New York City Comic Con

Mass Effect 3: Omega

by J.D. Cook

A story that opened before Mass Effect 3 was finished recently. While at New York Comic Con in 2011 I received a special edition copy of the comic book Mass Effect: Invasion. I then got it signed by the lead writer of Mass Effect 2, 3 and the comic, Mac View of Omega from Space Walters. The story of Invasion details how Cerberus supplants Aria T’loak as ruler of the hollowed out asteroid Omega. It was billed as leading directly into Mass Effect 3. Well unfortunately this was a bit of false advertising as the battle for Omega was not included with the initial release of Mass Effect 3 despite it being heavily alluded to in the game. The writers must have intentionally chosen to leave this a loose end for the purpose of scoring some extra cash as DLC (Downloadable content). This is not a critique of DLC as I think that is a great way for games to supply fans with extra content but it does become an issue when a company intentionally leaves a game incomplete to get fans to pay for more of it later. It’s like someone selling you a chair with three legs and then selling you the final leg later so you can actually sit in the chair.

Spoilers From Here Down

Now onto the actual Omega DLC; it’s very good. I never really liked Aria’s character much in Mass Effect 2 but in this mission we see her develop from a ruthless tyrant to a caring Nyreen overlord. This transition occurs due to the loss of her past lover / friend Nyreen (the relationship is left a bit unclear intentionally).  Nyreen encourages Aria to care more about the people of Omega and less about ruling it. Thus when Nyreen gives her life to protect those people Aria is snapped out of her own isolated world. This is made apparent when Aria concludes her conquest of Omega by stating “we are Omega,” and not her catchphrase from the second game which was, “I am Omega”. This is a fairly emotional and engaging arc. The only thing that would have made it more intense would have been if you could have selected the future ruler of Omega at the end of the mission; let Aria take the station back, give it to Nyreen (had she not died) or leave it in control of the one Cerberus General who actually seemed like a decent guy. I actually thought that was where the mission was heading for most of my playing time.

The combat is more of the same but the addition of two new enemy types is interesting. The Loki Mech’s from Mass Effect 2 return in a slightly modified form. Then there are the The Adjuncts as portrayed in Mass Effect Invasion Cerberus Reaper experiments called the Adjuncts who appeared in the comic books. These enemies are tough when paired with Cerberus troops and present a fun challenge. Unfortunately you do not get to fight them very much in the DLC. They only make two major appearances; this is a waste of a good enemy. Omega itself has never looked better as you get some really great vistas of the asteroid and the mines. The addition of a few new weapons or pieces of armor would have been great though. Returning to the positive; the mission to find Aria’s couch was amusing.

This was an engrossing and entertaining mission but you should probably avoid buying it at its steep cost of fifteen dollars unless you are a die heard Mass Effect fan…which I am. If you are itching for some new Mass Effect 3 content and haven’t picked up Leviathan yet I’d recommend that ahead of this as it really supplements the story and feels more like an adventure whereas this felt like a battle in the Reaper war. Either way it’s a great time to be a Mass Effect fan!

“Hey Listen!”

A Cosplayer’s Adventure Through New York Comic Con

November 2, 2011
By Nick Larsen

Green Lantern

The Green Lantern with other Cosplayers

Saturday, October 15th 2011 – A man in green traveled across the great yonder that is New York City to reach the culmination of all things nerd, New York Comic Con. Cold wind, strange looks, and the occasional stop to pose for pictures, nothing would stop him from reaching the Mecca for geeks under a star filled sky. I was this determined cosplayer, dressed as Link from Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past.  Wearing a green tunic, leather belt, boots, khaki pants, a white dress shirt, Link’s famous green hat, and purple hair while carrying the Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and an ocarina; I traveled from the Staten Island Ferry, along the subway, and up 34th street to reach the Jacob Javits Center. This was my third year at NYCC, and my second year in costume, so I was prepared for the chaos that would ensue as I approached my final destination.

In the previous year, I wore the costume of DC Comic’s Green Lantern Guy Gardner (with custom home made Green Lantern Battery), and expected to travel freely, take the occasional picture, and well, pretty much travel the floor like I would in normal street clothes. I was wrong – very, very wrong. I stood posing among other fans in every costume imaginable for hours, became a costume hunted after by people in picture scavenger hunts, and had a light saber duel with a Pikachu just for the sake of a fun photo session.

