On the thirteen hour drive down to Atlanta for Dragon Con, Samm told me about Con Man the game and that Alan Tudyk was coming to promote its launch. While I always had Candy Crush available to me, and a paperback book with me to keep me entertained, I didn’t utilize either of them. I was way too busy building my own convention.
The Con Man Game is a Sim City style developing game where you build and run your own fan convention. It’s based on Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion’s crowdfunded webseries by the same name. Their characters, Wray Nerely and Jack Moore play a direct role in the game, as well as many of the other series’ characters.
The game is full of references that nod to both Con Man fans and Firefly fans, and has a similar sense of humor. Every so often you get the opportunity to give hats to your convention attendees, and they look remarkably like Jayne hats. There’s a gentleman who looks suspiciously like Alan Tudyk in a mustache wearing Captain Mal’s outfit. He asks for help finding his driver who happens to be a man dressed in a Hawaiian shirt who resembles a young Nathan Fillion. Did I mention that the janitor looks suspiciously like Joss Whedon?
Firefly is not the only show represented. In a Dragon Con press conference, Alan Tudyk asked me what I liked best about the game. I told him I had just built a Sci-Fi themed booth, and I appreciated the details of it. “The portal, to me, looks like a Stargate.” Alan replied, “It is!” I miraculously managed to change my fangirl squeal with fist pumping “YES!”
As you progress in the game, you get to tackle all the issues that a convention manager would be confronted with. How do you arrange your floor so con goers can get around easily? How many bathrooms, trash cans, and food vendors do you need, and where should they be? How can you manage your staff, including maintenance and security, so that you don’t run short handed at a critical time? Which VIP’s should you hire? What Superfans should you pick to fight for you when aliens attack?
Wait, what? Aliens?!
That’s right! They beam in, stomp on people and set fire to your booths! You have to poke them quickly when you see them, and then you can select which costumed Superfan in attendance will use their powers to defeat the invaders. Personally, I like Brandy Gentile best because she is the only Superfan capable of attacking all three alien invaders at once.
If that’s not enough, you have to keep on top of your garbage cans or rats and roaches can appear and chase your attendees away. Your security must always stand at the ready to catch Nudey Judy, a walker-wielding granny who forgot to get dressed before coming to your con. You have to keep an eye on your mood monitor. It indicates how your attendees are feeling about your convention. A happy convention means more money and more experience points which will help you buy booths and level up.
“We didn’t just make the game and put it out there,” series executive producer PJ Haarsma explained during the press conference. “We have a team. They work on the game nonstop, doing updates.”
The game is going to continue to expand, making multiple floors available, and rare collectible items that should register with fans across the spectrum.
“It’s so much fun,” Alan said, “I mean for me, making it all happen.” They are also open to fan-submitted ideas and suggestions, so make sure you go to the website and comment on the game.
In addition, any fan encounter or event can spark inspiration for the game or the series. So unless you want to become a piece of Con Man history, watch yourself around these guys!
Not only is the the whole game made in praise of fans, but those fans who contributed to the crowd funding at a certain level have their name assigned to a convention attendee. Tap on fans and the name that appears really belongs to a fan that helped the game become a reality.
Closing the press conference, Nolan North “the Mo-cap King” said, “You should be a fan of Con Man, but you don’t have to be to enjoy this game.”
As someone who has only caught the first few episodes while trying to dye Antron fleece, I completely agree. I’m looking forward to watching Con Man in the near future, but in the mean time, I’m enjoying the jokes, challenge, and the fun of building my own fan convention in the game.
So when your bathrooms are flooding, Con Crud Kid is puking everywhere, and your booths are in flames, don’t worry. When you get it all cleaned up Wray and Jack will still be trying to outshine each other, and the comedy in that is worth a hundred Sci-Fi themed booths.
Still need convincing? Hear it directly from Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion. Or rather their cartoon mini-me’s!
“They didn’t understand that the fans were the heroes of the story. If you make fun of nerdy culture and like, ‘oh look at the nerds’, it’s one joke beyond being insulting. Alright, now that jokes over, what else are you going to do?”
When the show found popularity with the fans it paid homage to, Comic-Con asked them to make more episodes like it.
Con Man is a for-the-fans show, and the game reflects that. The enthusiasm that Alan Tudyk, Nolan North, and PJ Haarsma was infectious, and if I hadn’t already been on level 19 I would have downloaded the game the very next chance I could. Whether you have seen the series or not, you should definitely download Con Man: The Game, free for Apple and Android devices.