Creepy Dude Put His Hand On My Shoulder And Whispered Into My Ear: “Welcome to the dark-side”: The NY Anime Fest 2009 Part 3

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

On with more semi-blurry cosplay pics!

Day 2 Continued

The clear-cut highlight of ICON from earlier this year was back and in effect! I naturally couldn’t pass the chance to be in a picture with Old Snake…

… He was unfortunately missing his boss Solid Eye, but at least he had weapons this time.

It’s funny, how I’ve always seen Yun and Yang at shows, but never together. Till now! Nice guys too…

On the flip side, this dude playing Auron from Final Fantasy X was pretty surly, though he may have just been acting the part of his character…

… BTW, when I think back to how dumb he was in the game, as well as FFX as a whole, I seriously get a headache.

I’m fairly certain that only Dave Roman is going to be able to figure out who these girls are supposed to be (hint: they?re from Digimon)…

Once more, it was time to rest our feet and check out a panel. I forget what the topic on-hand was, but it was boring enough for Hilary to mess around with the Eva iPhone app yet again…

… So off we went, and almost immediately ran into Terry Bogard!

As well as another Char…

Someone from a game you hardly ever see, Chrono Cross!

Man, do I ever love the ladies of Pokemon…

One last stroll through the dealers room before it closed for the day; almost picked up this doujin soft despite not know what the hell it was, nor anyone at the table having a clue about it either…

Instead I got this shump that vaguely looked like Thunder Force 5/Broken Thunder from the box. When I asked what it was like, was told “It’s a lot like Thunder Force 5 and Broken Thunder!” Well no duh…

… Bought it nonetheless because I was able to talk the dude down from $20 to $15. Hooray for bartering!

Once the dealers room closes on a Saturday, all the really wacky panels begin commencing! At least traditionally; nowhere on the schedule did I see that absolutely amazing hentai panel from last year listed. There was the cosplay masquerade ball, but last year’s was good enough for me. Seeing a bunch of awkwardly performed sketches by kids referencing shows that I had never seen before or games I’ve never touched, all of which are riddled with technical issues, like a prop constantly breaking down or the wrong the music being selected, only to end with a lame 4chan gag is one thing, fighting to get a decent seat to view such action is an entirely different affair. Then you had the screening of Evangelion 1.0, but neither of us was in mood (especially Hilary, who hates the American dubbing with a passion, though I certainly don’t mind, for sentimental reasons). So instead, we joined up with Mia and her crew for dinner at Kenka, where I had the absolute worst curry in my life. And wouldn’t you know, been aching for the chance to doll out a single star review at Americurry for some time now…

Day 3

The third and final day saw the addition of my girlfriend Katie on the show floor! Much like Salina on Friday, I was looking forward to walking around with yet another newbie, and just like Joe, any negative misconceptions regarding animu began to slowly fade away with the realization that such nonsense is certainly not the worst thing in the world. And how some it is actually kinda neat. Though they both made separate comments how if Mike was taken there, his head would seriously explode.

At a certain point, a gothic lolita dress caught Katie’s eye, enough for her to entertain the notion of possibly picking it up. Though the exchange with the guy running that particular booth was awkward to say the least; the dress was nice and all, but not $300 nice. When Katie kindly said “thanks, but not thanks” the dude went into full-on gothic lolita expert-mode, by constantly pointing “But that’s a BRAND X design, it normally sells for hundreds more in Japan!” Impressive fact, but best saved to those who actually care. It actually reminded me of what I learned at the immensely informative and entertaining gothic lolita panel from the year prior, about how some folks value certain brand names, and will pay any price to have the genuine article, vs those who are perfectly content with picking up a knock-off at an affordable price (and are often just as good as the “real things”). I’m also curious why that particular panel was missing as well.

Meanwhile on Hilary’s end, it was finally the right moment to pick up that awesomely ghetto animation cel! We couldn’t find it at first, which lead to a certain degree of quiet panic, but eventually the prize was claimed..

