Outside of San Diego Comic-Con 2013: An Experience of a Lifetime

Because I’m a college student in my last quarter of school this summer, I wasn’t sure if I could even attend San Diego Comic-Con. I never got around to applying to be a part of the press, nor did I get around to purchasing a ticket. But as SDCC 2013 loomed closer, I felt an itch to go that I decided to scratch.

The events that take place outside of the convention center have grown each year, and this year was no exception. There’s even a website dedicated to covering events going on outside. So I went without a pass, unsure of what to expect.

I headed to downtown San Diego for three of the four days of the con (the additional day I spent around San Diego hanging out and eating delicious Mexican food) and I even cosplayed one of those days as Elektra. I hung out with friends and family (my little brother!). Without even going inside the con, I STILL didn’t see everything there was to see outside! But it was an absolute blast. So with that, I’ll highlight the things I did without a pass:

The Ender’s Game experience

The Ender’s Game experience was definitely a highlight. Aside from the controversy surrounding the author’s views on homosexuality, it was enjoyable to see real set pieces from the film. I read the book, so it was exciting to actually be present to see that vision come to life.

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The lot across the bridge: Hello Kitty, Mad Max, The Walking Dead, The Smurfs, Gravity, 5-Hour Energy

When you go across the Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge, there is a huge lot with a tons of stuff going on. Not only did I score free 5-hour energy at the moment I said “I really need a coffee or something,” to a friend, but I also got to check out some fun Hello Kitty merch, see the Mad Max promo area with awesome-looking people in costume promoting it, pose for photos in a bloody car wreck and a zombie for The Walking Dead, and hang out with the Smurfs (and my friend and I were the only adults in line for that photo, HA!). It was awesome. There was also a Gravity trailer with what I assume is a preview for the movie, as well as MORE stuff I can’t even remember because there was so much going on. I didn’t even get to see everything!

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Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag – The Jackdaw

Though my visit to the Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag Jackdaw ship ate most of my time, it was totally worth it. I also hung out with Sarah (owner of Nerdy but Flirty) while I was there! Ubisoft took over the local San Diego maritime museum ship the Star of India and made it Assassin’s Creed ready. The wait in line wasn’t too bad, and I posed for photos with the awesome Black Beard and Edward Kenway, took photos in the fun photobooth, and got to see a working preview of the game! To be honest, I wasn’t terribly excited when it was first announced, but between my experience on the Jackdaw and getting to see the preview of the game, I am pretty pumped! It’s definitely more open world, there are always things going on around you (which you can take part in or skip), and if you loved the ship battles from the last game then you will adore this game, as you can attack other ships and either blow them to smithereens or board and take over. It looks pretty darned awesome.

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Gamespot base station

The Gamespot base station has been around at SDCC for a while, but I never once went in until this year. It was an amazingly fun spot! Not only did it have a fun vibe with loud music and games, but I received free water, soda, food, and met a ton of awesome people and cosplayers. Then, I had no idea they had a happy hour. And I’m not talking discounted drinks happy hour, I’m talking a drink ticket for free beer or wine happy hour! I probably spent a little more time at the Gamespot base station than I should have (if I wanted to see more stuff, that is) but I couldn’t help myself. It was just too fun. It was also a perfect spot for people-watching, since it was right in the heart of where things were happening for the con.

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The Darkness Descending Party

The Darkness Descending is a new Danny Trejo film, and my friend and I were lucky enough to attend! We also got to meet the man himself, Danny Trejo. Pretty cool, no?

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Digital LA Party

Somehow I always end up at rooftop bars during SDCC, and I’m certainly not complaining. I met a ton of new friends and chatted about comics and games while enjoying lovely weather!

The Adult Swim Fun House

What a crazy but fun time. Such strange, random things inside, AND I decided to go with karaoke as the way to exit the fun house. I sang “Get Low” by Lil Jon, and it was kind of amazing. Everyone was dancing!

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Local Restaurants and Bars

The Mexican food! Oh, it’s so good. I grew up in San Diego, so I always miss it and I’m always happy to be back to eat it. Between the food and the bars packed with con-goers just having fun, it was an amazing time.

Just walking around

While walking around, I ran into some fun cosplay! I also ran into some of my favorite cosplayers: Meagan Marie and Vampy Bit Me! And, it just so happens that while I was wandering around, I also ran into the owner of Nerdy but Flirty, Sarah! Simply walking around turned out to be a lot of fun.

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I didn’t even make it to the Geek & Sundry lounge nor Nerd HQ, two things I planned on checking out that were open to anyone, not just SDCC pass holders! Just talking about all of this makes me feel exhausted, but it’s a happy exhausted. After this “outside of SDCC” experience, I’d say it’s completely worth a trip to San Diego during Comic-Con, even if you don’t have a pass.

P.S. in case you’re wondering, my Stormtrooper dress is from Black Milk Clothing, and my Han Solo top is from Forever 21!

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