Thus began my love for dressing up in costume for comic cons, the excitement and thrill of having thousands of people single you out of a crowd, to have comic creators praise you for the effort put in to recreate the character in reality, and the random encounters with other cosplayers who will continue conversations with you for hours completely in character. In all the amazement and excitement that came with dressing up there also came the harsh lessons I had to learn rather quickly (tips to remember for those of you out there thinking of dressing up, be prepared).

  1. Know the routes in which you are traveling (this goes for whether you are dressing up or not). I was under the assumption that if a train left a station it would return to said station, I was wrong and as a result stuck to wonder NYC until 4 A.M. in full costume, but that’s a story for another day.
  2. Bring repair supplies. Last year I was lucky to meet a group of guys who had sewing kits, tape, and other essentials to repair any damage a costume might take at a convention, I was also lucky enough not to need it, but this year I brought extra duct tape to repair my boot covers and sword as the day carried on.
  3. The three pocket check. This year I carried my phone in one pocket, wallet in another, and my camera and my ocarina in yet another. After taking a series of photos with a fellow cosplayer I forgot to check my pockets to make sure I didn’t forget anything, and I did… my camera, I’m lucky enough to have awesome friends who went back and found my camera for me but, if they weren’t there I wouldn’t have any of my photos.
  4. (This is manly for those of you in costume) Travel with a friend (or friends). If you’re like me and you don’t carry a change of clothes when you wear a costume, it’s a good idea to have at least one friend with you as you travel the city streets at night just for general safety reasons.

Now let’s get back to the story of this year, from the moment I stepped on the Staten Island Ferry I grabbed people’s attention; more importantly a police officer’s. Here I was, standing with a sword (made from a  Nerf Marauder and lots of duct tape) and a life size functional Hylian shield thinking, “I’m about to be kicked off the boat for possible weapons”, boy was I wrong. The officer turns me around and asks with a completely serious face “Excuse me Link, can I have a photo with you?”, and with that the tone for the day was set. I spent the rest of my adventure to NYCC stopping for photos and catching occasional comments from people (both negative and positive), and as I slowly approached the Javits Center, I joined a herd of cosplayers forming into a group of Supermen, Catwomen, Super Sayian Goku, and countless anime characters I could only guess at. Twenty feet from the door, a Boba Fett sat playing the Legend of Zelda theme as I walked through the doors, and as I entered a goal came to mind, I’m going to find at least one Princess Zelda today.

Link Linken it

Link in all his glory!

Seven hours to complete my goal (I arrived at 12pm and the convention floor closed at 7pm), panels to go to, booths to visit, and friends to see, I had a big day ahead of me. As I walked past thousands of stands selling everything imaginable I noticed something strange, Link was a much more common costume then I had thought he would be this year. With the oncoming release of Skyward Sword the next adventure in the Legend of Zelda series, there was an increase in Link cosplayers but strangely not a Zelda to be seen (even stranger there was a large amount of Princess Peaches). Roaming the floor in search of the Zenescope booth (I highly recommend their comics, especially their Grimm Fairy Tales and Wonderland series of titles), a woman dressed as Mida from the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess game found me and we posed for pictures for people (afterwards is when I lost my camera and my friends found it again an hour later at the Zenescope booth). That was as close as I came to finding Princess Zelda up to this point, but I did not lose hope, I still had a few hours left.

Since I was dressed as Link and Nintendo had a booth for the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I felt I was obligated to at least wander through and pose against the large poster advertising the game. It is here that I will note a minor annoyance I had to get used to, being called Zelda. I understand the confusion, the hero of the game is called Link but if you have never played before you would assume that the hero is named Zelda because the game is called Legend of Zelda, but that being said, I was in the Nintendo booth, next to the game, and people were asking “Hey Zelda can I get a picture?” There are very few moments in life that I would consider a “face-palm” moment, this was one of them. I still took it with a smile and posed for people, rarely ever correcting them, but the culmination of where I was, what I was surrounded by, who I was dressed as, and still being called Zelda was just a minor moment of pure fail.

