Ramblings of a Gaming Girl goes to MCM Manchester

This blog post is a little late coming, but I’ve had a friend to stay again, and today has been my first chance to sit down and think about it.

So on Saturday July 20th, the MCM came to Manchester Central once again, and of course it would have been rude not to attend. I asked my friend Zoe to come with me and stay for a few days, so I picked her up from the train station and off we went.

I’ve attended the MCM in London, Telford and Manchester before, but Manchester is my closest. I haven’t been for a couple of years due to work, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect in terms of how busy it was going to be. The first time I went, I probably queued for about 30 minutes. This time, I queued for more than 2 hours. I’m really glad that they’ve decided to spread the expo across two days next year, because it really was ridiculous. I wouldn’t have been able to get to Manchester in time for early entry, and that was the only reason I had to queue so long.

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Regardless though, for the first hour or so the queueing wasn’t too bad. I am British after all, and queueing is what we do best. I brought my 3DS with me to get stocked up on Street Passes, and I wasn’t left disappointed as I pretty much spent the whole day clearing them and getting puzzle pieces etc. I also love queuing for the MCM so I can see all the cosplayers. I didn’t have any pictures from the queue as I wasn’t anticipating it being so long, but there were some very interesting ones. One year I will go to one of these events in cosplay, but as a redhead who lacks visual creativity, I’m a little bit stuck in terms of what to go as. Rangiku Matsumoto is one, but I’d rather not have my chest on display all day, or I could go as Inoue Orihime, but a more covered up version.

The longer we queued for, the more people gave up. The queue started moving more when more people admitted defeat, but we still got no closer to our goal. Eventually, at 2PM we got in, and I was amazed at how much bigger they had made the expo since the last time I came. Now, I’m a big fan of anime and manga as well as video games, so this expo is perfect for me, and I was pretty much like a hyper child when we eventually got in. My friend Zoe is a bit of an artist, so we spent a lot of time around the comics, and found one that had a character that looks scarily like me. We also got chatting to some comic artists from Cheltenham (mine and Zoes’ hometown) which was a bit weird, but nice.

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The floor of the expo was packed with cosplayers, so trying to make our way round was difficult at first to say the least. Making our way through all the pop up shops, comic artists and DDR stage, we found the Robot Wars Stage. We both absolutely adored Robot Wars as children, and I remember the first year I came to the MCM, Craig Charles was hovering around. He wasn’t this time, but we actually got through the crowd and watched a few rounds of Robot Wars Live which was great fun, and slightly nostalgic.

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Unfortunately, the gaming area of the MCM is never very big, and featured mainly Saints Row and Zelda. I’m not really interested in Saints Row Personally, although they had a very good pop up section. I did have a go at the new Zelda game on the 3DS though, The Legend of Zelda a Link Between Worlds. I only had a quick go on it, as we were both pretty tired by this point and there were so many other people waiting to have a go, but it was pretty good fun. It had some very interesting ideas in there from what I could see, and certainly seemed like it could be a worthy addition to the franchise.

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I also added another art book to my collection as I purchased the Hyrule Historia from the Travelling Man pop up shop inside the expo. A bargain at £20, I haven’t had chance to look through it properly yet, but I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it and absorb all the beautiful art and information.

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Overall, the expo was great fun, and I encourage anybody in the North of England with an interest in games, anime or manga to attend next years expo. It may not be as big or as grand as the expo in London, but it’s a hell of a lot closer, and just as fun.

For more pictures from my day at the MCM, please go to my Facebook page. Why not even give it a like while you’re there?

Maybe next year, Manchester…

So today is the MCM event in Manchester. I went last year with my Uncle, and it wasn’t brilliant, but it was the very first one so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I was going to attend this year to see if they boosted the event after the huge success it had last year, but unfortunately I have better things to do than go and queue up for hours in the hopes that it’s better a year later. Instead of attending the MCM I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, to give up chocolate, wine and meat for my own version of Ramadan (One that doesn’t turn me into a hungry, rabid female) on the very weekend that I have a 60th birthday party to attend. My fridge is full of non-alcoholic wine and Shloer to keep me going. If nothing else, it’s going to be a cheap 30 days.

But anyway, I’m sad to be missing this MCM in Manchester, but thankfully I have just seen that the MCM in London just so happens to fall on the weekend on my birthday, and the weekend that I’m going down to see the man. He doesn’t know this yet, but no doubt he’s reading now….I haven’t attended an MCM event since last summer, so I really want to go to this. Will I cosplay? No, but I’ll take pictures of everyone else in their fantastic costumes and buy lots of pointless things, including a massive supply of Pocky no doubt.

Maybe next year, Manchester

In the world of gaming I haven’t really been up to much. I’ve been playing Persona 3 Portable on the PSP. When I first bought it I think I had reached Persona saturation point as I was playing Persona 3FES, then I was also playing Persona 4, but I’m really enjoying it now. I like how it’s slightly different when playing as a female, as in I can have different relationships with people, and it just feels like an entirely different gaming experience playing as a different character. If given the choice I always tend to pick the male character in games, but the female character in P3P is just as strong as her male counterpart. I started The Answer on P3FES, but soon rage quit as I kept dying. These games are incredibly fun, bu my God they test your patience. I am very much looking forward to Persona 4 Arena though, as previously mentioned, it just looks amazing and completely insane. Need to get that on pre-order soon.

