Glamorous as it may seem, the life of a game journalist is not always pleasurable. Among the many tradeshows and events we grudgingly attend, there are few more distasteful than the human catastrophe descending upon Southern California this July 21-24: the San Diego Comic Con. As my colleagues and contemporaries will testify safely under their breath, SDCC is the most unfortunate of all industry gatherings. This is because it combines two wholly countervailing elements: the industry and the masses. Unlike the fortified sanctum of E3 with its lavishly erected accoutrements and ample supply of complimentary alcohol, SDCC is a veritable feedlot for the most rabid breed of consumer livestock. How videogames became assimilated into this corporate merchandising unicomplex, one dare not consider. Indeed, resistance is futile: receiving the assignment to cover SDCC is akin to plummeting into the tarry abyss of journalism’s Rankor pit. Sampling the event’s many festivities – standing in various sorts of lines, mostly – is enough to break even the most hardened tradeshow survivor. This is precisely why the corporate afterparty, with its sub-Lunchables-quality hors d’oeuvres upon which we games journalists subsist, was created. But such oases of sanity are absent here, lest they be overrun by our arch nemesis: John Q. Public and his insatiable appetite for all manner of consumption. He is not alone. Jane Q. Public will make her presence known just as loudly, usually by way of a spandex superheroine costume displaying equal parts cleavage and emotional problems. What is there for a serious professional to do here? If all else fails, he can purchase myriad limited edition action figures with which to clutter his office cubicle in some quaint attempt at self-expression. But never before has an actual games journalist been immortalized in hardened petroleum byproduct. Until now. Not to toot my own horn, but beep-beep.
The Jeysen Jurgensen SDCC Exclusive action figure. At 7” high, this imposing fellow boasts a commanding but thoughtful presence on any bookshelf or desktop with his countless points of articulation, trademark spectacles, brushed steel MacBook, GT’s Kombucha and Sega Dreamcast action-accessories (Ride Armor – ideal for navigating the perilous bleeding-edged world of games reporting and criticism – sold separately). Last year I hired a small Chinese manufacturer, Guangxu Plastics LLC, to produce this item in strictly limited quantities. The design phase went smoothly, but as development continued I became increasingly concerned Guangxu Plastics was incorporating stolen intellectual property into my figure. Instead of the full 3D body scan I commissioned at Gentle Giant studios, these toymakers had stripped parts from any generic muscleman they could find. When the first shipment of 10,000 figures arrived at my door in San Francisco, I was appalled by the injustice Guangxu had done to my physique. I quickly purchased a redeye flight to Beijing in order to pay them a surprise visit.
On the ground in Beijing it took several cab drivers to finally locate the company’s physical address. Rather than rows of grimy plastic extruders, mirror-finished skyscrapers flanked the narrow road. Locals told me the small plastic maker had been undone by a provincial development agency who promptly razed the shadowy factory to make way for a luxury shopping plaza. A boutique peddling Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A. now sits there. The Maserati showroom located across the street offered me their condolences and a test drive. Maybe next time; I had already spent the last of my carbon offsets on the Cathay Pacific fare over.
Wonky musculature aside, this piece remains a highly desirable collectible sure to rapidly accrue value in the minutes and hours following the convention. To this effect, each JJSDCC Exclusive figure includes a QR code readable by preferred smartphones to spontaneously generate an eBay auction with Buy It Now™ price calculated automatically using a variety of dynamic market indicators. And you’ll want to sell them fast – each one is made of corn-based organic polymer with a shelf life of less than five years; rapid degradation behooves environmentally-conscious and scarcity-minded collectors alike. For those of you taking a “long position” on this item, freezer storage is recommended.
[Update: The greenness of this product has been called into question after depositing several rejected figures into my composting bin. After a few days, my clew of earthworms became noticeably agitated. Days later they were dead. Yet another indictment of Guangxu Plastics LLC. In the wake of this discovery I will be taking a more active role in the production of next year's SDCC Exclusive Jeysen Jürgensen Urban Vinyl, consulting extensively with both Kid Robot and Fairtrade International to meet best industry practices.]
To purchase your own JJSDCC Exclusive keepsake, find me on the show floor this July 21-24. I’ll be the one suffering from a severe claustrophobic anxiety attack.