Another year, another SDCC in the bag. As usual, my husband and I only had badges for Saturday and Sunday, but went down to San Diego on Friday to see what we could do outside of the convention. Every year we always debate going down on Thursday, or getting a badge for one more day, but I think that this year really solidified our decision to go down on Thursday next year, if not with an extra day's badge, then to at least check out more of the outside of con events (like some of the Nerdy Girlie's parties!). Even with the day of badge freeness to explore, we still missed so much of the off site stuff that we wanted to do. It gets bigger and bigger every year folks, seriously.
Once we made it to our parking at the Ace MTS lot, we headed to the Conival, which was occupying the space in Petco Park that has housed NerdHQ in previous years. Conival was a joint effort by Nerdist, Geek and Sundry, and Amy Poehler's Smart Girls (and of course, Legendary Pictures....)
Conival was probably one of my favorite things about SDCC this year. There was so much to do and I didn't feel overwhelmed by crowds. Of course, I was only in it for Friday, so maybe it got crowded over the weekend. There were tons of photo booths everywhere, a free Slurpee spot, laser tag, and there were free mini panels running all weekend long. And they weren't just YouTubers like some of NerdHQ's free panels were last year. These were legit panels, like Felicia Day, the cast of Orphan Black...those were the ones I saw while I was there (clicky here for Nerdist's full lineup). I actually wandered over to Felicia's panel by accident. I had no sense of time at that point and thought I'd missed her panel, so when I saw on a screen that she was going to be doing a book signing, I went hunting for information. Sadly, I didn't get into the signing, but I did get to see most of her panel, and I got to meet her brother Ryon, who was so nice! He put up with me trying to get into her signing, and when other fans came up to him, he was totally cool. He told one guy to send him an email about a business idea after the guy talked his ear off forever, and this other girl had asked him to be in a little YouTube film she was making, and he agreed and shot it right there! Not too many people would do that, so big high five to him.
Felicia Day at Conival
After spending a good amount of time at Conival, we went over to NerdHQ. NerdHQ was at the New Children's Museum and I have to say, I didn't dig it. The building is pretty much a big concrete slab, so throw in hundreds of electrical devices, hundreds more people, and have minimal air circulating in there- its a recipe for disaster. I'm honestly really surprised that their computers and gaming systems didn't crash from overheating. There was like, no air conditioning in that place at all. We went to NerdHQ on Friday because we made reservations to play Star Wars Battlefront and Project Morpheus for the PS4. The reservations for Battlefront weren't necessary- downstairs there were consoles to play on with minimal waiting. I tried to play it and I sucked. I am not a console gamer by any means, PC gaming is much more my speed. So to say that my PS4 Battlefront experience was humiliating would be an understatement, and I'm pretty sure I proved the stupid boys behind me right that "girls shouldn't play games." Yeah, it was that bad. After that, we made a few passes through the Loot Crate line to try and win stuff, but with no luck. Dani from Fangasm was working the booth, so that was cool (I really liked the show lol). She also proved to be the most levelheaded booth attendant, treating everyone according to the rules that Loot Crate had set (you had to have a bulls-eye to win a good prize, not just one of the bracelets). On Saturday, Dani wasn't working, it was just dudes, and that rule would not be followed if you were a pretty girl. Anyway, after our sad attempts at Nerfing for loot, we went upstairs for our Project Morpheus reservations. Those were actually kept, and I ended up giving mine to a little boy in the standby line who let everyone know he'd been waiting for an hour and he really, really wanted to play! He reminded me of my son, and fresh off my horrific fail at console Battlefront, I wasn't in the mood to play another game. I guess I missed out though, my husband said it was awesome. Virtual reality is the new movement in console gaming, so get ready :) The booth guys all gave different answers on when it would be available though. One said November, one said March and the third one said at the start of the next quarter. So some time soon your Playstation will have virtual reality capability- if you can afford it. I did suck up my humiliation to try Battlefront for the PC though. The wait for that was super long, and since all the computers were upstairs, it was also a very hot wait. The game play was fun, similar to WoW in most of its commands, so I figured out how to at least move lol. At the end of the game I wasn't completely at the bottom of the battleground, but I was pretty close. And I did manage to kill some people, which is more than I can say for the console version. The console version was like a first person shooter though, similar to Call of Duty or other games where you can co-op and work towards objectives, but its not in a battleground setting. The console game was a PVP setup, so if you've ever played any game where there's a battleground with rankings, that's exactly what PC Battlefront played like.
After trying all that out, my husband and I went back downstairs and were looking around, and we saw that they were shutting down the NerdHQ photo booth. We asked an attendant why and he said that Stephen Amell (you know, the guy that plays Arrow) was getting ready to finish a panel and they were going to do a Smiles for Smiles with him. We asked where the line was and jumped on in! We had to get super up close and personal with the other people in line though, and I hate lines like that. One of the volunteers mentioned that the fire alarm had been pulled on Thursday night (resulting in a super heavy fine), so we had to be ultra close together and close to the building so the fire marshal wouldn't get angry. That was the first rumbling of trouble I heard while I was there, and certainly not the last. While the volunteers were very good in some areas, they lacked in others. But I also heard from another volunteer that it was because they lacked in leadership (meaning Zachary Levi), so I don't know.....
While we were waiting, an ice cream cart wheeled by, and I got a Ninja Turtle ice cream. I was super excited because I hadn't had one since I was a kid and I was super hungry. Pro tip- don't eat green ice cream before meeting a celebrity.
There was a lot of debate among the volunteers on if we were going to even get to take pictures with him because they gave priority to his panel, and he was pressed for time. But they really stepped up, and were super efficient with the line, so we all managed to get in. And I would also like to point out that Stephen Amell is really nice and totally didn't mention my green smile.
To round out our day, we ate at Bootlegger. If you've been reading KMT for a while, you know that we ate there last year on our anniversary/last day of SDCC. We pretty much had the same things to eat too! We started with the Crispy Deviled Eggs, then he did the BYOBurger, but I had the Chicken and Biscuits instead of the Chicken and Waffles. I can be picky about my gravy and biscuits, but these were very good.