After several years of absence, I finally returned to MCM London. Being the only convention I’ve ever attended, MCM has a special place in my heart and in my memories. But I’ve never truly put my views on the convention on paper, so today i’d like to go over my thoughts on this October’s MCM expo, including what I liked, what I disliked, what I was hoping to see/will like to see in the future, and what advice I have for anyone planning to go there themselves.
Let’s start with the good. The convention had a lot to show. If you wanted games, there were big name titles such as Tekken 7 and DragonBall Xenoverse 2 (the former of which I got to play and thoroughly enjoyed), along with smaller indie projects such as Shu and Little nightmares. All the demo booths were easily noticeable, and players were rotating at a steady speed for the most part. For anime lovers, there was not only a fairly large stage dedicated to karaoke for anime songs, but there was ample amounts of merchandise and even imported movies to wet your anime appetite. Big names In both the voice acting and YouTube sectors were present, such as the titular Nolan North and the charming Tomska. In the MCM Esports section, there was an array of fighting games, and old school classics free for anyone to take a crack at, along with several tournament being held during the weekend. And thanks to the expansive scope of the Excel centre, all of it could fit in with room to spare.
I found no shortage of things to entertain me the entire time I was there. Even when walking from stall to stall or trying to find somewhere to eat, my eyes were constantly at work scouring the area for amazing cosplays, of which there were plenty.
Gladly, I don’t have much to say in terms of negatives. My biggest problem was finding my way around. While i’d been here in the past, my memory of the excel centre wasn’t exactly perfect, and the maps provided could’ve done a better job of helping people find where the hell they were going. I also had a slight issue with the scheduling. While there, there was a Super Smash Bros 4 tournament scheduled for around 1pm at the Esports section. But upon getting there there was still a Blazblue tournament going on, and the only smash present was on one of the aforementioned free play stations.
Before going, I was really hoping to see booths for the upcoming title Kingdom Hearts 2.8. Playable demos have appeared at E3, San Diego Comic con, New York Comic con and a few other events, so I was hoping to see it at MCM too, as it had previously featured big upcoming games. The first time I was there, there was an entire booth dedicated to the WiiU, and this was around the same length of time from it’s release as we are from 2.8. I don’t know whether MCM is just too small of a convention, or if Square Enix didn’t put in the cash to get the game there, but as a big Kingdom hearts fan, I was very disappointed that it wasn’t there. I can only hope that when Kingdom Hearts 3 rolls around MCM will get any demos that are released for it on their show floor.
As for future hopes for the convention, It all really boils down to two things; bigger games, bigger names. While I doubt it will ever reach the calibre of ‘SDCC’, I really want MCM’s reputation and influence to grow. For a lot of people living in low income areas around east London where the convention takes place, this is the only convention they will likely have the time and money to attend, especially in their teens and early twenties. So I want this convention to grow as large as it possibly can, so that these kinds of people won’t have to miss out on the kind of experiences that those in New York or San Diego do. I can already see some improvements from the last time I came. There are way more booths than there used to be, and bigger and bigger names are making appearances. I just want this growth to continue.
Finally, some advice for anyone who has never been to MCM and would like to give it a try. Buy your tickets online if you want to get through the lines as quickly as possible. Being able to just flash a ticket and get your wristband will make your experience a lot better, and get you where you need to go faster. And if you don’t like huge crowds, go on a Sunday. That’s what I did this time, and things were a lot less congested and lines a lot shorter.
Overall, I had a fun time at MCM London this year. I got to play some great games, see some cool cosplay, and pick up some much-needed merchandise. While i am a bit disappointed that some games I wanted weren’t there, the event as a whole was very enjoyable. If you live in and around East London, I’d highly recommend attending the event at least once; especially if you’ve never been to a con before.