Almost got this for the apartment…

As well as this…

Back to lolitas…

Meanwhile, this particular shirt is rather un-animu like, but still pretty neat…

Again, have zero idea what this particular person’s attire is about, I just took the picture and said thank you (some folks get really pissed if you know who they are, while others are more thank happy to pass along a history lesson, which has its downside as well)…

When you get the final day of any anime convention, kids tend to become bored and try entertaining themselves. Which leads to either hilarity or disaster, usually booth. Here we have a gigantic and impromptu spin the bottle circle…

… Though instead of giving a random stranger a kiss, as determined by which way the bottle is landing, the spinner simply gives him or her a hug, and then passes the baton forward. Seems nice and innocent enough, right? Well, I didn’t stick around, and I don’t know what exactly happened next, but as expected, all hell broke loose eventually according to Dave Gilbert, enough to legitimately terrify and disgust one of his friends.

Time for one last cosplay pic, and easily the cutest; some little kid as Mega Man!

Eventually it was the moment to take care of the last remaining bit of business I had at the show, my final two panels! I’ve already spoken a bit about the How To Get A Job In Video Games session, which again went extremely well. We had a completely captive audience, though that was hardly a surprise; lots of folks out there want to know how they can get a job making video games, after-all. The only problem was how the ball was completely dropped on my end; I foolishly didn’t allow enough time for questions and answers. Thankfully most folks got the chance to address the speakers personal afterwards.

Immediately afterward was my big solo presentation, the top ten lists. Going in, I was a bit concerned that turn-out would be poor, but as previously noted, there was a ton of people at the show, even for a Sunday afternoon, plus the lack of programming alternatives alongside the just closed dealer’s room meant lots of people looking for something to do. Plus, people just LOVE top ten lists; everyone wants to know what some jerk-off’s opinion of what the best or worst is, to see how smart or stupid he might be. It’s a cheap attention grabbing technique to be sure, and one that always works! Hence the standing room only. In the end, everything went according to plan superbly; the audience cheered when I wanted them, and also booed when expected (more or less). Most of my lame jokes went over well, plus near the end, some girl shouted out if I had a girlfriend. Which was easily Katie’s favorite part!

For those who couldn’t be there, here’s are my top ten choices for the absolute best and the absolute worst games of all time, along with a bite-sized summation of the arguments I presented for the audience, along with a few points that I might have forgotten to emphasize while in the heat of the moment. Most should be instantly recognizable, while others might require some research for the uninitiated…


For years people have argued which is better, Mega Man 2 or 3. Wily Wars take both games, along with part 1, and enhances the already superb visuals and audio that are the standard bearer that most NES titles are judged upon, by taking them to the next level that only the Genesis can reach. The end result is the ultimate dream combo.

Arguably the greatest Street Fighter game ever, with the most thoroughly enjoyable assortment of characters and fighting styles, along with fantastic art direction, an intense soundtrack, and flat-out awesome gameplay modes. Third Strike might be technically superior, but no other SF title is more fun to play.

Aside from being bold and beautiful, it encapsulates the core elements that drove the earliest of video games, but brilliantly expounded upon. That being the very tiny you versus a gigantic, almost impossible to overcome enemy. Also quite possibly the greatest love story ever told in a video game.

Takes everything that made Super Mario 64 so wonderful and times it by a thousand. The jaw dropping visuals, glorious music, and finely tuned controls are simply bonuses to the multitude of ideas that’s bursting at the seams. No one does 3D platforming, or platforming in general, than Miyamoto.

In addition to being the greatest Zelda of all time, and a true ground-breaker when it comes to the adventure gaming genre, one that is still religiously studied to this very day, it’s the momentous contributions towards the realm of three dimensional movement and camerawork that count the most here. Innovations that we all take for granted these days.

The first video game superstar, after over twenty-five years of miserable missteps, finally gets the sequel he truly deserves. Takes everything that worked before and intelligently updates the formula into the greatest pure arcade experience that the gaming world has seen in literally decades. Also a game that is equally fun to watch as it is to play.

