Comic con: games and comics and geeks, oh my!

I survived an event so massive, it bears but one name: Comic-con.  If you haven’t been to the San Diego comic-con before, over the past several years it has become much more than a place for comics.  It has become a gathering for all the popular media, as well as a one-stop shop for intellectual property.  It should then come as no surprise that the game industry has descended in force, not just to market to players, but also to share best practices and to hunt for IP.

The con started off with a panel led by developers from Telltale Games and Hothead Games.  Although the panel ostensibly focused on the episodic business model, one other theme emerged: capturing the spirit of the IP by designing a good story.  Both companies work closely with their IP-holders, Steve Purcell (Sam & Max) and Gabe and Tycho (Penny Arcade).  All agreed the goal behind their games was to tell a good story.  In the case of Hothead, Gabe and Tycho do all the writing for the game.  That said, because Penny Arcade’s strip format is “anti-continuity,” Hothead brought in a narrative designer to ensure a fun and larger story would emerge.  As for Telltale, their designers design the story as well as write it.  In the future, they plan to focus on organizing the entire season, that is, designing a season arc.  With a second season of Sam & Max on the way and Penny Arcade soon to launch, they may well be on to something. 

Even though Hollywood and games have taken over parts of comic-con, geeks of all stripes will still find a home.  In addition to gaming goodies, I attended a brief history of manga lecture by Jason Thompson; learned that just about everyone is going to be publishing comics online; realized that the paranormal romance genre owes more to Laurell K. Hamilton than Joss Whedon; watched TV pilots; wondered at a live action version of Ben 10 for Cartoon Network; was regaled on more than one occasion with the wonders of the new Flash Gordon series; and set my eyes on many projects that could well be next year’s hot IPs.  Of course, not all of it was fun and games.  I have to live forever with this picture:

Anne waxing on and on to Jordan

That’s Anne discussing something high-falutin’ no doubt with Jordan Mechner.  Please note: Hopefully Anne only looks that way when under the influence of rooftop parties.

After four and a half days of walking the aisles, attending panels, crashing parties, and losing my voice, I managed to return home armed with knowledge and swag.  If you attended the event, what did you come home with?

Question Mark Guess that game dialog! Today’s line: “I have nothing to sell, but I’m shouting nonetheless!

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My trick for those occasions: (a bit extreme, but it worked for me): shoot any person even attemptimg to take a picture of you. Make it acertain as Juge Dredd that there will be no exceptions.

    First times are rough, but then you’re left alone for good.

    I’m pretty curious of what they’ll make with the Penny Arcade game. I mean, while there’s alot of ongoing context (not to mention subtext ^_^”) with the all the characters created, there’s hardly anything storywise (that could make it into a game). Unless the game has a very twisted non-sensical/(self)parodic story, I wonder how it will manage to work.

    Also, if they actually write a working story, how much will it influence the characters in the comic itself ?

  2. Hothead said for Penny Arcade they brought in a narrative designer to create a storyline, so you don’t need to worry there. I’m guessing that the game won’t necessarily influence the comics, because that’s usually how it goes. However, since Gabe and Tycho are writing the game, some of it may seep into the comics anyway. We shall see.

  3. […]  Last Monday’s game dialog was spoken by a merchant in the game Dreamfall. […]

  4. […] you are going SIGGRAPH or live in the area and spot Anne, whose delightful photo is posted here, don’t hesitate to say hello, tell her some game dialog, or talk about something incredibly […]

  5. […] be someone who gets everything right. A hero can also be someone you relate to. A couple weeks ago, Comic-con held a panel for the TV series Heroes. They introduced the cast one by one. The hot and badass […]

  6. […] be someone who gets everything right. A hero can also be someone you relate to. A couple weeks ago, Comic-con held a panel for the TV series Heroes. They introduced the cast one by one. The hot and badass […]

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