Editorial: London Expo 2012

The dark lord himself took the time to attend comic con.
Bobby Kotick

This past weekend I had the opportunity to head up to London to check out the biannual U.K. comic con. I had purchased early entry tickets online for quick entry, despite arriving three hours after the doors opened. My plan was sound though as hundreds of people were still queuing for entry when I arrived.

Much like its U.S. counterparts, the London comic con had many people dressing up as their favourite anime and video game characters. While not in a costume myself, I had traveled there with a friend and her fifteen year old daughter who had chosen to dress as Yuki Cross of Vampire Knights. While I have never seen this anime myself, many people asked to take her photo throughout the day.

With plans made to meet up for lunch, I found time to explore the floor by myself. The area used for the show seemed fairly small in comparison to the number of people attending. Large areas had been reserved for panels later on in the day, leaving many people to be packed in together. Thankfully the worst of it was around the merchandise tables. After a brief glance at scantly clad plastic models, it was on to another section.

At any convention celebrities can usually be found meeting fans and signing autographs. This was no exception, with faces old and new making themselves available to the public. I shunned some of the more famous names to go see Hattie Hayridge, the female face of Holly on the show Red Dwarf. A couple of other British celebrities had been booked for the event, but this years show seemed to be dominated by the Americans.

Competitive games old and new were available to play.
Games Booth

Heading to the other side of the room, I paused at the gaming section. Small booths had been setup with retro consoles for people to play on. All manner of fighting games were on display, as well larger arcade machines. The two Dance Dance Revolution cabinets had drawn quite a crowd, but the main event here was Rock Band. A queue had formed of people ready to display their talent to the public, with some humorous results. Not everyone in the queue had the ability to play the game.

The final stop before lunch was the cosplay contest. I was sad to see that an old friend of mine had not entered in the competition this year, so my time here was brief. I did manage to see someone in a Gundam suit dancing to Gangnam Style. This unexpected routine elicited roars of laughter from the crowd. In my opinion no other act would have been able to match it the rest of the event.

During the afternoon I found the time to check out the new Star Trek game due to be released next year. A tent had been setup to allow small groups the opportunity to attend a short presentation of the game. Sadly everything was shown in 3D, otherwise a crafty picture or two may have turned up of this very site. The game itself is set after the events of the 2009 film.

Obligatory scantly clad woman picture.
Velvet of Odin Sphere fame.

The presenter repeatedly stressed that this is an ‘asymmetrical cooperative’ game, essentially meaning that two players (taking on the roles of Kirk and Spock) must work together to proceed further into the game. The game is shown from a third person perspective and looked to have a cover system similar to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The cast of the film reprise their roles as voices for the game, though the only other character I heard during the video was Scotty.

Sadly, the staff at the presentation were hired for the event and could not answer many questions. One concern I had about the game that could not be addressed was how the game would work with a single player, as the focus seemed to be heavily on the cooperative play. I was helpfully told that “the game is still in development”. Despite it being unfinished, the staff were trying to encourage attendees to pre-order the game over the weekend.

After another walk of the floor it was time to head home. This is the first con I have attended for several years, and in six months time I will be returning. Possibly even in a costume next time. Had I gone by myself, I would have arrived much earlier than I did and would have attempted to attend the panels, but that is something I can improve on next year.

Readers, were you at the London comic con? Have you been to a convention this year? What should I dress up as next time? Let me know in the comments!

9 comments

  1. Ahhh UK Cosplay.

    Why do all UK cosplayers look like they got their costumes from a packet? Or that they were made purely by glueing pieces of felt together? I am surprised you did not link that other fine example of it–that UK cosplay picture EXTRAORDINAIRE: http://twitpic.com/b8bvbf

    Then, of course, there is also the quality of the UK individual–an individual profoundly unsuited to cosplaying the Japanese style. The people of the UK are a great people: courageous, doughty, indefatigable–but, let us be honest here, and in no way do we mean this disparagingly–but they are not pretty, and this is something which most Japanese cosplay requires.

    Perhaps they lack the sheer competitive zealotry that exists in America and Japan–countries where cosplay is so huge and that there are so many people invested in it that unbelieveable lengths are gone to, huge expenses are levelled, to create something so conforming to the original that it cannot be separated from it. The UK is still nascent, in that regard: it is like America of the late 80s and early 90s, only just now getting on its cosplaying feet.

    Lumpen, misshapen feet; stumbling through the night, the UK Cosplay industry staggers, blindly, reaching for the ideal, but able to produce only the shadowy form. In time, we hope (and, after viewing that Cloud cosplay again, we pray) that the UK cosplayers will become so numerous and such a force, self-critical and constantly trying to improve, that they can stand proudly alongside the amazing Samus cosplay we saw in Germany, the amazing Lightning cosplay we’ve seen in Japan and–yes, it must be mentioned–the unparalleled, impossibly accurate, SUBLIME (in the philosophical sense) Vanille cosplay from our own shores here in the United States of America.

    Time, perhaps, will tell. In the meantime, avert your eyes, gentle reader, lest ye be turned to stone!

  2. @Imitanis: Neither of those strike me as particularly good, I’m afraid, by the standard of 100% fidelity that I have come to expect from the most zealous cosplayers.

    Also, look at those superheroes. What a scrawny bunch. Your hulk looks like he hasn’t had enough greens, and that his childhood was confined to food-starved Bangladesh. Hardly impressive.

  3. It looks like England’s stout cosplayers are still making do with wartime costume rations…

  4. Despite my city being host to Fan Expo, I’ve never been to a con. It’s one side in which I’m not traditionally nerd. It’s never even occurred to me to go.

  5. @Ethos You should take the time to check it out next time, even if it’s just to compare UK/UK/Canadian cons. Who knows, you may even enjoy yourself while you’re there.

  6. @Ethos: You should. Consider it part of your L.com service. Maybe you can even get a Comp badge?

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