Playing as a female in P3P is actually quite fun

Not much else going on in the world of gaming for me, so instead of that I have been watching Dexter season 5&6 excessively to try and catch up to the latest season starting in September. I’ve had a few strange dreams about murder investigations and being abducted, but aside form that it’s been real edge-of-the-seat stuff.

Day one of E3; The highs & the lows

So the first & biggest day of E3 is over and done with, and in a way I could not be more relieved. Living in the UK meant that I was up until 3am watching everything, and had been watching it for 10 hours straight after a morning at work as well. I have never wanted to just curl up and die in bed more so than I do today. Anyway, yesterday had some highs for me, but also a lot of lows. Here’s a brief look at what I reckon to E3 so far;

The Highs

  • Dance Central 2 is getting a campaign mode. I mentioned that I wanted something like this in my Dance Central review previously so I am quite excited to try this out.
  • Need for Speed; The Run. I’m not a massive racing fan, but the NFS games have always intrigued me and this just looked stunning. I’m not sure about the QTE’s in the out of car sequences, but we shall see.
  • The new SSX looks awesome amounts of fun. I haven’t played SSX since the N64, so this had better be good.
  • Overstrike announced by EA. Looks like a fun to play TPS, capable of four player co op.
  • Battlefield 3. this looks amazing even though I haven’t played any of the series before. Infinitely better than COD already in my books /controversy
  • Raving Rabbids coming to the Kinect. I don’t like the Kinect, but I like Raving Rabbids. Instant win for me.
  • Assassins Creed Revelations. A gameplay trailer was shown and it looks like an incredible ending to an incredible series. I just hope we get to find out what it’s really all about in Ezio’s final chapter.
  • Cross platform functionality between the NGP/PS Vita & the PS3.
  • YouTube partnered with XBL.
  • New Tomb Raider. Live demo was shown & it looks incredible, although they may want to consider investing in a new voice actor for Lara.
The Lows
  • Way too much emphasis on Kinect. Not everyone wants this peripheral, nor do they have the money to afford this peripheral.
  • Fable with Kinect. This looks awful. Who the hell wants an on the rails RPG adventure game in 2011? I don’t care if it has motion control, it looks terrible.
  • Just Dance 3 is going multi platform. This might be a good thing, but I’m unsure. Just Dance on the Wii has unresponsive controls and a tiny catalogue of tracks that come with the actual game. Will they learn from this mistake on the other consoles?
  • Driver San Francisco. This wasn’t so much a low for me, as a bit of a confusing moment. Only because I remember playing a demo of this in London a year ago. I honestly thought this had been released already. Old news.
  • Cross platform functionality between the NGP/PS Vita & the PS3.
  • The Sims Social. I was initially excited about this last night, but I think I’ve changed my mind. It’s a little bit stalker-ish and looks like EA’s answer to Habbo Hotel.
  • ME3 uses Kinect voice recognition. Some people were excited, I thought it was pointless. Don’t be so lazy and just use the controller.
  • Kinect Disneyland Adventures. Enough said.
  • Bing partnered with XBL.
So far there are few things that have wowed me without then delivering some form of disappointment. I am interested to see what Nintendo pull out of the hat today though as so far Microsoft have failed me miserably, and EA & Ubisoft are beating the top dogs.  I won’t be impressed with the Wii 2 if that is announced, nor do I care about more remakes for the 3DS.

The build up to E3

I shall be away again as of tomorrow, and then down in London on Saturday for the MCM Expo, so figured I had better actually make a quick update on my personal ponderings about E3.

Taking several days off work has become a bit of a habit for me as soon as E3 rolls around. No I’m not flying out to America to attend, as much as I wish I was, but instead I shall be sat at my computer, watching every last conference with intrigue & glee. I will even sit here with my notepad and pen, scribbling down notes furiously as I drool over the biggest news on games & hardware. It may sound sad, but gaming is my passion & I need to know what’s going on.

What will E3 hold for us this year though? It’s been a funny year for the gaming industry; Sony are grovelling & begging for our forgiveness due to this entire PSN debacle, Nintendo have won some and lost some with the 3DS, and well, Microsoft have likely just continued to grin with delight as Bill Gates bathes in money.

From Sony I believe it will be a 2 hour grovelling session complete with some thrown together ideas to appease the public. Microsoft may announce a new console, but I find that highly unlikely with the continuing roaring success of the Xbox 360 & the recent release of the Kinect. As for Nintendo, well, the rumour mill has been churning out pictures & news of a new console from them, but I can’t help but feel it could be overkill if they do announce the ‘Wii 2’.

There is a lot of uncertainty for me this year. Last year was hardware-centric from all three of the big boys in the industry, so it would be nice if this time they just took a step back & focused on what we use their hardware for; the games themselves.

Ubisoft Summer BBQ Event

Yesterday I had the pleasure of making my way to the Ubisoft Summer BBQ down in London with my lovely friends at Top Gayer. How excited was I to be trying out a bunch of awesome new games and technology months before release? Very wouldn’t even begin to cover it. There was also free food and drink, but that was only a small incentive…promise.

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