Today was my relaxing day where I didn’t line up early for any major studio panel. Yeah I’m a fan of The Hunger Games and Marvel and Fox but I was so exhausted from the day before and felt like I was missing out on other stuff going on that I decided to just take a break. Plus as cool as it is to be in a major panel, even at really close range, Hall H feels pretty impersonal. More like you’re watching something really cool unfold but not participating in it just because the room is so big. So the wait-to-reward ratio wasn’t as good for me. For future years I think I’ll limit to just 1 or 2 panels and then check out the smaller rooms because there were so many other panels I skipped to go to the big ones.
I casually checked out the room for How I Met Your Mother in the Indigo Ballroom about 3 hours earlier than its start and was told that it was unlikely I’d get in because people were lining up at 4:30 p.m.the previous day. People were in line for almost 24 hours! Insane! So I strolled by the Assassin’s Creed 4 ship which was docked in the bay since Monday and the line was amazingly long as well. I kicked myself for not checking it out on Friday because as crowded as I thought it was then, it went up another notch on Saturday. So I then went to my last source of refuge – the Xbox Lounge – and found
salvation a welcome break. Yeah, there was a line, but it was indoors, short, and there were ice cold water dispensers all around.
And when the doors opened, it was like coming home after a long day. It was a fairly large room with many many gaming stations, divided by game types, like Halo or other competitive games, plus stations for Xbox One. The room was dark enough to see the games well but not so dark it was hard to get around. It was my kind of place. No crowds, no pushing, just put on the headphones and hold the controller and play. There were also sofas and chairs grouped throughout to take a break. I can tell you how happy I was that I made the extra long trek to reach this place. As much as Microsoft screwed up their Xbox One reveal, events like this ease the anger. I got my hands on the Ryse demo for Xbox One. It was a beautiful game but pretty standard as far as gameplay with attacks and quick-button finishing moves. Also thanks for no tutorial on which buttons do what. The controller felt surprisingly light and still felt comfortable, but we’ll see how the D-pad holds up on other games.
Then the cast of The Awesomes on Hulu came out, including Seth Meyers, Josh Meyers, Bobby Moynihan, Taran Kilam and Kenan Thompson. Some of them even just walked casually around the floor playing games (like me!). I was able to meet and take pictures with them, and even got a pass into the autograph line where I had missed the wristband giveaway the day before. It was so relaxed and everyone else including the stars were gamers and nerds – probably one of the highlights of Comic-Con for me.
Afterwards I stopped by Seaport Village for a bowl of Clam Chowder and then sat in Embarcadero Marina Park and watched the boats sail by and people flying kites. For all the nerdy fun of the convention, always remember that there’s a gorgeous outdoor city a stone’s throw outside. Then I walked around downtown exploring other nerd events going on, and decided to wait in line for the Aaron Paul signing at the Urban Outfitters. Big mistake. The line was curved almost 3/4 of the block 3 hours before the time, which I mistakenly thought was 5:30 when it was actually 6:30. I talked a lot with the people in line; one of the girls had spent weeks on an amazing sketch of Aaron Paul, and other people were huge fans of the show. We thought our chances were low but then the employees started handing out green Breaking Bad swag bags and the security guard said everyone waiting would get something at least.
When Aaron Paul actually arrived is when chaos erupted. There was no way to enforce the line, and because of Urban Outfitter’s long glass street-facing location, once he was even spotted in the store, people were clamoring to get inside. Then of course people have a tendency to check out whatever a crowd is looking at so it got even bigger. It turned into a mob and there was no way I even had a chance of getting inside without shoving my way in. Then the doors locked and it appeared the autograph session was over, and then some random employee started handing out autographs to random people. Not even the people with the green bags! I was so annoyed because I had skipped a panel on Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead and the 21st anniversary of Batman The Animated Series, and wound up being too late for the free Video Games Live show. Never again, Urban Outfitters!
Oh if Doc Brown had pulled up in his Delorean I would have done things differently. But lesson learned: any time there’s a free autograph signing downtown of a beloved actor, avoid it like the plague and go for some less sexy, guaranteed fun times.