Sunday, September 27, 2009

Convention Review: New York Anime Fest

Hey everybody, Nick here. Well, now you can see it's me posting, because we finally put authors into the blog, so now when we update, you'll know who's talking. Well this really isn't arcade related, or overall gaming related, I feel if a place has video games, it's worth talking about.

This Sunday I attended the New York Anime Festival in New York City. I went to the old Big Apple Anime Fest and they had it in a very small hotel convention center and the game room was more of a closet and there was a line of people wanting to play Smash Brothers. This on the other hand was held at the Javits Center so they have more room.

I'll say I was a bit disappointed with the convention. I know I went on Sunday. Saturday's really the big day to go to a convention, they always have the best panels, guests and the dealers always bring out the big ticket items. The part of the center felt very small. Even the big name dealer booths felt small when compared to Otakon in Baltimore. Funimation just had a small booth with DVD's and not much else. Most of the usual anime stores were selling the flavor of the month anime and mangas and the people came with full wallets looking to buy.

I always feel like the old fart whenever I go to conventions now. I got into anime in the 90's when Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon and Ranma 1/2 were the big shows of the day. Now anything from the 70's, 80's and 90's (Well not everything, Eva is still as popular as it was) is considered old hat and for me it feels like nobody cares about them. Companies don't make any new merchandise for the shows I liked, so I never see anything I want to buy and then we got the cosplayers that will go as the hot shows of the day.

I really hate how fickle anime fans are. It's really, "Here today, gone today". I remember a few years ago, everybody LOVED Naruto, everybody loved Bleach, now if you go as a character from either show they get taunted. It's almost like once a show gets popular with a mainstream audience and then they start to sell the t-shirts in Hot Topic, then NOBODY wants to be associated with it anymore. I noticed it with Death Note. While I didn't go to Otakon this year and can't really base what I saw on a Sunday, it felt like I saw less Death Note fans then I saw even at the Big Apple Comic Con a few months ago.

Well, enough with the anime talk, it makes me out to be more of a crotchety old timer wanting the old days back again. Onto the gaming!

Sega had a very small booth with a small DS stand with a PSO style game, I didn't get to play, some anime RPG, I didn't bother with and a new Bleach game. Unfortunately the game isn't from Treasure and they made it into an RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics. I tried it out for a few minutes and didn't care for it. The main focus of the booth was a playable demo of Bayoneta. I tried it out and was really pleased with it. As usual, people thought it was Devil May Cry but with a hot chick, and well, they were right. It does play very fast and frenetic like DMC but I liked how you could pick up enemy weapons and use them. The Bayoneta character herself is pretty cool too. Her costume looks like it's made out of her hair and when you finish off an enemy the hair comes to life and can be used to pop enemies up into the air for some crazy combos and to finish of the big boss battles, it transforms into this giant demon and you then you have to mash the buttons like nuts to score big points. I hope the rest of the game will be as fun as the demo, I look forward to trying it out more.

There wasn't really a game room at the NYAF. The WCG (World Cyber Games) was hosting a big North East Championships and I saw some of the Gears of War and Counterstrike finals. They had a small area for freeplay games in the mix they had, Street Fighter IV, (which was constantly dominated by one guy for the whole time I was there) Soul Calibur 3, Blazblue, DOA4, Guitar Hero World Tour and finally, Virtua Fighter 5. And of course, my friend Stephan and I were the only ones playing it. I guess New York is just a Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat town. One dealer also had a very bright idea and had a Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 machine set up on 50 cent play, so naturally, it had a huge crowd around it. I wonder if they made more money with that then selling t-shirts and posters.

I did get to see Matt Hawkins newly updated 10 Best and Worst Video Games panel and that's always a delight. I'm really surprised that he's able to walk around freely after he does that panel. I was a little upset with him, because his top two worst used to be Kingdom Hearts and FF 7. He kept FF7 but put in Link: Faces of Evil for the CD-I. C'mon Matt! Put it back! Ruffle some feathers up! I love how angry that panel makes people. I just told one guy at I-Con what his list was and he had a look in his eyes like he wanted to beat ME up, just for saying that somebody else didn't like Final Fantasy 7.

Other then getting to see Matt's panel again with a full audience and in the back row so I could see the reactions of everybody else, the show was a bit lackluster for me. Other then the dealers not having anything I cared about, there was only five or six panel rooms and none of the panels really drew me in. If my friend didn't have any extra pass, I wouldn't have bothered going and been happy. If I paid money to get in, I would have been more upset with the lack of things to do. Overall I think they had a good turnout. I do hope that they'll be able to keep the convention going and be able to get more of the big name companies to come in and help support them. It's always good to go to conventions to hang out with people, even if your not going to panels or buying anything, so I wish them luck and hopefully next year they'll have more to offer and I'll consider giving them another shot.

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