Speaking of things having a time and place at comic con, the classic Legend of Zelda, Navi quote of “HEY LISTEN!” was expected (heck if I didn’t hear it I would be a sad panda) but getting that while trying to go to the bathroom was not cool (funny but not cool). With those two moments aside though, my quest continued, only to be halted with a side quest from an old man with a beard. He turned to me and said “It’s dangerous to go alone, TAKE THIS!” and handed me a cardboard sign that was being passed to every Link on the floor, making it my duty to continue the passage of the sign. Half an hour later the sign continued into the hands of a fellow Link, and my quest to find Zelda continued. Hours passed, countless pictures were taken, and hope began to dwindle as the floor began to close down. I walked through the food court heading to meet Big Blue Bullfrog’s very own J.D. Cook, when a girl came running after me yelling “LINK!!!!!”

I finally found a Princess Zelda (or well, she found me) I posed for a quick picture (handing my camera to her friend who proceeded to drop it) marking my quest as complete but my adventure was not over, for my quest to return home had only just begun. After going to one last panel, I ventured back into the city lights to the nearest McDonald’s to grab a drink with friends.

Princess Zelda

Link finally finds his Zelda

Here I was ambushed by endless hugs and was stabbed with a metal Master Sword by a random girl. Leaving the McDonald’s, we headed back to the ferry. Little did I know I was being followed; a young man was following from train to train until we reached the ferry to get a picture of me. Even in the ferry terminal one last picture of me was taken. The ferry ride home was calming, the city lights disappearing into the horizon as I sat among friends playing my ocarina into the night. Upon docking my friends and I realized something; our ride home had three open seats and eight of us were getting into the car.

So a final race began; who could get to the car first? The three of us reached the car, threw open the trunk, and crammed inside. Three guys, three backpacks, one shield, and one sword, not our brightest idea but, hey, it was defiantly a fun ride home. As the rest of the group crammed into the open seats, we pulled away, letting the day come to rest, and preparing for the final day of NYCC that would follow. My adventure came to a close, and preparation and thoughts began for a new costume for the next convention.

~

More on New York City Comic Con

Mass Effect Panel at NYCC

October 26, 2011
By J.D. Cook

On Saturday, October 15th I sat at Comic Con in New York City watching a panel about the Mass Effect video game franchise. Anyone interested can read about my exploits there here. The panel consisted of Mac Walters, the lead writer for the series and the Dark Horse Director of Public Relations, Jeremy Atkins, the Director of Custom Programs, Nick McWhorter, and Mass Effect 3’s voiceover producer Caroline Livingston.

Mass Effect Panel

View from the back of the room at Panel

Walters was the primary speaker and spoke about the difference between creating stories for the Mass Effect video games vs. the Mass Effect comic books. He said that it was tough because they could not show Commander Shepherd from the game series, due to the fact that the character is created in large part by players of the video games. Yet overall the process is much simpler and easier as he does not have to think about the variables that come with players. Essentially it is a straightforward narrative instead of a branching broad expansive story like the games.

Walters then gave some tidbits about the new Mass Effect comic Invasion. He said that it, “leads directly into Mass Effect 3,” and that it primarily “looks at Cerberus.” Mass Effect fans will be familiar with the pro-human extremist group Cerberus who were a huge part of Mass Effect 2. True fans of the game will be happy to hear that the events in the comics are mentioned in Mass Effect 3. Comic Fans will be impressed to know that the cover artist for the forthcoming Mass Effect Comics previous work included the well known comic book Y the Last Man.

After this the panel announced an upcoming Mass Effect book entitled The Art of the Mass Effect Universe. The Cover was then revealed.

ME Art

The Cover for the “Art of the Mass Effect Universe”

From there the conversation turned to the upcoming Mass Effect 3. Walters said there would be “3 huge moments” in the game and that the game included many “personal elements” and that all the various story threads would come together. Livingston said she was “emotionally spent” after doing a great deal of the voice work for the game and that she had been literally crying due to the fantastic nature of the work.

