Category: Gaming

I just went to my first Comic Con this year! It was a lot of fun. We walked A LOT and saw some cool costumes. I got to see Bruce Campbell from maybe thirty feet away as he signed autographs. We didn’t get to see too many other celebrities. They were stuck behind booths and lines of people waiting for autographs and pictures. While it would have been cool to meet a few of them in person, there was no way I wanted to or could spend hundreds of dollars for an autograph and a few seconds shaking a hand, saying hi and posing for a picture. It’s just not worth it.

So we walked around, spent way too much on overpriced lunch, had a few lightsaber battles, and shot a nerf gun at some storm troopers.

Then something magical happened. My kids asked a girl dressed as Anna from Frozen for her autograph. From that point on they were on a mission: Get Lots of Autographs. They asked anyone in a cool costume. We got the Penguin (Adam West era), Darth Vader and many others. As the Flash signed their books, I realized something. Feeling bad I couldn’t afford to have my kids meet the “real” Captain America or any of the others, I looked at the joy on the faces of these normal people and asked myself this question. What made their autographs any less legitimate than the actors? The actors get paid to put on the cowl or mask. We were the costumes because we love the characters. They mean something to us. And it’s fun.

The actors sometimes don’t even like the characters they play. Some refuse to do sequels because they aren’t getting paid enough or are afraid of getting typecast. But besides that, the actors are still just people who wear a costume, just like all the normal people doing the same thing. They get paid. We don’t. Who cares? None of that matters to a child excited to se Baymax or Spiderman.

Maybe instead of us all standing in long lines and paying hundreds of dollars to get their autographs, they could learn something from their smallest of fans and come join us on the floor, walk around, see all our cool costumes and get our autographs. After all, we don’t charge, and that’s got to be more fun than sitting behind a table all day.

So, while my kids didn’t get to meet William Shatner, they did get the Kirk and Spock selling macaroons to sign their books. It made my kids happy, and it made the people happy, too. I call that a good day!

Special thanks to all the wonderful Comic Con fans who happily play along with mine and all the other kids out there. You are what really makes the Comic Con experience great. Oh, and Mr. Penguin, you’re signature was awesome!


–Amanda McLain-Young

(A.D. McLain)


Farewell City of Heroes/Villains

It is with a heavy heart I saw farewell to City of Heroes and Villains, now entering its final months. I still remember those early days of the game, the newness of it all. Never before had a MMO had so much customization available to its players. It opened a new world to me and my friends, and I loved it.

City of Heroes came to me at a time when I needed an escape, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the years that followed, I did not play as often as I would have liked. Blame it on life. Got married, had two children, moved in to my house, published three books and had full time jobs a good bit of that time. Finding time to play was difficult to say the least. But I always thought it would be there, waiting for me when I was ready. I dreamed of when I could get a second computer so my husband and I could play together, instead of needing to take turns.  When they made a “free to play” option available, that dream came even closer. No longer would we both need to pay for an account to play together. Finally, this year, everything seemed to be coming into place. The kids were a little older. We could begin to budget more time to playing, maybe even sharing the game with our kids. But the game could not wait for us. The game we enjoyed for so many years is now coming to an end. The servers will be shut down, and our time has run out.

It is sad. The game will be missed. I don’t know that we will ever invest so much time and money into another MMO, knowing how it can be closed and taken away, leaving us with nothing. At least with a console or PC game, you will always be able to return when you are ready. I still have stages on Twisted Metal Black I want to beat, and I can, whenever I want. We introduced my son to Soul Callibur II the other day. There is something to be said for the permanency of that, of knowing those games will always be there as long as I have a console to play them.

But I will miss COH/COV. It was fun. It was unique and it gave us something we needed at the time. A console version of the game to keep for years to come would have been nice. I know, despite my limited time actually playing the game, I will miss it and miss not having the choice to play, when I have time between work, my books and the kids. So goodbye City of Heroes and City of Villains. Thanks for the memories and the innovative, addictive game. And please consider putting out a console version of the game for Playstation.