Fan Expo Day Two: Get Hype
Day two started much like the first day did. My girlfriend and I found ourselves in a huge line, one that was actually twice as big as the one we stood in yesterday and growing fast. I was hoping that as with yesterday, luck would be on our side. Within 20 minutes of the show floor opening, we were in the building. Showing up as early as we did helped us greatly, as those who ended up arriving later were not as fortunate.
Once in, we made another pass at the retail area. I don’t remember if I bought anything during this run, but I know my girlfriend grabbed a number of things from the Archie booth.She had her sights on the “Riverdale Shore” parody issue, but they had already sold out.
From there, we headed to the ground floor theatre for the special Tron presentation. Having just watched the original, we were psyched to see what a modern-day Tron would be like. The lineup was moving really slow due to the understandable security measures. All photo and video taking technology was confiscated to prevent leaks. When I realized how this was being handled, I knew we were headed for a huge mess. What they did was bag your stuff, then give you a piece of paper with the ID of the bag. Then they threw the bag in a box. With hundreds of people dropping their stuff off, getting our stuff back wasn’t going to be a smooth process.
The actual Tron presentation was alright. A large chunk of it was dedicated to the upcoming Tron games, which were playable on the show floor already. The interview with Bruce Boxleitner, the guy who played the role of Tron, was pretty good and the exclusive footage was filled with fan service. Due to the event running late and the fighting game tournament scheduled shortly after, my girlfriend and I tried to leave the Tron presentation early.
The two events following our exit were definitely the low points of the entire event. Retrieving our phones and cameras was a nightmare. Even though the majority of the audience was still in the theatre, there were already dozens of people surrounding the security tables, trying to find their stuff. The security demanded that people not touch the bags and only let the security get your stuff for you, but there were only three guards there. It was a slow and painful process getting our stuff back. On top of that, the guard told my girlfriend that our number didn’t match our bag and refused to give us our stuff back. I understand that the guards there are in a tough spot, but the returning of valuables could have been handled much better.
As we rush to get back up to the main floor, we’re immediately halted by a sea of people crowding around an empty escalator. While were were watching Tron, attendance had actually surpassed capacity, which halted the use of the escalator to a trickle of people at a time, while hundreds were stranded outside for hours. I felt horrible about the people stuck outside, but I was more concerned about missing the tournament. We were standing about 25 feet away from the escalator, but due to the capacity issues, it took us about 40 minutes before we could actually get to the next floor. It was immensely frustrating for everyone involved, especially those stranded outside. Fan Expo organizers tried to compensate by keeping the expo open for an extra hour, but I think the damage had been done by then.
Anyway, we made our way to the tournament area, and I was nervous beyond belief. I’d never participated in a video game tournament before, and it was hard not to be nervous around a large audience and a scary looking group of competitors with high-end fightsticks and video cameras to post matches on YouTube. Watching the quality of play from the guys warming up did not settle my fears any, as I could immediately tell there was some sick talent here. It also was awesome to hear the crowd roar every time they saw some
I sat down at one of the booths to warm up with a Rose player, which definitely rattled me for a bit. From a skill-level perspective, he was clearly a bit ahead of me, but he exposed the fact that I really didn’t know the match up and paid for it dearly. I was getting wrecked. By the end of warm-ups, I was able to take a few rounds from him, but it was definitely a cause for alarm.
Luckily for me, I was not facing off against him. I was paired up against a guy who claimed that he was just doing this for fun. Having been demoralized a bit during warm-ups, I wasn’t going to take anyone lightly, especially in a single elimination tournament. It was not my best performance ever, but I won convincingly. I even earned a few fans in the process, as some people who watched my match went out of their way to compliment my play.
I would ultimately end up getting eliminated by a Ryu player who eliminated the Rose player that wrecked me in warm-ups. My matches with him were relatively lopsided, but I put up a good fight in every round. Overall, I was proud of my performance. I managed to at least win a bit. I earned some fans. And I did not embarrass myself in front of my girlfriend. Would I do it again? Sure. Do I have plans on becoming a tournament regular? I don’t know about that just yet.
While I didn’t win anything for my efforts, I decided to reward myself anyway. That Hori Wii fightstick I was eying? Yeah, I picked it up. It may not get the most use, but I wanted it mainly to commemorate my first tournament performance. I’ve put it through its paces and I’ll have impressions on it in the near future.
After that, it was my girlfriend’s time to take care of her business. Just before the line closed, my girlfriend got to meet Adam West and get a personalized autograph. She’s a huge Batman and Adam West fan, and getting to tell him that she loved him and have that autograph sent her into cloud 9. Being able to watch her experience such an important moment to her was the highlight of the show to me.
The last thing I remember us doing was sitting in on an Archie Comics panel. I haven’t read an Archie comic in about 15 years, but it was really cool to sit in on that panel to hear where the series was at, where it was going and to experience the passion Archie fans have for the series. It was so cool to hear such specific questions and stories about how those comics touched their lives. I remember one girl at the panel was actually named Veronica Betty because of the comics!
That wraps out day two of Fan Expo Canada. Apologies for the lack of ‘real’ pictures in these posts. I’m not going to press my girlfriend into going out of the way to send me her pictures, as I did not bring my own camera. However, should she get them online at some point, I think I’ll drop them all into a picture post wit descriptions.
Day three was maybe not as crazy as day two, but it left a major hole in my wallet. Stay tuned for that recap!