Blue Sky - The Cloud Hosting Company


Event review: MCM Birmingham Comic Con 2013

FEATURES - MOVIES

Shadowlockeds James Ridler talks us through Birmingham's MCM Comic Con. Expect plenty of game talk, spliced with a masterful television interview or two...

Event review: MCM Birmingham Comic Con 2013...

Isn't it annoying when you love Sci-Fi productions - both cinematic and terrestrial - yet you can't find another person for miles who shares your passion? Similarly, when you find yourself trawling through screens of your favourite animé, talking to people on forums that you wish you could talk to over a cold pint. For that passionate individual things can certainly be toughly - surviving in in a world that doesn't quite understand your Trekkie ways, keeping your mouth shut in public lest someone mock you for your perfectly legitimate fan following...is that even living? I mean come on, if you can't embrace the inner geek then what's the point in filtering so much time into it's viewing?

However, if you are one of these people, then I would like to warmly introduce you to the amazing world of expos and conventions.  What better place to go than a hall full of video games, film memorabilia - both for sale and your viewing pleasure - and special guests from your favourite TV shows?

Welcome to Comic Con, MCM style

Cosplay at MCM Birmingham Comic Con 2013...

Lengthy introductions aside, the MCM expos that run periodically up and down the country are a great way to meet up with people who have similar interests as you. In fact I am testament to this fact, having forged friendships with people I wouldn't have the chance to meet under normal circumstances.

Luigi graced MCM Birmingham Comic Con with an appearance...The MCM Birmingham Comic Con was - and will remain - a great place for anyone dipping their toes into this world of cute animé plushies and people dressed in a wide range of costumes.

Of the attractions present, one major draw is the cosplay competitions that feature throughout the event; remaining consistent from start to finish. Here, people can show off their costumes, many of which have been forged in dark settings, well into the night, for months or even years; plus all their hard work practicing skits and on stage presence come together to make a great show. Of course the competition dies down once you get to the Sunday, but it's still nice seeing people getting involved - a great sense of pride fills the halls as individuals parade around the expo like the gladiators of Rome, bathing in the praise besotted on them by fellow attendees and expo organisers.

Then again, I realise that a lot of you people aren't all too interested in dressing up as your favourite game characters with a bunch of strangers you happened to meet over the internet. Well, fear not, as Birmingham expo did its best not to disappoint, with a smorgasbord of guests attending and exclusive new games not playable anywhere else in the country. As an avid (well, perhaps addicted is a more appropriate definition) gamer, the ability to play games such as Luigi's mansion 2 and Monster Hunter on the 3DS, way before anyone else gets to, is an opportunity too big to pass up.

"Fans of the game Ni No Kuni got a real treat this weekend as well, with the voice of Drippy, or Steffan Rhodri as he's known in the real world, came to talk to fans and discuss his involvement in such a beautiful game"

New achievement - gaming at the Expo

Talking of games, the Nintendo stand is always the most welcoming, with ample space to play games and experience the latest titles they have to offer (which can be a bit of a mixed bag). The aforementioned Luigi's Mansion 2 translates well on to the 3D screen, with crisp graphics and tricky puzzles on offer. It takes the tried and tested formula of the original and adds some funky new ideas like flash lights to stun foes, and wacky rainbow light for others. Similarly, Monster Hunter doesn’t stray too far from its previous template, but it's nice to see a portable version of the game with much nicer graphics; and the accessible multi-player with four regular joes you can do in the street.

Crysis, in all his glory...And yet, with many action games on the 3DS, I find the 3D element a little bit distracting. The biggest disappointment for me, as far as the titles available went, was the new Castlevania. For starters the 3D almost made me blind, trying to add too much depth to a 2.5D game that didn't need it. The levels were lifeless, and bereft of any enemies. I once came across a snake demon in an underground cave, resulting in three seconds of exciting whip lashing action, only to be left with ten minutes of lonely exploration after. After being treated to grueling, enemy filled castles in my previous Castlevania adventures, it's hard to ignore the fact that this new title seemed lacking...of anything.

'And on that farm he had some games, EA, EA Ooo'...

EA had a few titles on display, with the obvious inclusion of Crysis 3. Now, after growing up in a generation where PCs are tested by how well they run the first Crysis, seeing the newest version on the PS3 left me feeling a little let down. What can I say - I love my 'blow your eyes out, fully modded, why did I spend all my money on this computer' visuals, so the graphics on this console adaptation were always going to sower me a little.

Disappointment aside, I did have a blast around the Multiplayer mode, but my supreme lack of skill with a PS3 controller lead me to being shot by literally invisible enemies all too often. On a side note, I did notice an interesting correlation between the amount of times I was pummeled in the back and my anger levels. Interesting that, but now's not the time to explore it.

What really took my attention though was Dead Space 3. Now there's a satisfying title if I ever did see one. I haven't had too much experience with the series, due to being the absolute wuss I am, but I must say the third title is a blast. Stomping on crawling enemies, carefully dissecting Necromorph limbs and the silly deaths and the ways you get killed are so gritty, so visceral, that it screams to be played more. Oh and there’s some plot too, but the real reason you play is the tense survival horror aspect, not knowing what lies around the corner. Plus, the absolute horror of watching enemies still shamble, morph and crawl towards you, really puts a new spin on the whole terror aspect. Also, the fact that Dead Space 3 allows the gamer to learn from his or her mistakes - carefully identifying when they were simply overwhelmed, and why, is a real draw to this title; and with that in mind it's definitely on my wish list.

