Tuesday, August 12, 2014

San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Plenty to See, Do, and Buy

Hanging out around the convention center and the Gaslamp District

One of my favorite parts of SDCC is the atmosphere. Not only is the weather nearly perfect all day long, there are tons of things you can do to occupy your time. Even without a badge, you'll find that there are free activities galore if you don't mind waiting in line. People watching and just soaking in the craziness in the Gaslamp District is also fun. We didn't hang out outside the panels as much as we have in the past, but we were still able to fit in a lot of great activities and come home with lots of goodies.

Skylanders panel and playing the game before its release

Among the many free activities, Jadon's favorite was the Skylanders booth at Petco Park Interactive Zone. It was the only thing we took the time to wait in line for there and it ended up being his most favorite memory from Comic-Con. Even though we attended the Skylanders panel and saw their booth in the exhibit hall, this was where they actually got to play the newest Skylanders Trap Team game before its release in the fall. They're huge Skylanders fans so the mere 5 minutes they got to play was worth the 25 minute wait.

Exhibit hall sights including some celebrity signings

The exhibit hall, also known as "the floor," can totally suck you in and you can find yourself wandering through or stuck there for hours. Yes, it can get really crowded, but the best thing to do to avoid that is to line up before it opens or try to avoid the most congested areas, like the section where all the major studios are. Traffic on the floor can be completely at a stand still during celebrity signings as well. We happened to be walking past the Marvel booth during the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. signing and I patiently went through the crowd to snap some pics during the Insurgent signing.

All the swag accumulated among the four of us

One of my favorite parts of Comic-Con is soaking in the atmosphere of the exhibit hall. I don't mind crowds as much as Andrew does, so I could easily be there for awhile. I love collecting all the swag and seeing all the new merchandise. The book publisher booths are among my favorites, because I'm a sucker for books and they always have the best swag. I'd definitely recommend a run through that aisle if you're a bookworm at all.

Shirts, totes, and books comprised most of our SDCC purchases

New to me this year was getting to go through Nerd HQ put on by the Nerd Machine, which was held at Petco Park. It's a free event that was co-founded by the actor Zachary Levi, of Chuck fame. They hold their own panels, called Conversations, and all the money from tickets sales, photos with celebs, signings, etc. goes to Operation Smile. I wasn't lucky enough to get tickets to any of the Conversations (they sell out within minutes, but they do stream and record them for anyone who can't attend), but I was able to get there one night just in time to grab some Nerd HQ merchandise, which is where they make a profit.

THOUGHTS ON THIS YEAR'S SWAG: People are always saying that the swag gets worse each year. They say it's not as free flowing as in years past and that the quality has gone down. I don't have a lot of years to compare, but it did seem a lot harder to come by this year with less substantial items. This was the first year we never got to some of the major studios, like Fox, but that could also be contributed to the limited amount of time we had on the floor. We usually like to dedicate a morning to getting into the exhibit hall when it opens (booths are readily handing things out then) but we never could get in line early enough. In the end though, we went home with a lot more than we expected and we were happy with all the purchases we made.
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