FACTS convention is an overall meeting of enthusiasts of all trades of life. The halls offer a slew of comics, artists, figurines, anime, toys, movies, guest attendants and of course games. Every year, people flock on down to the halls to revel in memorabilia and spend their cash. Before heading down to the game portion, which is really the smallest portion of FACTS, let’s stand still at the other aspects in a nutshell.
This is the crap I bought. I'm poor now, but my materialism has been satisfied.
First off, people are crazy for figurines apparently, certainly given the cost of them. Any smallish statuette could cost 3 digits already, so one can imagine what a 1:2 scale of Iron Man would set them back. There are also all sorts of comics about the strangest things and merchandise a-plenty to go with that. This year’s winner was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Flaming Carrot crossover comic and a board game from The Walking Dead. And naturally, anime and cosplay are huge, even if at any given convention Star Wars reigns supreme. The cornucopia of nerd property thrown around at any given time really is an experience. In what other room could you meet R2D2 and Boba Fett in person, while a princess walks by, followed by a legion of Naruto clones? But we’ll let that vast portion go for now. I’ve made many horrible pictures, which we’ll set up as a photo montage at the end of the article with some sideline commentary for those interested. Now, let’s talk games.
It's R2D2! They didn't look very happy though, but that's understandable given the accomodation.
Ubisoft was really the only presence at the convention, besides a small Sony related booth, mostly for show. Though it did have 2 memorable things to note, being Uncharted 3’s multiplayer looking exhilarating and 3D gaming looking dreadful and unnecessary; not to mention seeming hideous to outsiders. The Ubisoft booth was mainly built around the Just Dance 3 stage, though no porn stars promoting it this time and I thoroughly checked. The slew of preppy teenage girls, waiting to see Tom Felton seemed to enjoy it, so if that’s you, you’re probably not reading this.
There was however also some stands with Assassin’s Creed Revelations. And while it didn’t amaze me enough to go play it, this game could eventually turn me into a fan of the series at long last. The scale looked immensely grand with top notch visuals, fast-paced action and fluent controls. At least they looked like a decent setup, as every person playing it was quickly down with grappling, climbing, jumping, stabbing and more of that assassin action goodness; while the game in itself looked like it flowed into each maneuver effortlessly. The horizon looked like there was so much to do and accomplish in this game, so we could be looking at a late Game of the Year contender if everything is as it seems.
I did however get tricked into playing some Rayman Origins multiplayer and that experience was alright. The focus of it is mainly centered on flowing consistently throughout levels as a team, which is quite hard to do with random strangers. After getting a feel of the controls, it gets quite easy to get a run through a level. Usually, the stages are mostly based on running, jumping and floating around and keeping up with the pace. Players can pick up coins and other various items on their way and they can also slap the living hell out of inanimate objects and team mates alike. There are various simple puzzles to rack through swiftly, such as simple button operated fans to create a gust in order to float ahead. There are also breakable parts in areas, which can lead to some new sections or are used to solve puzzles. These can be broken in the same slapping manner or by crashing down into them.
The dying and revival mechanic did feel like it took just a little too long, plus it can create a sort of laziness where one player comes back floating and waits for the other one to pass all sections. Naturally, there isn’t a lot to gain in that, plus if all players fade then the level fails, but that doesn’t stop it from happening. In order to come back to play, players must press all shoulder buttons at the right time. Be mindful that the dash button is also on the right trigger, so it’s a little confusing at first, but nothing too strenuous.
In general, Rayman Origins felt like it made good use of consistent action, be it simplistic. At least there was a sense of staying locked into the game.
While at FACTS, I also had myself a little experiment. Since owning my Nintendo 3DS, I had only ever picked up one StreetPass hit and that sad occurrence was the demo unit at a local store. It’s safe to say that Nintendo’s big social plan wasn’t really a success and I live in a town filled with 18 to 25 year old residents. Therefore, I thought running laps at a conventions filled with wannabe Zelda’s, Mario’s and Link’s would probably be the best way to get at least some likeminded people. The goal was to get at least 5 hits to check the success rate of the 3DS.
It didn’t take long for the first hit, though I didn’t know how to check for it, because that just never happened before! An hour later, after checking every corner, I figured that the top right light was the indicator of friends being made. There was much to see, so given the previous success rate, I figured it would take a while and just carried on for a time while the light was on. Apparently, that wasn’t the best plan, because this experiment was a royal success. After a second check, the notifications mentioned 10 new people waiting at the Mii Plaza! Oh, glorious day for Nintendo!
But this is also a setback in this social feature. The software didn’t allow for more than 10 people to show up at a time and it’s certainly possible that more people passed by while not looking. Secondly, this also applied to the Puzzle and Quest mini-game and as you need all the help you could get in those, that was rather off-putting. I had to try and manage being in the middle of a sweaty crowd to play some video games, which I’m sure didn’t make me look good. But in all, I got 22 hits! This is exactly why Nintendo needs to starts pushing their presence in these types of conventions!
In real life, obviously, this social interaction is more erratic, because who randomly carries a standby 3DS around all day? But even in this convention, not even centered on games, tons of fans have this stranger and awkward idea. Imagine actually having Nintendo there; what better way to create a sense of success? It’d be a fabricated figure, but most people don’t really think about that, nor do they care. And as with my previous encounter with a demo unit, this could be enhanced even more artificially. By using concentrated places where people of the same faction congregate, this aspect could get hyped up and ultimately spread through word of mouth.
Each individual has much more potential as an offbeat salesman when their Mii Plaza is filled with strangers, rather than having to sell an abstract idea. This would cumulatively create more units and could break Nintendo out of this handheld slump, because let’s not forget their start has been rocky. And what’s best is that this wouldn’t feel as forced as set meeting for 3DS people to swap Mii’s; conventions are the perfect excuse to geek out! Though, the feature obviously still has some quirks, such as obvious things that can get exploited. Even before opening the case, I knew I’d meet an incredibly offensive character at least once.
And now, I leave you with some more random crappy pictures. Share your thoughts below.