially as a fan of gaming. It’s fun being surrounded by so many people who share the same passions that you have and Comic Con always feel like its own world where the fans are running the show. October will have a very hard task of topping this experience because it ended with such style as you’ll find out in my Retro Replay Live Article.

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