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