Sometimes, Animu Is The Only Way To Go

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

So… the New York Anime Fest. How was it? In a word: awesome. Really, really awesome! It’s kinda funny, yet oddly appropriate that on the same weekend in which both the Tokyo Game Show and the Small Press Expo occurred, I couldn’t have been any happier where I was.

Granted, I would have loved the chance to spend time in Japan once again. In fact, for a time, there actually was a slight possibility that a return trip was going to happen, not because of the TGS, but for Magma 2009, which also took place last week. Though things are a bit different now from two years ago, and it’s not nearly as big a production as it once was. Meaning, they simply couldn’t afford to blow money on airline tickets and hotel rooms for some guy whose not at all punk rock but just some gamer dork for a second time (I’m still shocked and very much thankful that there was a first time to begin with). But ultimately, I have to wonder how I would have reacted to being at the TGS and to witness first-hand the fall of the might Japanese video game empire. I think I would have been thoroughly depressed after all was said and done.

Then there’s SPX, which has historically been my personal favorite comic related event, but over the years and for a variety of reasons has transformed into something that is not. Yet, a few buds of mine still took part and I obviously hope they fared well (though I’m certainly not the only one who sat out and was ultimately very happy as a result). I’ll hopefully find out soon enough how the show was at a whole, since I’m no longer relying on the usual sources for such information; it’s been proven that getting a non-sugar coated account of a small press comic event is practically impossible these days, at least online (with this past summer’s MoCCA art fest being the sole exception, but only because it was such a colossal train-wreck).

The only real downer is how so many of my friends and colleagues were out of town, and therefore could not bear witness to me yuking it up onstage. Thankfully Katie and Hilary were in attendance; the main reason why I was so pissed off about this year’s ICON was how I had dragged both of them out to Long Island, specifically to witness such a spectacle that didn’t happen. And it’s also not like the rooms were empty either, each session was completely packed! The final presentation was literally standing room only, which also ended up being one of the closers of the show, and that was pretty delightful (and gratifying) to say the least. So I want to thank everyone who came out and if you’re new to this site as a result of the fest, welcome and I hope you stick around!

Now is traditionally the part where I go into full on con report mode, but I’m still waiting for Earl Madness to pass along his ultra snazzy pictures, to compliment my blurry ones, plus I’m also waiting for Hilary to pass along her two cents. I’m also super exhausted, and kinda just want to spend the next day or so relaxing and playing some games. Till then, here’s some semi-important information that I promised to pass along yesterday at the show…

For those of you who attended the How To Get A Job In Video Games panel and still have questions (I foolishly went to Q&A far too late, though honestly, even if we had an additional hour it still wouldn’t have been enough time), I’d be more than happy to help answer them; just click on the contact link, found on the upper right-hand corner of this page, to get a conversation started. Though I would strongly suggest getting in touch with one of the experts that were on-stage. The following are their websites, where one will also be able to find the appropriate contact info (most of these links can already all over this site, though bringing them all together should certainly save everyone time):

- To find out more about Dave Gilbert, who represented the spirit of independent game making, simply check out his site, Wadjet Eye Games!

- To learn more about the local game development scene as a whole, simply check out Brandon Van Slyke’s NYC Game Industry to find out what companies, schools, and networking opportunities are out there, along with a wealth of other valuable information!

- If you’re an aspiring illustrator that would like to learn more about what it takes to become involved in the game industry as an artist, then simply hit my main man Allan Norico, and be sure to check out his totally amazing work!

- And if you’d like to ask specific questions about the wild world of video game journalism, I could answer them myself, though I would strongly suggest dropping Jason Cipriano a line, over at TrueGameHeadz!

… I’ll be back tomorrow (or maybe Wednesday) with my full report, plus plenty of pics, and both my top ten best and worst games of all time for those who couldn’t be there.

Oh, and once again for those who are new to this place, if you’re interested in signing up to the forums, or simply want to be connected via Facebook, please drop me an email as well, so I know you’re not some spammer or anything like that (sorry, but have been hit hard by them as of late). Thanks!

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