INSiGHT: MCM Comic Con London 2018

By Neil Flynn 08.11.2018

MCM Comic Con rolled through London on the final weekend of October and Cubed3 spent the weekend there gathering tasty titbits of information and impressions of all the gaming glory present at the event. Never been to, or had any interest in going to, Comic Con before? Hopefully, this feature can change that!

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Attending Comic Con has never been easier, with multiple cities taking part and events happening throughout the year. The show has become more accessible than ever before by running over the course of the weekend, allowing more patrons to attend and, better yet, even more experiences to be had. There were a huge variety of activities to fill the weekend with, including anime, manga, movies, TV shows, books, tattoos, autograph signings, shows, videogames, and a show floor full of merchandise vendors. Allocating time for each can be difficult and if all of these are areas of interest, then it is hugely advised to get a weekend pass.

Taking up about a quarter of the entire exhibition space, the gaming area is adorned with vendors selling merchandise, ranging from plushies to artwork. A whole weekend could be spent visiting the gaming booths with such a large number of developers and publishers showcasing their upcoming titles, including a large presence from Nintendo, Sony, Bandai Namco, and Square Enix. An assortment of smaller developers made up the middle of the floor, which comprised of much smaller lines for the demo units. NIS America had a very appealing space with titles like Disgaea 1 and Yomawari: The Long Night Collection available to play, and purchase (breaking the street date for the latter by five days).  Square Enix showed off Kingdom Hearts III, which attracted long queues for a play session; Bandai Namco meanwhile had huge numbers of people watching Soul Calibur VI bouts and Jump Force battles, which releases in 2019. Sony dedicated show-floor space to the utterly sublime Spiderman encompassing half of its large arena space, but, interestingly, Sony focused much of its allotted floor-plan to PlayStation VR, serving up demos of Astro Bot, Tetris Effect, Beat Sabre, and more. This could be a strong indication that Sony isn't ready to give up on the rather underwhelming commercial performance of the VR venture, particularly with Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, which Cubed3 got to experience while at the event.  Launched in early October 2018, Astro Bot is an action platformer that has helped push the VR experience into the forefront and with more titles like Astro Bot there could be a bright future ahead.

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Meanwhile, Nintendo had the largest gaming exhibition space at Comic Con by far, and it was needed, largely due to the vast number of people wanting to play Pokémon Let's Go and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Neither demo differed to what was on show at E3 earlier this year, nor were they different from Cubed3's extensive play session with them at NintendoUKVS Live back in July. The excitement from the community for both hotly anticipated titles was evident, indicating that Nintendo should expect a pretty tidy bank statement for its Q4 financials. Nintendo also shone a spotlight on Super Mario Party to drum up support for its multiplayer hit, which offered fans an opportunity to play a recently released title without much of a wait. Nintendo even pulled out all the stops with couches and a giant screen to accommodate larger groups of people, further accentuating the strong focal point of local multiplayer experiences still being fun. FIFA 19, Mario Tennis Aces, Fornite, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and the newly released Diablo III: Eternal Collection, were also playable over the weekend, although strangely there didn't appear to be demo units for the recently released Starlink: Battle for Atlas or the insanely evergreen Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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Nintendo somewhat silently gave a debut to New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, much to the delight of many Peachette and Bowsette enthusiasts. Nabbit and Peachette make great additions to the roster, adding in a new splash of variety in character choices. Nabbit cannot collect power-ups but also doesn't take enemy damage, which will help newcomers and younger players enter the Mario universe. Gameplay, graphics, sound, and presentation all largely look very familiar from the Wii U version released in 2012. It will be interesting to see if this will get a full price retail release like Tropical Freeze did, or if it will get a more budget friendly option, similar to Captain Toad Treasure Tracker.

The rest of the Nintendo exhibition was dedicated to the tournament zone for Splatoon 2's UK Championship and its live streaming media centre. Nintendo has made the utmost effort in reaching out to the community during the Nintendo Switch era and is more in touch with the fan-base than ever before. Nintendo UK's continued support of hosting large-scale events, such as the UKVS Live series, or large showings at exhibitions like Comic Con, and EGX, among many others, displays that change has happened, predominantly with the fact that it is live streamed across the Internet. Hopefully, this progressive approach by Nintendo UK will continue into 2019 and beyond by showcasing more Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments, along with other competitive multiplayer experiences.

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Comic Con is an inclusive melting pot of cultures and people who all have a vested interest in movies, comics, and gaming, among many others. The effort that the attendees make is highly evident through the showcase of cosplay, especially with Comic Con falling on a weekend with countless Halloween parties happening. Seeing Bowsette come to life (which is a real thing now), shows the creativity of a community who love to attend these events. Never been to Comic Con before? If there is an interest in gaming, anime, manga, or movies, then this is an experience that cannot be missed! To find out more about MCM Comic Con and upcoming events visit the official website.

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