Until Next Year

Today we gathered ourselves together once more and made our way to the Convention Center. We attended the second Cartoon Voices panel, and the actors (Billy West, Katie Leigh, Cheryl Chase, Dee Baker and Chris Edgerly) gave a good panel. Their reading of the script was a bit more restrained than that of the previous day’s panel. I think this was partly because Sunday was more or less a kids’ day, and it was partly because of both the energy created by Chuck McCann, and the chemistry of the previous panel. After the panel ended, we wandered the convention floor one last time. I bought a Red Robot shirt from Dumbrella so I wouldn’t be leaving empty-handed. Then, we left.

For your viewing pleasure, the few pictures that weren’t too dark or embarrassingly blurry are in this photo set.

My overall impressions? Well, I’ll try not to be influenced by the slightly negative post that I read over at Blogography. However, I will cheerfully admit that he’s completely right about all of it. For now, let’s just set aside the issue of crowds and crowd management. The Comic-Con, this year, kind of reminds me of an MMORPG. In theory, you are having fun. However, much of your time is spent on the grind in order to get to the point in which you can do something interesting. Experienced players may know ways to bypass some of the grind, but as that knowledge spreads through the player base, everyone will have to start doing things that way or they won’t get anywhere. Eventually, the game designers become aware of this and actually cater content toward this style of play.

Yesterday, for example, both the Joe Michael Straczynski and TV Guide Presents panels had a captive audience waiting to see the Mythbusters, and the day before that, the XBOX Live Original Content panel had a captive audience waiting to see the Venture Brothers panel. Now, don’t get me wrong, the producers and writers on all of those panels were interesting people and had a lot of interesting material and ideas to share. However, one can’t help but wonder how TV Guide and Microsoft both got the panels showcasing their upcoming programming to be scheduled just before two popular panels and not, say, at the same time as those panels. Hmm. I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Anyway, back to the analogy. If there’s one MMORPG that this year’s Comic-Con reminds me of, it’s City of Villains. As I’ve said in the past, aside from the new costume bits and the fact that you get to rob a bank once or twice, it’s not that different from its predecessor.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a really interesting weekend and I encourage anybody who is interested to attend at least once. I’ll probably go again next year, too, but I think that perhaps I’ll try and make things really interesting— by going in costume and attending the famous masquerade party.

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