Monday, October 30, 2017

Comic Con

In my entire adult life I have never attended a Comic Con.

I was never into video games growing up, which sounds like it was by choice, but it wasn't.  Not that I was chomping at the bit to play Atari, it's just that my family was not big into screens.

We didn't have cable and I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of shows, especially Three's company (for some inexplicable reason) Exceptions were made for CBC and Canadian TV, like Degrassi Jr High, Littlest Hobo and Beachcombers.  Of course all British shows were allowed, East Enders, Coronation Street, Are you being served and Keeping up Appearances all made the cut.

My boys do play video games.  Zach tends to gravitate to the adventure, futuristic games like Tron or Overwatch.  Logan goes for sports games like NHL 18.

I had first heard about Comic Con in the summer.  I never realized that comic con came here, but the second I read about it I knew that Zach would want to go, Logan not so much.  The reason being is that comic con does not cater to the sports games.  Initially my plan was for Zach and I to volunteer so he would get to go to comic con but still get that volunteer spirit I want to instill in him.

I have volunteered at tons of things over the years, it's kind of my jam.  First when we signed up, she said we weren't eligible because Zach was 13 at the time.  However, I pointed out that he would be 14 by the time comic con came around, so we were able to participate.

They emailed us information about a mandatory "training" event a few months ago at a lounge next to a comic book store on Sherbrook.  I had to juggle some things around to make sure that our schedule was clear to go.  Zach and I hopped in the truck and headed over.  It wasn't the greatest area of town, but what are you going to do?

We got into the lounge and made our way to the sign in sheet.  You got to choose what you preferred to do; general info, crowd control that kind of thing.  Since a lot of the roles required you to be over 18, we signed up for crowd control.  You wrote down your email and that was that.

After that I asked where we were supposed to go.  The guy looked at me sort of perplexed and said that was it.

Hmpf.  We drove all the way there to write down our email, when you already knew our email because you emailed us  the meeting information.  I thought it was kind of odd, but whatever.

It was crickets for the longest time and then 2 weeks ago we got a email on a Friday saying that there was a mandatory 4 hour meeting at the convention center that Sunday from 6pm - 10pm.  Sweet Christmas.

Our  schedule is crazy packed and blocking off a 4 hour time frame on a weekend needs to be booked weeks in advance.  I looked at the calendar and we had one hockey practice, one hockey game and one team building event.

I wrote the coordinator back to see if we could get the information ahead of time, although I had a sneaky suspicion the answer would be no as it the training likely would have involved walking around the convention center getting a feel for the venue.

Sure enough she said that it was mandatory, no exceptions, so Zach and I had to back out.

Jacob Fry

That being said, we still decided that we wanted to go.  Zach was planning on dressing up.  He wanted to go as Jacob Fry from Assasin's Creed and wanted me to go as Mae from Overwatch, who bears a striking resemblance to me, complete with the curvy physique wink wink.  We set out to get some accessories for his costume.  The first was was his cane.  Seeing as Halloween was coming up, we headed to Spirit Halloween and found the perfect cane.  It came in 3 pieces that screwed together with two hidden weapons.  Zach loved it.

We got home and he quickly took it out of the package.  An hour later he came rumbling up the stairs fuming with anger.  The cane had broke.  Right a the junction of where one piece screws into the other, it had snapped clean off.  We tried to glue it back together, but since the cane was hollow, it was like gluing the edges of a thin pipe together and it didn't work at all.

Zach was beside himself as he had paid a portion of the cost by himself.  To make matters worse, one of the hidden weapons decided to no longer be hidden and kept popping out.

Zach asked if we could return it, but I wasn't convinced they would as it was fairly apparent that we had tried to glue it.  That being said, I figured if I went and they didn't take it back, we were no worse off than we currently were so I decided to give it a shot.

As it turns out the fact that one of the hidden weapons wouldn't stay hidden saved us as that put it into the "faulty" category, so the manager agreed to return it and gave us a new one.

Hallelujah.  Zach was over the moon.  I knew that this cane was a piece of garbage, so I insisted that it stay in the package until comic con as I didn't want it to break again.

