I intended on an early start, but my alarm did not go off meaning the pancake breakfast was somewhat later than expected. By the time we got to the convention centre the line extended around the back, past the Marriott, and along the seafront. It was a fast queue though and before long we’d made it into the badge collection room. At this point they give you all your badges so you don’t have to queue on consecutive days and then give out a WB bag with one of a number of designs on it along with a Dexter lanyard and a souvenir guide.
As we wandered from there we realised we were near the Ballroom 20 queue so joined it as there was a The Big Bang Theory writers panel coming up. The wait was around 2 hours, but we got in to the panel and it was thoroughly enjoyable. They explained the writing process and gave away a few hints about what was coming up in the next season. To moderate the panel they had Melissa Rauch, the actress who plays Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz.
During the question and answer session, one person dressed as Boushh revealed themselves to be Johnny Galecki, the actor who plays Leonard Hofstadter. It was a funny moment and the Star Wars quote was definitely sufficiently nerdy enough for Leonard to have said in an episode.
“Who do you think you are?”
*Boushh removes mask*
“Someone who loves you”
It had started off with him asking a question that couldn’t be understood due to a voice changer, then him reasking it before saying the answer wasn’t acceptable – which was the trigger for that exchange.
From the panel we went downstairs to the exhibitor hall where a massive number of large companies and private sellers were set up. Our first stop was the far end of the hall where they’d set up a Microsoft Xbox One and Sony Playstation 4 demo area as part of a larger gaming area.
Along the way though we went via the LEGO stand where we were told if we went to the Sails Pavilion and queued there we’d be able to get a free LEGO figure (whilst stocks lasted); it seemed like too much effort though for no guarantee of getting one. We also passed a few cosplayers and the Sideshow Collectibles stand where they had large models of Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and Han Solo in carbonite.
To start with I had a go on the PS4 game, Drive Club; it wasn’t bad but it was no Forza or Need For Speed – games which I’ve never missed an entry in the series for. Apparently the version we played was an alpha that was only 35% complete, so I couldn’t really too judgemental of it.
My best lap time on this was 9 seconds off the fastest for the day despite crashing several times and never having played on a Playstation before so figured it’d be an idea to have another go at some point as the winner would get a PS Vita.
Once we’d each finished having a go on this game we were given a PS4 keyring with the Drive Club logo on the reverse.
The queue for the Xbox One moved at a similar speed and was to play Ryse, a Roman Empire game made by Crytek. Unfortunately the controls didn’t feel too good and there were too many “Quicktime” style events during the game play.
I have a lot of respect for Crytek and the entries they’ve made into the gaming world to date, but with the inclusion of so many quick time events so early in a game and pretty much the only form of gameplay in the demo that was available I felt they’d lost it.
At home I play videogames on an Xbox 360, but I’ve not yet seen anything to make me want to get an Xbox One, so may yet end up switching to Sony. The booth did however get you to use some headsets that were actually quite good and made me tempted to get a pair of the same for home.
The surrounding area was then for specific games such as a booth for Blizzard Entertainment, and a box for watching a trailer for Watch Dogs in. Some of the stands gave away free stuff such as badges, whereas the Blizzard stand had a signing for The Art of World of Warcraft. If it had been a Starcraft one I’d have been tempted!
Our path then took us through where booths were set up to advertise TV shows such as a new Stars show called “Black Sails” and a prison that was set up for AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.
There were a few famous faces we saw during the morning’s walk as well such as the voice actor behind one of the characters on Family Guy, Patrick Warburton (Joe Swanson and other characters). We saw him just wandering the show floor, not actually at a booth for signing.
Signing at a booth we saw Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek), which was pretty cool. There were places there for Marina Sirtis (Cllr. Deanna Troi) and Michael Dorn (Worf) but they weren’t about when we passed.
We also got to try out Google Glass for a show called Intelligence. They took our photos during this, possibly as a record of who had used them. I didn’t really get on with Google Glass that well as I couldn’t wear my glasses at the same time.
Whilst we were queuing though I did spot Kevin Sorbo, the actor who played Hercules in “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, and Captain Dylan Hunt on the Gene Roddenberry series, Andromeda.
We then gradually worked our way out of the hall via the artists alley and sat around eating snacks for a while to let our feet recover from the morning. We didn’t have much, just a few bits we’d bought from a 7 Eleven the day before but it was just to tie us over until the end of the event.
When we went back in the wandering was just as aimless as before as we looked around stalls. Though after about 30 minutes one of our group went off to visit another panel about videogames.
Before this though, we came across the Enterprise D bridge restoration booth where they had 3 of the chairs from the bridge. These weren’t the actual chairs that Paramount Pictures used in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the ones that were from the Star Trek Experience that recently closed in Las Vegas.
We then started to take a more methodical route through the hall and eventually saw Gillian Anderson (Special Agent Dana Scully), Chris Carter (writer) and Dean Haglund from X-Files, Marina Sirtis (Cllr Deanna Troi) and Michael Dorn (Lt. Cmdr Worf) from Star Trek: The Next Generation. We also saw John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood) but this was the one actor we weren’t allowed to photograph.
We also came across the BBC America booth where they were selling exclusive items, but more interestingly they had a display with a dress worn by Doctor Who companion Jenna Louise-Coleman (Clara), the suit worn by Matt Smith (11th Doctor), the copy of the suit worn by William Hartnell (1st Doctor) and the scarf worn by the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker.
Eventually we left and joined the queue for Hall H in the hope we’d get to see the Metallica panel. It was a long wait and for a good portion of it there was someone preaching about Christianity and that everyone in the queue was damned. It was particularly funny, especially when people passing by started copying him in jest and when the news crew turned up and attempted to interview him (something he totally ignored).
When we got into Hall H, I was shocked by how big the room was. Apparently quite a few people had been in there all day which explains why you can never normally get in there unless you start queuing the night before. This left me in two minds as to whether it would be better for them to empty it after each panel but this would mean a lot of wasted time and the inability to watch consecutive panels.
During the panel they brought out the members of Metallica and played the trailer to their new movie. The bass from the trailer was incredible, and the film actually looked quite good. There was then a short question and answer session that should have been followed with seeing who had won tickets to a secret gig. They made a bit of a mess with though as not everyone had been given lottery tickets for it. Somehow our row ended up with two as well.
It was slow work getting back to the hostel from there as the crowds of people made a mass exodus from the convention centre. When we got back it was a chance to relax and rest our feet for a while before heading back out to get some food – once again to Subway.