"I see myself. I am a comic book freak. My brother and I had the biggest collection ever. I give my son comic books now, and we trade comic books, so I see myself in everyone. I saw an R2D2 when I was coming over, and I had to stop, because, It's R2D2 and it works! I was twelve when Star Wars came out, and it took my breath away..." Gary Dourdan, aka Warrick Brown, CSI

How about Studio Ghibli?

Ni NO Kuni...Fans of the game Ni No Kuni got a real treat this weekend as well, with the voice of Drippy, or Steffan Rhodri as he's known in the real world, came to talk to fans and discuss his involvement in such a beautiful game. Like many voice actors, he had to go through the hours of work alone in a booth, effectively talking to himself. Fortunately, Steffan admitted to loving that sort of work : "I love it, because you're free to wear whatever you like and just go for it; whilst enjoying the opportunity and the character you are portraying. There is a bit of discipline involved, because it can be quite tiring on the voice and on the mind, but it's great fun!”

"I see myself. I am a comic book freak. My brother and I had the biggest collection ever. I give my son comic books now, and we trade comic books, so I see myself in everyone. I saw an R2D2 when I was coming over, and I had to stop, because, It's R2D2 and it works! I was twelve when Star Wars came out, and it took my breath away..." Gary Dourdan, aka Warrick Brown, CSI

The long awaited Despicable Me 2 was advertised at the MCM Birmingham Comi Con 2013...Whilst a lot of the inspiration for his portrayal of Drippy came from previous works of the Japanese voice actor, which Steffan said allowed him "To get a sense of his character, and the sort of energy and personality of the character”, the voice actor noted that he drew much from his own childhood experience. Whilst looking for the actor for Drippy, the producers were specifically after someone with a welsh accent. Steffan admitted to finding that hard at first, since his accent isn't as heavy as it was when he was a child. "My accent whilst growing up was a bit stronger, and I kept getting pushed by the director to have a stronger welsh accent, so I simply reverted to being as welsh as I was when I was growing up; and that was appropriate because Drippy is a childlike character, so it was all my welsh childhood coming into it.”

Steffan also mentioned that he loved how, despite being a good guy throughout the game, Drippy is “...rebellious and non conformist". "He's not a goody two shoes in any way, and it was very appealing to play that kind of character", Steffan said.

Back to terrestrial

Gary Dourdan, well known for his portrayal of Warrick Brown in the hit show CSI was on hand to let people into the world of murder in Las Vegas. Probably the biggest thing to take away from any meeting with him is how much of a down to earth guy he is; one who shares his own love for Comics and sci-fi with the people of the convention. When asked what he thought of the people and atmosphere of Birmingham expo, his response was both warming and sincere. "I see myself. I am a comic book freak. My brother and I had the biggest collection ever. I give my son comic books now, and we trade comic books, so I see myself in everyone. I saw an R2D2 when I was coming over, and I had to stop, because, It's R2D2 and it works! I was twelve when Star Wars came out, and it took my breath away. There were no space films at the time, so when my father took me to see [Star Wars], I thought I was going to see a cowboy movie! I spent the whole film with my mouth open and on the edge of my seat. From then I became whatever you call a Trekkie if you watch Star Wars."

Continuing, Dourdan spoke about his time on CSI. "Being an actor on such a well known series, and being in the trade of making memorable characters, sometimes there are lines of dialogue, or whole phrases, that you could say and make your own, or even steal from others. Gary isn't really one to wish that he'd been the one to usher 'I'll be back' in The Terminator, or 'We've come on holiday by mistake' in Withnail and I, but he does sometimes wish he would be able to use harsher language, even swear words, or cussing as he calls it, to come across as a bit edgier. Shows on HBO...they do their fair share of cussing. I wish we, on CSI, could express ourselves a little bit more. Not that I'd like to cuss so much, but their shows are written with a lot more gusto, lets just say that. They’re able to express themselves a lot more, and they have a lot more freedom with the dialogue. Our network kept it very safe.”

Final thoughts

Final thoughts on MCM Birmingham Comic Con...

Overall, MCM Birmingham - and the whole range of yearly MCM events - are incredible events to be involved with, offering you a wide range of activities and a great way to network with like-minded fans. It's also a great way to introduce yourself and friends into the wacky world of conventions.

Having attended a number of MCM Expos over the years (maybe too many), I must admit it does get a  bit stale at times, with similar offers and draws becoming mundane as the years go by. That said, it's great to visit for a day - or even two - and good for kids too (there were hundreds of families with young children there), but for someone who now goes to the more specialised conventions - which focus more on community and panels - it doesn't offer the same magical flame it once did.

Still... for a source of new games, and great all star guests, MCM never goes wrong, and the special people that put all that time and effort into it deserve all the praise that comes their way. So for all you first timers, London MCM expo - running from the 24-26th May 2013, will offer you all the above plus more, and is the gateway to something new and wonderful courtesy of the world of geekdom. Furthermore, we'll be there again, so why not come to say hello? We'll hook you up with VIP (Editors note - hint hint MCM!); but for now live long and prosper; may the force be with you; *insert further catchphrases here*...


IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:


If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.

 

Report an error in this article
Add comment (comments from logged in users are published immediately, other comments await moderator approval)


RECENT COMMENTS
MOST COMMENTED
Shadowlocked FULL TEXT article RSS Shadowlocked RSS