Capcom Forgets to Pay Their Power Bill
Capcom Falls Apart on the Last Day of NY Comicon 2011
By: Lawrence Napoli
Long lines go hand in hand with comicons as they do with theme parks like Disney World. This is factor #1 in identifying ‘cons as not for the faint of heart and strictly for those willing to be physically taxed. In order to traverse the perils of any pop cultural extravaganza, the prepared exhibitionist knows the attractions, has an ability to read an ad hoc map and has a plan to see what he or she wants on every given day knowing that not everything can be seen or experienced. There are only so many hours in the day and controlling time and space is not within this current manifestation of human evolution. That being said, I certainly would expect the attraction at the end of the line to at least be functioning so as to make the long wait and the inset of profuse perspiration to be worth it on some level.
Sunday being the last day of the ‘con (children’s day, no less) presented a final opportunity to catch the handful of items that may have been neglected the previous 3 days due to several more interesting professional panels being scheduled. For me, having the opportunity to play one of the most anticipated video games originally slated for this winter (pushed back to 2012, so thanks again Capcom) was Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Video games had a very strong presence at this year’s comicon and this game’s booth consistently boasted the largest crowds of spectators and longest lines for participation in a free demo that showcases the 4 player co-op mode of the game. To paint a proper picture for the reader: I arrived 2 hours prior to the con’s doors opening and was on the show floor 20 minutes after opening. I then proceeded to the Transformers MMO booth to create and have my picture taken with my created robot which took 20 more minutes. I dashed over to Resident Evil to wait in line and there was nothing but problems after that.
Problem #1) the line moved incredibly slow because Capcom only set up 4 LCDs with PS3 decks powering the demo disk which meant only 1 round of 4 player co-op could be played at a time. Problem #2) the demo lasted 10 minutes long, which is great for the player, but vexing for those waiting in line. Problem #3) there was extremely lax line control by staff and by lax, I mean nil. Spectators in the middle of the crowd constantly encroached on the lines that formed on each end of the stage trying to cut ahead in line and when staff was notified as to the dishonesty, their response was “You guys have to patrol the lines yourselves.” Problem #4) the power went out in the Capcom corner 5 TIMES while I was in line. This is no joke as it took out Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record and Street Fighter vs. Tekken in addition to Resident Evil each time. Problem #5) when Capcom finally got serious about repairs after the 5th outage, everyone waiting in line was told to clear out entirely as it would be “closed down indefinitely,” and when I asked if we could be given reservation slips for all the time we’ve waited in line if they did get if fixed before the end of the day they looked at me like I was speaking a different language. Problem #6) the demo was up and running about 15 minutes after the “Clear out!” decree was given which was bad for those who left in frustration, but fine by the indignant few (like myself) who were determined to get some form of compensation/closure come hell or high water.
After it was all said and done, I had burned about 4 hours on the last day of the con which, of course, closed early at 5 pm. Was it all worth it? To some extent, I must say yes. Of course, I did get to play the game which was somewhat fun because I chose the 4 Eyes character in anticipation of using Lickers as my pet bodyguards, but just couldn’t get her ability to actually work. There also was the appreciation for the demo as a spectator as it had run too many times to count while waiting in line which gave me a thorough idea as to the objectives and the proper path to take. Perhaps the best thing, though, was the building repartee of the rabid Resident Evil fans immediately in front of and behind me in line. Regardless of race, creed or color, we all came together in our unified frustration that resulted from every problem I mentioned in the previous paragraph. We talked about what we liked about the game, how our individual ‘con experiences were so far, joked around, shared stories and swapped Face book names. It was a bonding experience and as there were several moments of absolute aggravation during this ‘con, this was one of several positive, reactive, experiences.
In theory, I ought to be thanking Capcom for its incompetence so as to deliver a genuine warm and fuzzy to my heart. But no, I thank the dedicated gamers in line that never turned on each other as a result of the negativity as we tried our best to make light of an asinine experience. (Although there was a decent Wesker cosplayer who was almost accosted for cutting in line to play when he was a spectator) There are a few morals of this story. The first is to never fully trust con volunteers/staff because they really don’t know what is going on. It’s not their fault, but they are simply ferrying orders between those in the know and everyone else. Second, all ‘cons must have more staffing/planning to guide the flow of traffic in a more logistic and expedient manner. It is unreasonable for anyone to trade 3-4 hours of waiting for 10 minutes of enjoyment. Third, don’t be an a$$hole. Practically everyone on the floor is trying to extract as much fun as possible, so when things don’t go your way, lashing out is only a further waste of time. Maintain your composure and express your anger/concern to staff to clarify the facts and if you are an “all about the principal kind of person,” like me, keep the faith and don’t move until the cops show up.