Brad and Logan had decided to go hunting that weekend so it was just going to be Zach and I.  Given the fact that we only have the one vehicle, it meant that we would be busing it.  I wasn't super excited about the idea of taking the bus in a costume, so I decided to forgo the costume.  Zach said that he still wanted to dress up a bit as a modern day Jacob.

The day of comic con I got a nasty nosebleed.  It took forever to stop and when it did, the second I washed my face, it started again.  The delay meant that we weren't going to be there when the doors opened and Zach was getting anxious.  Sine weekend bus service can be spotty, I decided to look online to figure out the schedule ahead of time. A quick look confirmed it was going to take us over an hour and a half to get to comic con.

In the interest of time I opted to call a cab and we got there in 20 minutes.  The event entrance was slightly disorganized to be honest.  You walked in the main doors and up the escalator.  Once on the second floor, you had to go down a flight of stairs, then OUTSIDE and enter at the weird somewhat unused side door and go back up the stairs to the second floor to register at a desk you passed when you came up the escalator the first time.

We finally got our wrist bands and headed up to the third floor.  It was like a whole other world.  The people in costumes were AMAZING.   It's like Halloween took steroids, a sprinkling of speed and washed it all down with a tumbler of tequila.

 There were all sorts of cool merchants with everything game related.  Items available for sale ranged from real life forged metal swords to Wookie bathrobes.  Zach ended up buying a latex/foam Halo energy sword and some Watchdog mask.

We had been there all of 3 seconds and Zach ran into his friend Patrick and before I could blink I was walking around comic con solo.  While it was supposed to be a bonding thing for Zach and I, I was really happy he had found a friend.

I walked up and down the aisles taking in the sights.  In addition to the merchant section, there was cosplay alley, autograph signing, artist alley, VR demonstrations, game testing and game tournaments.

The artists are incredible.  These folks are so talented it's mind boggling.  I didn't know any of the people in the autograph signing except for the guy grom from Goon (awesome hockey movie).

After a couple hours, Zach called.  Patrick was going home, but he wanted to stay.    Zach and I met up and wandered over to the game testing area.  Immediately he sat down and with ABSOLUTELY NO instruction he started playing this game.  How the h*ll do these gamers do that?  I would be spending 20 minutes working my way through a tutorial.

Zach was totally into it.  When he was done, the game creator came over and Zach gave him the rundown.  What followed was a 10 minute conversation with the creator taking notes as fast as he could write them.  Zach had found a couple game glitches and had some recommendations for key strokes required for various moves.  The creator was super impressed and gave Zach his card so he could continue his game critic abilities online.

After the game testing, we went over to watch the game tournaments.  The amount of computers set up was nuts.  The picture here was only half  of the gaming tournament teams.

They had a big screen protection tv with for spectators to watch tournament games. We watched the Overwatch event and some other one that centered around a castle.

There was voice over announcers just like in football games and after each event there was a recap rundown (highlights if you will).  It almost seemed satirical to an outsider like me, but the people watching the viewing area took it really seriously.  There was whoops and cheering when certain teams made achievements during a tournament bout and yells and F bombs when they didn't.

We continued to watch the tournaments until it was Zach's turn for VR testing.    The VR testing was free, but the waiting list was really long.  I had signed him up when we met up after Patrick left and they told me it was a three hour wait.

When it was close to his turn, we made our way over to the VR sector.  They strapped a visor on Zach and away he went.  Zach is really good at VR.  He came in second at the DoVr tournament a couple of months back beating out guys 15 years older than him.

Watching Zach at VR is really engaging.  He doesn't just stand there, he moves around, crouches down and even does matrix like back bends.  People began to congregate around just to watch him play.

Zj in the back with the VR visor

After 6 and a half hours of this, I was just about done.  As we were leaving we saw some of the best sights of the day.  I saw some guys dressed up as what looked like a Alien with Dread locks putting ketchup on a hot dog and my personal favorite was Alien having a smoke break as we left.

It was kind of cold when we left and I was not up for taking the bus home, so we called another cab.  It was a really great day and I'm so glad that I had a chance to go.


best dissertation writing said...

Everyone likes to play video games. there is no age limit for playing video games. I love to play comic con which are really nice.

Sophie Grace said...

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