It was as expected entertaining with multiple panels and even a premiere of a new thriller movie, “The Red House”. LBCHC even featured the cast of the movie in their own booth. The panels are always a good and informative, ranging from how-tos breaking into the business (either in animation or internet comics) to just entertainment panels like bringing back the Nightmare on Elm Street 3 cast.
Cosplay is always great. The Dark Knight Rises’ Bane is a popular one still. And regardless, I respect all those that put a cosplay outfit together. It takes some serious skills and patience. Respect.
The con only cost $5 online and $7 at the door. Imagine, all of the coolest artists that you’ve seen at various comic conventions all gathered in one location. And that is basically what DesignerCon is.
It is a great convention with many many artists, who were selling their custom artwork. In fact, many artists were in the middle of creating artwork live – be it painting, or even just designing artwork on vinyl toys.
Think of the things you might like. If you liked custom vinyl toys, it was there. If you liked funny comic pop culture artwork, it was there. If you like funny off color comics, it was there, including some people we have talked to before, like Ken Tanaka and ToonHole. There was an area sectioned off that they called “Suck Con”. It has a stage, and featured a talk show type set up.
I’d recommend going to this convention next year. Just remember to bring some money, so you can buy the unique paintings, buttons, posters, toys, etc. We will keep you updated on next year’s DesignerCon date and time.
Comikaze was a triumph! It’s hard to overstate our satisfaction with Comikaze Expo. We were amazed by the dedication of the volunteers and the very huge turnout of fans.
There were so many things and people to see and here are some of the highlights (listed in no particular order):
Smaller venue – This one is a bit misleading, because the venue was just right for the occasion. It wasn’t as massive of a scale as San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) but as a smaller venue it still maintains its fun. There weren’t too many people to dodge (sort of) when walking around. We watched 2 guys in full body suits go into an impromptu dance off and everybody was cheering at the end of it. At the end of the convention, we saw a Jurassic Park hunter and raptor chasing each other on a Power Wheel Jeep throughout the floors of the convention.
Low cost – We believe this was the leading reason why the turnout was so great. For $20, you get to go for both days. At such a low cost, it doesn’t bleed out your wallet. Now you have money to buy any item at the convention like comic books, artwork, plushies, swords and so on. Other low price promos, such as Groupon and Goldstar, helped in creating a good crowd as well.
Diversity of the booths – There was a lot of options available of varying interest, from a steampunk outfitter to your regular toy/plushie/comic book vendors. They even had a tattoo artist booth, that were available to give you a tattoo on the spot!
Celebrities – There was an incredible number of fans that came for headliners Stan Lee and Elvira! Fans lined up and stretched for quite a while. Even when the locations would change a bit, the fans just shifted over and continued to wait in the long line just to meet their favorite celebrity. The venue was intimate enough to meet and converse with other celebrities like Ernest Borgnine, Miracle Laurie and/or Garrett Wang (Ensign Harry Kim of Star Trek Voyager). In fact, we learned that Sean Kanan, who was the villian in Karate Kid Part III, has a cookbook!
Artist signing/drawings – Being able to get custom art or purchasing some of the art (whether it was a poster or a shirt) from your favorite artist is always great. Sure you may see their work in comics and web sites, but being able to talk to them in person is always a nice bonus on top of supporting them. There was even an artist who was willing to draw you in zombie form.
Informative panels that was both funny and engaging – Morgan Fairchild knows a great deal of paleontology. Garrett Wang watched the 2009 Star Trek Movie nine times. Being able to debate who would in a fight is always fun, well besides facing Batman (he has an answer for everybody).
Costume Masquerade – A bit unorganized at first, and it was standing room area, but it was nice to see the turnout of cosplayers in quality and quantity. Costumes were fantastic! We saw so many well done costumes, there’s too many to list (thankfully we have photos below). The three hosts (Dante, Chun Li and Jake from Blues Brothers) did an excellent job of maintaining order and keeping it fun.
