Only a couple of hours to go until San Diego Comic Con 2013 kicks off and the peaceful seaside city, once named a top ten world destination to retire to, has gone Comic Con Crazy. And that’s before you.ve even set foot in the convention center.
From the giant inflatable Mordecai and Rigby currently dominating the skyline to the transportation system, which has seen trams, buses and probably a cyclist or two fully wrapped in geek-targeted adverts, San Diego feels like it’s on the verge of a giant party. Even the normally super serial US immigration officials at San Diego airport are caught up in it, asking “what costume did you bring?” alongside the more standard “what’s the purpose of your visit?”
As SDCC has reached gargantuan proportions so the overspill has effectively consumed the city and it’s always worth taking time out to explore the surrounding areas, which can yield as much adventure as the convention center itself. Check out what we’ve spotted so far and our top outside-the-con tips.
1. Assasin’s Creed IV Pirate Ship
It’s a pirates’ life for Ubisoft who are rocking up to San Diego in a full-on shiver-me-timbers pirate ship. The tags (above) have sprung up on pavements already but the ship actually docks on 19 July at 5th Avenue Landing, behind the convention center. Ahoy!
2. Sega Arcade
Giant sonic statue opposite the convention center is standard fare for San Diego this time of year. Situated outside the Sega Arcade at 200 Harbor Drive, Sonic welcomes SDCC pass-holders and non pass-holders alike to be among the first in the world to play Sonic Lost World and other games. Now that’s what we call mega.
3. Bates Motel
With every hotel room in a 15-mile radius of the convention center sold out, the Bates Motel will be making a killing! If you don’t fancy spending the night, you can still pop by 1st and Market to pick up a postcard in support of the upcoming series 2.
4. Nintendo Gaming Lounge
Ubisoft may be sailing a pirate ship into SDCC but Nintendo have stolen our hearts by installing the Wind Waker outside of their Gaming Lounge in the Marriott next door to the convention center. It’s a real ‘Link’ to the past. You need neither be an SDCC attendee or Marriott guest to stop by the lounge where you can rest, play games and meet Pikachu.
Nope, this isn’t a Disney-sponsored Wreck It Ralph tie in but Ralph’s the supermarket, located at 101 G street. Not only is it the best place to stock up on food and drink at non-convention center prices, the people at Ralph’s have basically made over the store in honour of SDCC. As well as announcing ‘Happy Comic Con’ over the tannoy every few minutes in the manner of Santa Clause, there are decorations and tie ins everywhere. There’s even a make-shift express alley set up outside where we spotted an R2D2 drinks cooler and Minions snack holder. But the icing on the cake is, literally, the icing on the cakes, which are decorated with Green Lantern rings. Sweeeeet.