So it’s pretty much pop-culture Christmas + SXSW in San Diego this week, as Comic-Con opens officially Thursday morning, after last night’s preview for a select few (thousand), who got to roam the convention floor seeking exclusive stuff to sell at grossly inflated prices on eBay this weekend.
But the real crazy kicks in today, and we’re not just talking about the huge Hollywood celebrity-laden panels in Hall H, which seats nearly 7,000 people and could probably fill twice that amount on a couple occasions: Panels featuring the new "Star Wars" and "Batman v. Superman" movies appear Friday and Saturday (not to mention scattered sightings for the "Hunger Games" franchise finale, "Mockingjay"; and television faves "The Walking Dead"and its soon sequel, "Fear the Walking Dead," "Sherlock," "Dr. Who" and "Game of Thrones.")
We’re not even going to try and get into any of those panels; it’s gotten to the point where you literally need to camp out the night before to have a shot, and there’s too much more fun to be had elsewhere.
What we're looking for are interesting and intriguing examples of digital entertainment experiences that are on-brand, innovative, inspiring and entertaining.
In the meantime, here’s five quick takes on what looks like the coolest stuff we’ll be seeking out at Comic-Con this year, and reporting back.
Syfy Channel’s Cardboard VR headset for “The Expanse” -- Syfy is giving away 13,000 Virtual Reality headsets that can be constructed out of cardboard and paired with an iOS or Android app download to explore the spaceships featured in the network’s new space opera “The Expanse,” which debuts in December. The Google VR headset can be picked up today at the city’s Hard Rock Hotel.
Conan360 VR -- Virtual reality is easily the biggest tech trend at Comic-Con this year; everybody obviously noticed how well 2014’s Game of Thrones VR piece did. TBS’ Conan O’Brian is also offering a cardboard headset and app, which will virtually place viewers onstage with the host, in San Diego for the week, and his celebrity guests.
Naughty America’s VR Porn Experience --If virtual-reality spaceships and quirky talk-show hosts are a little too pedestrian for you, adult entertainment company Naughty America is debuting America’s first virtual reality porn film at Comic-Con. Hey, you knew this was, uh, coming. “Actresses” Nikki Taylor and Jaclyn Taylor will unveil the new film and welcome Comic-Con badge holders to give it a shot Thursday through Saturday at Tivoli Bar & Grille.
NBC’s “Heroes Reborn” 4D Experience -- NBC has got a lot riding on the rebooted return of “Heroes,” and they’re making a big push at the place where it first achieved breakout buzz back in 2006. The network is taking over the heart of the Gaslamp District’s central square for what it promises as a “first of its kind multi-sensory 4-D interactive experience of visuals and kinetic effects.” That includes super-powers emulating the series’ stars, no doubt.
Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed” Parkour Course -- Last year, video game-maker Ubisoft’s parkour course was the largest-scale “brand activation” from a game company at Comic-Con. This year’s is bigger. A maze and obstacle course set up near the Convention Center that recreates the London-based setting of this October’s “Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate” release. If you want to try it, consider registering for the fast pass -- though you’ve got to join and give up info to get it.
If you’re in town, blast us a tweet and maybe we can compare notes! I’m at @jduimstra. We’re open to party invites, too.