For starters, we have the greatest single video game character of all time, without a doubt, that being Old Snake. Furthermore, finally a game that delivers what it promises, a completely customizable and truly immersive virtual world, along with a completely engrossing and extremely satisfying tale, featuring some of the most compelling personalities ever envisioned for an interactive drama. The only thing that could possibly surpass the splendor of the two greatest mechs ever to grace a game is two old people beating the crap out of each other. Which it does.

Successfully breathes life in the ultra boring and banal JRPG genre by mixing hardcore dungeon crawling with elements from high school. End result is essentially every red-blooded male’s ultimately fantasy. You not only get to date hot chicks that become even hotter when they put on glasses, but best of all is how getting a girl to sleep with you increasing your monster making abilities, plus having multiple sexual partners are practically encouraged. The genuinely inventive story, descriptively sophisticated characters, mature themes, and gameplay that never bores, even in a genre that is typified by boring level building, is all just icing on the cake.

It may not be the best game of all time, just the second, but the original Super Mario title is undoubtedly the most important, since it more or less single-handedly led the way for Nintendo to salvage the mess that was the video game economy in America in the mid 80s. Also features the most memorable soundtrack ever for any game.

Nothing can be said about video game’s equivalent of chess; it truly does take a heartbeat to learn and a lifetime to master. No two games are ever alike, and it’s influence on the world of video games as a whole, as well as the people who have played it, which is perhaps more than any other game in existence, is unquestionably profound.


The epitome of mediocrity, Rare’s criminally overrated platformer features truly ugly graphics, inspired characters, and the birth of collect-a-thon gameplay which has plagued the genre ever since.

9. STREET FIGHTER 4 (joke option)
While not exactly one of the worst games of all time, it’s certainly one of the biggest disappointments ever. The art design is atrocious, as is the roster, but it mostly represents yet another example of a genre’s most ardent fan base being catered towards far too much, to the point of ruining the entire genre. For it was them that Capcom listened to, the idiots that didn’t like Third Strike and instead wanted another boring iteration of Super Turbo.

9. RISE OF THE ROBOTS (actual choice)
Simply put, the worst fighting game of all time, a zillion dollar budget that produced CGI crap in a cart.

Despite trying its best to present a compelling world that’s dripping with possibilities, to make that search for your father’s killer seem such an odyssey, the player will more than likely find themselves wasting all their time and money at the arcade playing games and buying capsule toys.

This first gen title for the PS2 from Japan is simply the worst rhythm title ever conceived and executed, featuring a bizarre cast of half human, half dog dancers who all hang out at a sleazy bar by the docks, moving their bodies to painfully bad cabaret music in order to forget their miserable lots in life. Everyone will be hard pressed to find a game that is equally un-fun to play.

Aside from being just another boring hooker banging, cop killing simulation, the first truly compelling character the series has ever produced is totally lost among an annoying cast that is not only racist but completely unlikable. Also, for a game that emphasizes driving, it’s amazing how poorly all the vehicles handle, but it’s greatest offense is dangling a fully realized version of Manhattan in front of the player’s face like carrot, only to force them waste time and effort in the video game equivalent of Brooklyn.

5. WORLD OF WARCRAFT (or any MMO actually)
As I often like to state: I play video games to avoid a**holes in the real world, so why would I want to play alongside them? WoW’s greatest crime is how it helped to the usher in the hell that is online gaming to the masses. Introduce me to the person that truly enjoys the game and isn’t just playing because they’ve spent so much time and money to level up their character to just walk away, and I’ll stop complaining. At least it was the basis of the greatest South Park episode of all time.

The idea of a Leave it Beaver-like world turned upside down, in which the player must perform acts of arson that in turn lead to suicides, bother firemen while they make gay porn, have passionless sex, plus kill not only old people, but clowns, animated modern art sculptures, and your drunken doppelganger, all in order to impress a cult that you’re attempting to join, might seem like a recipe for fun. But the fact that all of if falls so flat on its face is one of gaming’s greatest atrocities.