Here are things we thought that could’ve been better (listed in no particular order):
No time schedule/program readily available – Though there was a schedule posted at each booths and makeshift rooms (more on that later), there was a sense of confusion when you didn’t quite know when some panels were going on. This was slightly addressed on Sunday when there was a time schedule printed on a poster board near the front, but there were many that weren’t aware of where Room 306 AB was or that a panel even existed up there.
Makeshift rooms – There is an understanding this is the first convention so we’re hoping this one will get addressed. The sound was atrocious as the people within the panels would become hard to listen, mostly because of the ambient noises from the convention itself. Some people could break through the curtained off areas to sneak into the panel from the side (good or bad thing).
Despite the minor complaints, it was a great outing and we look forward to seeing this event next year! Likewise Mark has been posting quite a few videos we took as well. Enjoy the crazy amount of photos we took that weekend! Photos were courtesy of Danny and myself and have been combined for your entertainment.
Comikaze Expo is the largest multimedia pop culture convention in Los Angeles. This unique event brings together the best in comics, gaming, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, anime and all other cult programming. Comikaze took place November 5-6, 2011 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and offers a slate of innovative programming, panels, contests and other activities that provide fans access to their favorite artists and creators in this adventure-packed weekend.
Please go to the official Comikaze Expo page for additional information.
Blizzard’s BlizzCon 2011 is coming around the corner, it’s on October 21-22, 2011, and we decided to help post a guide and photos for new visitors or veterans of the convention. For those who want to skip to the gallery, make the jump.
Buying your ticket(s)
Easier said than done, since the event has been sold out since tickets were available this year. Generally, in order to go to this event, it does require you to queue in a electronic line and purchase your tickets online. However, for those who couldn’t purchase their tickets in time, there is always the Virtual Ticket (online streaming of the event). If streaming doesn’t sound appealing, there are also other means such as Craigslist and Ebay, but always exercise caution with those two options. If the price is at an unbelievable price, chances are it’s too good to be true.
Taking care of your body
This usually goes without saying, but sometimes we get a little excited for an event like this! Get plenty of rest, it’s going to be a long two days and you’ll want to be on your best form when pwning faces in StarCraft II or striking up an interesting conversation about why the Alliance is better than the Horde with another person. You may be on your feet for an extended amount of time either waiting in line to purchase merchandise, to try a game, and/or a booth offering free prizes. Get some breakfast before heading on down to the Anaheim Convention Center, stay hydrated, and get some coffee if needed. There are seats at panels for you to rest, if your legs get tired. Remember about hygiene too, you don’t want to scare somebody with your bad BO!
Understand the audience
Usually people who attend this are already true fans of the series, but sometimes significant others or new people do visit. Knowing what certain things, mean can help bridge the gap of confusion if this is new to you.
People who dress up may not always be professional models, but may be huge fans of series they represent. Always ask to take their photos, most will be glad to pose for the shots unless they are in a hurry. Don’t take it as a sleight against you if they refuse, as sometimes people have places to go or events to get ready for like the Costume Contest. They are on their feet for the entire day practically, so make sure to them thank for their time and hard work!
From the WarCraft series, red colors would signify the Horde and blue colors represent the Alliance. Allegiances run thick within this culture and many times you may hear shouts for each respected side (“For the Horde” and “For the Alliance”). However, don’t be too quick to judge other people just on the basis of preference. Respect each other for what they bring to the table and remember that without the other, the game would be completely boring (goes for all series and life). Everybody is here for the love of the game and variety is the spice of life!
Diablo, in short, is an action role-playing game about stopping the Lord of Terror. StarCraft is a real time strategy game involving three different factions with a rich storyline affecting each other set in space. Check Wikipedia or other wiki sources for more information on Warcraft, Diablo, and the StarCraft series.
When in doubt and you don’t know what to say, yell “For the Horde!”
Planning your day
Plan ahead! This can potentially save you time instead of wandering around aimlessly (though that isn’t a bad thing either). Check the BlizzCon forums for costume meeting times (they usually meet by the fountains) or realm meet up times (Gorgonnash FTW). Blizzard usually posts the schedules online (they are currently tentative at the moment) so plan around them accordingly. Some events may fill up faster than others (especially the popular events or panels). If you have any questions you want to ask a dev team or celebrity, write them advance. There is usually a Q&A session following each panel.
