MCM Merseyside Comic Con 2016

Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to apologize for the delay in this article. Aside from my regular schedule, many different ideas for different features have begun to boil in my head, and contemplating them has taken just as much time as it has done to write what it is expected of me. Hopefully, I will be able to bring sneak previews of what I have in mind in the coming months, but for now, here is my coverage and perspective of what took place last month of the first of what I truly hope will be annual event, and why it gives me even more renewed vigour in terms of the direction in which the industry is set to go in the near future and beyond.

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As to be expected, cosplayers came out in force on both days, and I’d never been more impressed with the amount of effort put into by fans of their respective series of comics, books, games and TV shows than I had been with any other expo I’ve been to so far. Costumes ranged from the first generation of gaming right up to the eighth, and it was a clear visual representation of how video gaming has managed to strike a chord with so many people on Merseyside over the years, and how much of a cultural impact it has had in the city since the days of the arcade era. Of course it didn’t stop there, as people also masqueraded as many popular characters from TV, film, comic books and anime, showing how far each of these different mediums has come in the northwest.

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The Cosplay masquerade itself was also phenomenal. Video game characters, much to my own personal delight, bore the predominant presence with an overwhelming amount of variety in franchises, including Splatoon, Final Fantasy X, Undertale and BioShock, in which a family of a mother, father and daughter were dressed as a big sister, a big daddy and a little sister respectively. The amount of effort that must have gone into designing the big daddy costume alone was enough to win the competition in it’s own right in my opinion, but nevertheless, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who put what immense effort they did into designing their costumes from scratch, and their dedication to their respective series as detailed in the masquerade.

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The presence of video gaming was also made even more apparent with the inclusion of both Street Fighter II and Street Fighter V booths. Of course, I was extremely excited to be playing Street Fighter II again, but on an arcade cabinet, like I would when I was a child out with my dad and brother and sisters in New Brighton. However, my first impressions of Street Fighter V were also extremely positive. The already impressive and quirky cel-shaded style of Street Fighter IV had been improved upon drastically, but aside from that, an unprecedented range of new characters have also been introduced, which in all honesty, I think is what the franchise needed; very much like what Mortal Kombat needed before the introduction of Mortal Kombat X. I haven’t yet had the chance to pick up a copy of Street Fighter V, pending the arrival of Star Fox Zero for the Wii U later on this month, but I will be picking up a copy and reviewing it later on in the year, given how im pressed I was with it at first glance.

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As well as games, merchandise and cosplayers on display at the proceedings, spectators were also treated to a look at the future of video games development on Merseyside. Representatives and staff at the Liverpool Media Academy also has a booth set up in a bid to recruit new and aspiring video game developers to learn about the craft, and to showcase how their technology will be integrated into the eighth generation of gaming and beyond with a demonstration of their graphics rendering techniques and a brief look into 3D art programmes, and what future students can come to expect from the course. Again, their presence at the event game me greater hope for not only the indie gaming scene in Liverpool but for AAA mainstream games development in Liverpool too. Back in the 80s and the late 90s, Liverpool developers were instrumental in establishing some of the biggest franchises in gaming, such as Wipeout, Manic Miner and Lemmings. After playing and reviewing indie titles to have come out of Liverpool last year, such as Ironcast, Coffin Dodgers and Kaiju Panic, I began to feel invigorated about the resurgence of video game developers in Liverpool. But that I saw that there are specialised academies set up in the city pushing the initiative further, I’ve never been more excited as to what the future holds for the city in terms of games development, and what franchises could possibly emerge as a result.

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Overall, the Merseyside Comic Con was a huge success, and had as great a turnout as any other Comic Con hosted throughout the country, which would suggest to me that MCM will and should indeed make it an annual event. It also seems to have had an immediate impact going forward already, as earlier this month, another convention ahs been announced; the Liverpool Anime & Gaming Con, which be taking place in June, and which I will hopefully be there to cover. I’ll be keeping readers updated on this as it develops, but for now, I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I will be back with a new article soon covering the Play it Manchester event at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Game on,

Scouse Gamer 88

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