Thursday, July 26, 2007

Well, it's Wednesday night, preview night of Comic-Con 2007 has concluded, and I'm already exhausted. I think it's going to be a long week. The crowd tonight felt more like a Friday. I think the sold-out Saturday is going to be a harrowing experience. I gotta admit, going over the schedule, I'm not as excited as I've been in past years. But I said that last year, and once the Con was here, I perked up considerably.

So tonight, I took the trolley down to the convention center, arriving right around 6:00, and moments after I got in line, they opened the doors. The line was quite long, but as usual the Comic-Con crew was quite efficient, and within ten minutes I had my badge and was heading downstairs to the main exhibit hall. My plan for Wednesday was to hit the video game booths, hoping I'd have more of an opportunity to get some hands-on time with the demos. And this strategy worked out pretty well. I got to play Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix, an upcoming Loony Toons Xbox game (I would have much rather had a go at the DS version, which sounds awesome, but didn't see it around), Dewey's Adventure, Godzilla: Unleashed, and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure.

Puzzle Fighter is a workmanlike remake of the original puzzle battle game, and I anxiously await its arrival on the Xbox Live Arcade (I was told it may be released next Wednesday). The AI opponent was ridiculously easy in early levels, but the difficulty can be adjusted. I do intend to represent at the Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix tournament Capcom is sponsoring.

The Loony Toons game for the Xbox 360 stunk. Looked okay, but I was bored within 30 seconds.

I was somewhat unimpressed with Godzilla: Unleashed for the Wii. But maybe I just didn't understand the controls, particularly the motion controls. The graphics looked acceptably good, though not spectacular. Overall, I think it would be a great bargain game, but at the $50 list price, I'll probably pass, and just wait for King of the Monsters to come out on the Virtual Console. Or take a look at the Xbox 360 version (the motion controls for the Wii felt tacked on).

I had no trouble getting time with both Zack and Wiki and Dewey's Adventure, most likely due to their appearance as kiddie games. Dewey's Adventure, I was surprised to find, was pretty fun, once I figured out the controls. What I played of it was a bit on the simple side, but made great use of the Wii's motion-sensing. I was planning on skipping that one, but now I think I'll give it a shot. I couldn't really form an opinion on Zack and Wiki, as the controls didn't seem to work; I couldn't even use the remote as a pointer reliably. I'm guessing the sensor bar wasn't working properly. The graphics really looked quite primitive, but the adventure game genre seems so well-suited for the Wii, and seeing as some of the game's fans are quite vocal, I certainly wouldn't dismiss it from my brief time with a flawed demo.

Beyond video games, I covered much of the floor, just getting the lay of the land. I did stop at the Peanuts booth, to purchase this year's Con-exclusive T-shirts. I got both designs (Pig-Pen and Cowboy Charlie Brown) in an XL, and when I got home and tried them on, they were comically snug on my belly and man-boobs. My mother laughed hysterically at the sight, to an extent that irked me. I'm suspicious that they accidentally sold me a women's shirt; I may stop by the booth tomorrow to look into the situation. Or maybe I'll just lose some weight (it would be good motivation; I really loved the cowboy design). Elsewhere, I bought a book dedicated to Ralph Wiggum, one of those impulse buys you see by the cash register at the bookstore; I bought it to give as a gift next week, so I'll have to read it quick.

Anyway, that's my report from preview night at Comic-Con. I will bring you breaking news from the Con as time permits, but as I'll be busy, tired, and have limited access to a computer (my brother-in-law will be sleeping on the floor in the computer room), there's a good chance I will maintain radio silence at least until Sunday. If you're at the Con, you can find me at the Gumby panel. The rest of the convention, I'll be wandering the halls, asking people how long until the Gumby panel starts. (I kid Gumby because I love, but in all seriousness, what I'm most excited about by this year's convention is the chance to get a sneak-peek at the new Futurama movie, Bender's Big Score)

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