Following this Dark Horse Comics announced an upcoming Dragon Age Comic Book that will be released digitally In February focusing on the character of Alistor.

Writers in the Background

Awesome Mass Effect Cos-Play! Famous writers in the background

From here the panel went to a question and answer session as Dragon Age writers David Gaider and Mike Laidlaw joined Walters and the others on stage. The questions went primarily to Walters. He confirmed that an animated Mass Effect film is coming after Mass Effect 3. Walters then declared his favorite characters to be Garrus, Wrex, and the Illusive Man. My favorite quote of the session from Walters was that, “the video game Citizen Kane is coming.” For worried fans Walters announced that there were, “no loose ends in Mass Effect 3.” He also explained why certain side missions in the Mass Effect Universe end up so silly, think about the Krogan and the fish in Mass Effect 2, or Conrad Verner in Mass Effect. His answer;

Fun is had at the end of game creation”

.

This was the most interesting panel of the day!

~

More on New York City Comic Con

New York Comic Con, Day 3

New York Comic Con, Day 3

The Best of Them All

October 15, 2011
By J.D. Cook

The Cultural Communist and I set out early at the crack of eight forty five on Saturday. We both wanted to get to Comic Con early for our last day attending. We both had engagements the next day. I had a Breast Cancer Walk to attend and him…well…who knows what that guy does? Anyway we arrived at the Javits Center right at ten and were happily surprised when our Press Badges got us past a gigantic line. Once inside the Cultural Communist went off in pursuit of finding Cos-Play girls and I headed over to the Dark Horse Comics booth where the lead writer of Mass Effect, Mac Walters, was signing autographs. I inquired about an interview. I am not sure if that will definitely happen yet but be sure to check back often for updates.

"Walters at Comic Con"

Mac Walters signing Autographs at Comic Con

After getting Mr. Walters’s autograph and taking a silly picture with a Mass Effect style rifle I moved around the show floor and to my surprise ran into the prolific English actor Ian McNeice. After taking some pictures I moved on to try and get Tim Sale, the famous comic artist of such classics as Batman: The Long Halloween, and Batman: Dark Victory, to sign an autograph for me. Unfortunately he wasn’t signing. He’s my only loose end from Comic-Con. I really wish I had waited in line the first day or two to get his autograph. Alas I moved on; if you could call what I was doing moving. Saturday was by far the most crowded of the three days I had been there. It was like an army of Supermen, Sexy Female Marios, and Batman’s had invaded New York City. I heard from a friend that one spirited Cos-Player had gone topless outside; unfortunately I missed this bit of excitement as I was pressed to a wall trying to breathe and not get trampled. It actually got to the point where I could not stand it anymore and left the show floor in disgust.

"Crowded Times"

A small glimpse of the Comic Con Crowd

I went to wait in line for the Mass Effect panel an hour early, but to my horror there were already at least a hundred people in front of me. I sat off in a corner disgusted with life. I contemplated leaving and then suddenly I was saved by Chris. They will sing tales of his great deed one day, but for now I will recount it as such. Just as the line was about to move into the panel room I spotted Chris. He beckoned to me from the midst of the hoard which tried to move the line forward. He valiantly held them off with one hand whilst clobbering security with the other. It was like 300 but way more crazy…ok so maybe that didn’t happen, but he did let me into the line. I am forever in his debt. Without him I wouldn’t have any information for my article on the Mass Effect Panel.

After that panel I moved to wait in line for the Resident Evil Panel. Here things got really out of hand. Security, tired from the crowds began to get down right belligerent. As a result the fans got more rowdy. Naturally it was extremely fun. As I waited in line to get into the Resident Evil Panel I stood next to a very tall loud man who was quite amusing and a Ghostbuster whose proton pack was in the shop. They both made the hour wait bearable. What happened in that panel is beyond secret…so I will give everyone the full details in another article in the far future! All I will say here is that I met a dear friend whilst in there and she asked a very valid question which was not given a satisfactory answer.