Charge your electronics
Don’t forget to charge your batteries for your camera, phone and any other electronic devices. Bring spare batteries if needed especially for your camera (and extra memory cards). A handheld game like Nintendo DS or 3DS can be handy when you’re waiting in a long line or waiting for the next panel to begin.
Not everybody needs to dress up in a costume. But for those who do, I salute you! For the veterans, there shouldn’t be any need to mention preparation. For those who are thinking of dressing up, sometimes the simple things are the best things. I remember two years ago, somebody came as a Level 1 Human Warrior and it was a major hit! Find something you enjoy and run with it. Like Mark mentioned in the Anime Expo article, “mashups = fun” and “mobility is inversely related to costume appeal.” Keep in mind that you may be stopped a lot for photo opportunities. A trend we notice last year was a lot of glowing light and stilt related costumes. Whatever you choose to dress up as, be safe with your costume choices (those stilts are crazy)!
If you are dressing up in costume, try to get some rest, as those last minute fixes and/or touchups can be quite stressful. Try to knock out your costume beforehand so you won’t be as stressed (easier said than done). You have until October 10th to register for the Dance and Costume Contest, if that is something you’re interested in.
Purchase merchandise early
If you already have your ticket (including virtual ticket holders), you can purchase from the Blizzard Store online on the BlizzCon page. The reason why is those lines for the Blizzard merchandise stores can be quite long! If you do purchase the day of, try to go when there is a big event where a lot of people may go. Lines usually thin out around the end of day and on the last day as well, but so does item stocks. Signs should be posted when items sell out.
Save up and know what item you want to get beforehand. Some vendors have exclusives for BlizzCon only so be on the lookout for that.
Despite that there are plenty of food and drink options that Anaheim Convention Center can provide, don’t forget to take a look at Google maps to see what’s outside the convention. The convention itself, does provide an cash bar (over 21 and older of course). If you drink, please be careful and have a designated driver! For more food options, there is a shuttle nearby that takes you to Downtown Disney as well.
Regardless of what you may be doing, there are tons of things for you to do at the event. In the past there was booth games to win prizes, treasure hunting, caricature drawings (be warned those lines can go long too), and more! For those visiting Anaheim or the Los Angeles area there’s always other tourist-y things, like Disneyland, California Adventure and Universal Studio Hollywood.
Take a look down below for photos from last year BlizzCon 2010! This may lean a bit heavier towards Lady Blaumeux in the beginning (a good friend of mine I bumped into last year).
BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo universes. The sixth BlizzCon will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2011. For more information visit www.blizzcon.com
Activision held it’s inaugural Call of Duty XP event, which was a 2 day event for gamers and fans of the series to connect through activities beyond gaming. Located within a large hangar in Playa Vista, California, fans were treated to various activities including:
Hands-on gaming booths for all recent games in the series: Modern Warfare 2, World at War, Black Ops, Call of Duty 4, and of course Modern Warfare 3. Since this event was sponsored by Xbox 360, there were no Playstation 3’s on site.
2012 Jeep Wrangler course
Two paintball gun maps: Pit (Modern Warfare 2) and Scrapyard (Modern Warfare 2). I only made it in time for one of the maps, Scrapyard, but had a blast! This was my absolute first experience with a paintball gun. Even though I played defensive and stayed close to the base (Domination mode), I was able to score some great hits against the other team. The best part is that the guns looked like real arms (I had an M4). They provided 140 rounds, a mask, vest, and a jumpsuit. You get the keep the jumpsuit, which is great if you’re able to keep it spotless or in one piece. I probably should have worn tennis shoes rather than boots. Luckily I didn’t leave with any welts which is something I can’t say for other players.
Burger Town: yup. Haven’t you always wanted to taste what this Burger King parody has to offer. Apparently if you asked for “Special Sauce” they’d give you a shirt! They ran out when we tried though 🙁
Face painting. Get your “Ghost” on or choose from a folder of possible face paint options.
