Comic-Con Time With the Raroos[GameSetWatch has sent GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family to San Diego Comic-Con to report on their adventures there. We'll be running daily updates from the Raroos as the convention progresses, and after the first part, the second segment is about Thursday.]

Thursday, July 23: Game Day

Thursdays are traditionally the slowest day at Comic-Con, but it seems tradition has been kicked to the curb because it was still pretty busy! Thankfully, the show floor was significantly less crowded thanks to all the panels and events taking place throughout the day. We decided to focus on checking out as many video games as we could manage.

Our son Kaz normally goes to daycare on Thursdays, and we decided we might be more efficient if let him go to “school” as usual and we headed to Comic-Con without him. While it was much easier to navigate from booth to booth, we found ourselves missing our little boy throughout the day and plan on taking with us him for the remainder of the convention.

Honestly, there weren’t that many games that really grabbed my attention off the bat. After strolling through Sony’s, Capcom’s, and EA’s booths, I was not feeling very inspired to push my way through the swarms of bodies to try out any of the demos. I attempted to speak with some of the press representatives at the various game company booths but just about all of them didn’t seem to know very much about the titles on display.

Thinking of KazI was about to give up hope on even trying out any games at all when I spotted Bayonetta at the Sega booth and made my way through the crowd to give it a look. I don’t know if I’m too enthralled with the character design, but it seems like a nice, snappy action game. However, it was another game tucked away in the corner of the Sega booth that really got me excited: Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.

I wish Kaz had been there to see the game because he would’ve been filled with glee. He loves Mario Kart and Sega Superstars Tennis, and with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing developer Sumo Digital really seems to have combined the best of both words. I was taken aback at just how fun the game was as well as the level of polish it already seems to have, and I can’t wait until its release next year, which should be just in time for Kaz’s third birthday.

I also had fun giving Katamari Forever in Namco’s booth a whirl. Other than having some new stages and graphical filters, it really doesn’t push the Katamari formula forward, but I’m fine with that. Perhaps more entertaining than the game was sneaking peeks at the people trying out We Cheer 2 a couple demo stations down. One lady was really getting into it and was swinging her arms so wildly that she almost hit some poor guy standing behind her.

Before heading out for lunch we took a quick walk by some of our favorite comic publishers’ booths. Jeffrey Brown was at the Top Shelf booth signing copies of his books and we purchased the only one we didn’t already own, Funny Misshapen Body. I asked him about if he played video games and he professed that he is a Super Smash Bros. addict but has to keep it locked away otherwise he wouldn’t be able to stop playing!

After an unexpectedly decent lunch of Indian food purchased at the nearby shopping mall, we trekked through the heat to the Westin Hotel to take a gander at Konami’s games. The hotel concierge provided us with incorrect suite information, and we spent a good deal of time making phone calls and simply wandering around, trying to figure out where to go.

That's Jessica...At one point we decided to rest for a few moments in the hotel’s lobby and overheard some hilarity from a group of “hot chicks” with IGN t-shirts on. One of them was explaining how when you are Jessica Chobot’s “handler” you have to let any nearby people in the crowd know that she is important. “That’s Jessica, she’s a celebrity.” We also noticed that apparently cleanliness is not a part of IGN company policy, because they left in their wake empty Starbucks cups, used napkins, and freebie comics that had been hastily thumbed-through.

Eventually we found our way to Konami’s suite and had a chance to relax with some pizza slices, soda, and games. I was particularly interested in having a chance to try out Silent Hill: Shattered Memories because producer Tomm Hulett was one of the first subscribers to the Game Time With Mister Raroo print zine! He also snuck a “Raroo” reference into Steambot Chronicles when he localized it for Atlus!

However, as much as I thought Silent Hill seemed like a really great reimagining of the original game, it was an unassuming little DS game called WireWay that really charmed the pants of Missus Raroo and me. WireWay’s gameplay was simple yet effective: guide a cute little creature through a series of levels by catapulting him between rubber band-like wires. WireWay is the type of game that will be released with little to no fanfare, be overlooked by just about everyone, but will put a smile on the face of anyone who happens to play it.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the aisles at Comic-Con and just going wherever our tired feet led us. Missus Raroo’s pregnancy fatigue caught up with her and before we made our way to our car she needed to have a break by sitting down in the main hallway. That gave us a good opportunity to people-watch and we were really impressed with some of the costumes attendees had fashioned for themselves. I find Comic-Con so hot and tiring that I can’t imagine wearing a costume on top of the discomfort I’m already experiencing, but I’ve really got to hand it to the imaginations of many of the attendees.

Comic-Con Costumes

When we got home our feet and legs were sore and stiff, but Kaz said he wanted to go swimming and it is almost impossible to say no to his cute little requests. Thankfully, taking a dip in the pool was the perfect way to wash away our fatigue… not to mention the sweaty and sticky film on our bodies from walking around such a crowded convention hall. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and doing some preliminary planning for our return to Comic-Con the next day.

[Mister Raroo is a happy husband, proud father, full-time public library employee, and active gamer. He currently lives in El Cajon, CA with his family and many pets. In addition to writing for GameSetWatch, Mister Raroo irregularly writes content for his blog, Moments. You may reach Mister Raroo at mister.raroo@gmail.com.]