Well after the Resident Evil Panel the sun had set and time wore on. Oliver arrived via taking a ferry over the River Styx (a.k.a. the Hudson) and I met up with a pink haired Link. We all attended the last panel of the day. The Hobbit Panel! Unfortunately the panel was a bit dull. We were all tired and the panel just sort of restated things I already knew about the film. This is the only panel that won’t get its own article. I did luckily meet a very nice new friend and she kept the panel interesting for me. After that Link, Oliver, and I headed back to the ferry gleefully skipping the whole way.

"Nick making strange faces"

Link and I riding the Ferry back to our Normal Lives

Well that’s it. That about wraps everything up in a great big bow; I hope you have enjoyed reading this Comic Con round up and I hope you check back here for the Mass Effect Panel Good Day to you all.

New York Comic Con, Day 2

October 14, 2011
By J.D. Cook

Oliver, My CompatriotWell, unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, Day 2 of Comic Con was not quite as spectacular as I would have liked. The Cultural Communist found no love, and my compatriot Oliver was literally bleeding from his feet due to a race in high heels to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The only thing of substance that I managed to establish was that Comic Con is a lot more insane when it isn’t only open to the press. People were everywhere dressed as everything from the Ghostbusters (with working Proton Packs) to scantily clad Lara Crofts.

I did manage to procure a special edition Mass Effect comic book which I intend to have signed by the lead writer of Mass Effect, Mac Walters. The Mass Effect video games are a love affair for me so this will be a dream come true. I can also say from reading the comic that big things are on the horizon in terms of the Mass Effect story. It’s quite good. I fully intend to get more out of Comic Con tomorrow as I will be spending my entire Saturday there.

Until Tomorrow….

New York Comic Con, Day 1

October 13, 2011
By Oliver Layco

New York Comic ConWell the first day of Comic Con has come and gone. The Cultural Communist roamed the floor looking for love while I and my compatriot J.D. Cook explored looking for something more than that. This was our first time at any sort of major convention and we picked a great one to start at. We were both blown away. We followed one of our experienced Comic-Con friends as he led us from booth to booth. It took me a while to do more than awe at my surroundings. To any of the people present at the convention I looked like a zombie as I shuffled from wildly exciting display to wildly exciting display.

As my first rush of excitement subsided a bit I was able to better assess the situation at hand. Marvel Comics had the best showing of the first day. Their merchandise was everywhere and their booths were really fun. One of them had a grouping of all of their action figures in a mini-battle, and another was a huge replica of the bridge of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carrier. D.C. Comics only seemed to have a demo of the upcoming video game Arkham City to display. This wasn’t really bad though as Arkham City is intensely anticipated. Unfortunately the demo on display was one that had already been revealed much earlier so there was nothing really new to see here.

As far as other video games go I didn’t get to do an entire exploration of the show floor. So I cannot say what Nintendo is up to, but I did drop by Microsoft’s booth. Sadly the only really interesting demo there was for Star Wars the Old Republic. I had hoped there would be a playable Mass Effect 3 multi-player demo available after the recent revelation that the game included it but it was merely a retread from other conventions. There was also a Resident Evil section I didn’t get hands on with yet, but luckily I, J.D. Cook, and the The Cultural Communist have three more days to fully explore this convention.

As for the Cultural Communist he had little to say except that seating was extremely limited on the show floor and that snacks and drinks were hard to come by. Oh well; some people just can’t be pleased. His story of searching out love at Comic Con will be detailed in his own article.

Keep checking here for more New York Comic Con updates!

New York Comic Con 2011

NY Comic Con LogoWe’re Invited to
New York Comic Con!

Big Blue Bullfrog has been granted press credentials for New York Comic Con, the East Coast’s biggest popular culture convention and the only one that takes place in the comic book, publishing, media, and licensing capital of the world – Gotham City. This year’s convention will take place on the weekend of October 14-16 at the Javits Center in New York City. It showcases the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, video games, movies, and television, with special sneak peaks of what is up and coming in all these media. In 2010, Comic Con New York attracted 96,000 attendees and there are even more expected for the 2011 event.

NY Comic Con - Crowd View

Comic Con Daily Blogs

Day 1 – Thu. October 13th
Day 2 – Fri. October 14th
Day 3 – Sat. October 15th
Mass Effect Panel
“Hey Listen!”