This Year’s NYCC 2011

Like talking to teenagers about sex, not enough conversation happens between elementary/middle school students and their adult counterparts (teachers and parents) about video games. If the questions are asked the responses are finite “Nos.” (I don’t think I need to tell you how well abstinence works as birth control.)

At my local library kids stand three or four deep, peering over shoulders. Their peers have reserved time on library computers to do exactly what they do on their DSs. Initially, I saw this as a problem because they weren’t using the library machines on the terms I understood: searching the web for links to information and informational sources, composing papers, building tables, etc.

It stopped being a problem when I realized, my terms were written on the limitations of the library computers of my generation: green, angular text on black screens, the groans, clicks, and whirs of the 20th Century progress.

This recent awakening made missing Thursday’s New York Comic Con (NYCC) panel on National Gaming Day particularly disappointing for me. I made the decision to stay in on the first day of NYCC 2011 to nurse a cold.

I did make it Friday, however, for a full day in the exhibit hall(s) – including a special side trip to the New York Anime Fest (NYAF) exhibit hall and stage.  I had completely missed the Anime Fest last year. Regrettably, I only fared a little better this year. The challenge for the NYAF is retaining its unique identity and audience in the shadow of the slightly older, much larger, and more pop culturally accessible NYCC (everyone knows the Avengers, not everyone knows Naruto).

This year Chevy and Animal Planet had booths at the NYCC. Next year, will JAL and Toho have booths at the NYAF?

The NYCC felt better organized and laid out this year. There were rumors that this one was even larger than the last one. I hadn’t realized just how large the Javits Center was until Sunday when my children and I spent a bulk of our day in the North Pavilion for Kids Day at the NYCC. 

The NYCC with the kids means shorter days for me and addressing more basic needs like packing a lunch, snacks, and water. My kids were with me all three “official” days of the NYCC. One day, I was unprepared and spent $3 on a limp tasteless hot dog from a cart outside the Javits Center.  I also had to make the decision to skip Saturday’s Avengers panel. It was an easy decision and my kids were eager to stay but I could tell by the droop in their lids that it would have been too much. Even if they would have stayed awake through the wait, I doubt they would’ve been able to sit still through the panel.

Last year, I definitely attended more panels and screenings (with and without my kids). Over a year since we cancelled our cable subscription, some of the panels like the Haven panel, while inspiring interest, didn’t have the same draw as meandering through the North Pavilion to see what was going in terms of Beyblades (my kids’ latest obsession) and Nerf shooters.

But it’s not just about the latest and greatest. This year’s NYCC was also a reunion of sorts. A chance to chat and catch up with the people at Amazing Society and Gazillion about Superhero Squad online (heroup.com). Last year, they showered my kids with gifts and special Superhero Squad playing cards to celebrate the launch their site, an online MMO directed at young audiences.

They were just as nice and generous this year. Heroup.com (online) and Little Big Planet (PS3) are the only two games where I let my children interact online with others. The former has become my children’s favorite game. Before the end of the year, we will commit and by subscriptions to the game.

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