Pixel Grater visits Commicon

Why’d we have to go and put stars in his eyes?

Despite only existing on the internet for a couple of weeks, it was to our great surprise that Commi-con accepted our application to be guest speakers, as a pair of tickets arrived in the mail. Which is equally impressive, as we don’t have a mailbox. Strangely enough, we were informed that Commi-con was being held in a pub in East London, instead of the usual San Diego, California. Of course, this suited us just fine, meaning we didn’t have to shell out for plane tickets to California, and could instead just get the train.

British rail being what it is, I set off from York on Wednesday afternoon, and pulled into London Kings Cross at around 3am on Saturday morning, where I was greeted by a man in a thick, woolen coat and a hat with earmuffs. While ordinarily this would be a peculiar occurrence in July, this is Britain, and he didn’t look at all out of place. Introducing himself as “Vladimir”, we walked together to his car outside, an old Russian Lada. I figured that the whole get-up was likely a promotion for one of EA’s latest games, Battlefield or something, where we would invariably be shooting Russians in a desert setting. I can see this whole neo-Soviet vibe being one they’d definitely go for, and I imagine that other attendees were brought to the conference in military Humvees or Chinese tanks, to fit with the whole theme.

We pressed on through the London traffic, reaching the Tower Hamlets Working Men’s Club in a matter of hours, just in time to catch a press conference by Robert Griffiths, who I presume is a developer, but I’d never heard of his publishing house, and his game Worker’s Struggle seemed rather dull, with a lot of emphasis placed on a supposed “class war”, instead of the more standard “World War” fare that we’re used to. To his credit though, the entire bowling alley/press theatre was nicely decked out in red drapes with gold stars on them.

One thing conspicuous in its absence was the announcement of…well, anything really. There weren’t any game announcements or comics or TV shows, and the only panels seemed to include old men who didn’t seem to know all that much about video games. Maybe it’s just me, but I kind of feel that the whole event was overly politicised this year, and what I thought was an EA marketing stunt or something turned out to actually be the whole event. Maybe it’s some kind of subconscious marketing or an ARG or something, but to me it just felt flat. I don’t think I’ll be attending next year, or at least, if I do I’ll check beforehand that it’s in America.


And that they spelled it right.

About Cieran Douglass

Cieran built this website in a cave with a bunch of scraps. Actually no that's not right at all, it was with Wordpress and middling Photoshop and design skills. He often plays video games and his favourites are Paper Mario TTYD, GTA San Andreas, Portal 2 and Minecraft. His display picture is not an accurate portrayal. He currently works for a much bigger website at the University of York, but if you'd like him to write something for you he can be contacted at cieran@pixelgrater.com.