The beginning of the end for a once glorious franchise. While the litany of idiotic cohorts who began to muddy the series’ original focus technically started with Sonic Adventure 1 (some might even go as far to stage Sonic 3/& Knuckles, but Knuckles isn’t nearly as bad as the big fat that fishes), part two introduces Sonic with a gun, whose background includes being either the cause or the cure of an AIDS-like disease. And while it may not have single-handedly created the proliferation of bad furry fan art across the web, it certainly played a huge part in inspiring such activities. Was also the first game to make even the most loyal Sega fanboy lose faith in big blue.

Simply scope out the painfully bad cinematics and even worse gameplay on YouTube for one’s self. But those who have actually played the thing (such as myself) can attest to how truly wretched the entire thing is, from top to bottom. Believe the hype, it actually is that bad.

To properly articulate how profoundly atrocious this one single title, which in the past twelve years has been the sole inspiration for some of the worst that gaming has to offer, would take a tome about the size of War & Peace. Just take my word for it; the great injustice that is FF7 is how, despite all its negative qualities, it managed to become something big, inspiring so many others. Also, Tifa got what she deserved in the end.

… And I guess that’s the show? Again, had a SPECTACULAR time, and thanks once again for everyone that helped make it happen! I’d love the chance to speak again at the next anime fest, if they’ll have me. But even if not, I’m still eager to see what the future holds. I think it was proven, without a doubt, that the love and desire for animu is quite strong in NYC, and here’s hoping that otaku here continued to be catered towards in a meaningful manner. And I of course would like to help that in any way possible. But before signing off, time for one last round of pictures, courtesy of Earl Madness’s clearly superior camera. And in no particular order…

First, this steam punk Lincoln was all over the place, primarily on Friday, though I think he was there on Saturday as well…

… I forget if it was Hilary or Earl Madness who explained to me the President’s connection to that facet of fantasy. I believe it’s all revolved around the top hat?

This dude has been at practically every single mainstream convention I’ve attended for the past X number of years, doing exactly what he’s doing right here. Though the subject matter changes according to the occasion, naturally…

… This time it’s a Soul Eater illustration, which as already mentioned, was the hot ticket for many cosplayers this year…

… As already noted, I tend to avoid the same ol, same ol, but its not too often that you see someone cosplaying as Mario in the middle of a race…

Remember kids…

Here’s myself and Hilary, seriously trying to figure out what the deal is with InuYasha cosplayers…

It’s the chainsaw dude from Resident Evil 4, with the special edition RE4 controller! Not sure if it’s the GameCube version, or the PS2 variant..

And yet another Taokaka…

Zero from Mega Man X!

Awww, best friends…

Yet another tender moment…

Apparently there was a dance party at one point?

I wonder what the deal is with black girls and Felicia from Darkstalkers. Not that I’m complaining…

Hey, a black Travis Touchdown!

So two Persona cosplayers, and one from Pokemon show up at an animu con…

A few pics from the How To Get A Job In Video Games panel…

And finally, the trifecta after a long day at the festival, right before we got a drink on! Well, at least I did…

… My parents were totally correct. I have like the dopiest smile imaginable.

  • http://attractmo.de Adam

    That’s Hellen Jo’s design! http://pics.fort90.com/journal/nyanimefest09_111.jpg

    Looking good in the KoG shirts, Matt. Fo reals.

  • http://www.wadjeteyegames.com Dave Gilbert

    I *think* the spin the bottle/hug circle got out of hand, I couldn’t be sure. I stood on my toes and tried to peek over the crowd, and I saw a dude with his shirt off and holding a girl’s legs. I don’t quite know where they were going with it, but it certainly freaked my friend out.

  • https://www.fort90.com Matt

    Adam: Hey, somebody finally noticed! I always try to wear the most rare, obscure game related shirt at such things, and it often works too well for me.

    Dave: Yeah, dude with shirt off, holding onto a girl’s legs sounds like the natural evolution to such hijinks. Still not sure how it compares to the spontaneous make out session between Death Note cosplayers from last year, all of whom could not be any older than 14.

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