A sumo fighting ring
Black Ops cover art picture booth. This one was very addictive! Pose with a rifle or 2 pistols, recreating the Black Ops cover art with whatever goofy gangster pose you can come up with.
Zip line. This was one of the activities I wish I had done and taken video of doing.
Tons of free experimental Mountain Dew samples. I don’t think anyone turned into a zombie yet, right?
A gift bag containing a poster, Doritos and oh yeah… a redeemable code for Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition! Considering entrance was $150, this was definitely a lovely treat. Since the redemption page required an address and NOT a gamer tag, I’m guessing Activision is sending hard copies of the game?
Live sets by Dropkick Murphy’s (September 2) and Kanye West (September 3). As one of the biggest names in music entertainment, I can only imagine how much of a pay day for Kanye West this was. Since I only went on Saturday, I can’t comment on the Dropkick Murphy’s set. For Kanye West, however, I was expecting a small set. As I waited with thousands of others, watching the stage slowly take shape, I quickly realized the large hangar was hardly enough to contain the level of theatrics that I would soon witness. Kudos to Kanye West and Activision for pulling this off. While hardly related to gaming, this show added tremendous value to the seemingly high entrance cost. If you were dedicated enough or wait early, you could definitely get a pit level equivalent view. Kanye West did nearly all of his hit singles and that’s lots (I wish he did “Heard ‘Em Say”). Kanye West had 3 acts filled with high energy, laser lighting, and many dancers (Think classy like Cirque Du Soleil/ballet). I wonder what the Dropkick Murphy’s show was like. Check out the pics below.
Exceeding Imagination, that is what Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) represents. E3 is an annual trade show for computer and video games and related products by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Located at the Los Angeles Convention Center, on June 7-9, 2011, it’s filled with tens of thousands of professionals. Everybody is there to see groundbreaking new technologies and never-before-seen products for computers, video game consoles, handheld systems and the internet. Wandering around the halls, you can’t help but feel amazed at all the sights and sounds.
With so many announcements, we can only highlight a small portion of the large picture (listed in no particular order):
PlayStation Vita announcement: Sony’s Kaz Hirai, Representative Corporate Executive Office and Executive Deputy President of Sony Corporation (long title), announced the release and pricing information ($249 Wi-Fi only and $299 for Wi-Fi + 3G).
Wii-U unveling: A prototype version of the Wii-U was present, including a demonstration of the controller touch screen and a Zelda HD Demo among other tech-demos.
Minecraft coming to Xbox: The breakout indie sandbox game is now coming to the 360, with and without Kinect support by 4J Studios.
Halo 4 announcement: The first part of a new trilogy, picking up where Master Chief left off. Nothing more than a teaser trailer was shown, so we’re not sure how the series will follow the Halo 3 conclusion.
Batman: Arkham City: A playable Catwoman was revealed! We had a chance to see a working demo displaying the difference of play between Bat and the Cat in similar scenario.
New Smash Brothers heading to Wii-U and 3DS: Development has yet to begin and information is scarce, but we know that Masahiro Sakurai, the creative force behind both Kirby and Super Smash Bros, and Project Sora are working on the latest iteration.
Mario Kart 3DS demo: A fun demo was available for us to play with, including hang-gliding and underwater races. The game also plans to feature more customization of karts than previous games (adjusting tires for example).
Super Mario 3D Land: Part 2D and 3D game play for the 3DS! This latest incarnation includes everybody’s (or at least my) favorite returning power up, the Tanooki (racoon) Suit! We only got to see the video, but from what we saw it looks to be shaping up pretty nicely!
Starfox 64 3DS demo: Nostalgia ahoy! I remember playing this game for a very long time as a kid and with a playable demo available, I made a quick bee-line to it. The controls in this remake felt a bit different, but the nostalgia was there and the graphics looked incredible!
Star Wars: The Old Republic: A demo was available and from what we gathered, consider us impressed! The new opening cinematic of the Old Republic was also revealed and is beyond words on the level of excitement being generated towards this MMO (if done right).
This doesn’t account for all the other stuff that we saw (like Gear of War 3, God of War Origins, Street Fighter x Tekken, and etc), but here are some photos that captured some of our moments (including many booth babes).