Comic-Con is a mecca for the world of geeks, dorks, nerds, fanboys, fangirls, and people who just love dressing up in costumes. Every year, people prepare for the summer pilgrimage to San Diego so they can revel in their inner nerddom with tons of fellow fans. There's nothing like finding someone who understands exactly why you geek out on Tom Baker, and eschew every other actor to play the Doctor. Even David Tennant.
But, surviving the Con is not easy. There are plenty of obstacles and things to learn as you wind your way through the massive Convention Center, and you won't want to go in without some preparation. We've prepared this handy guide for you to use throughout your Comic-Con experience, which we've imagine would make a fantastic MMO game. Jump in, prepare yourself, and let the Con begin! Of course, you can always stay in the comfort of your own seat, and follow along from work, home, or elsewhere with all of G4's Comic-Con coverage.
Depending on what character you rolled, you'll either start at home, in a hotel room, or on the floor of strange place you don't recognize. Hit A to stand up and orient yourself. Eventually you will get your bearings and learn the basic control layout. Find your belongings (they might be underneath other objects or behind closed door) before heading to the nearest shower, bathtub, or open body of water. Important points to hit before advancing to the next level.
- Bathing. This is not required, but it is highly recommended. You'll get an achievement/trophy for using soap, and a big charisma bonus if you spend more than five minutes inside.
- Hygiene: Again, not required, but big bonus points if you brush your teeth and use some form of deodorant. Note: if outside, crushed plants can sometimes work as a stink repellent.
- Clothing: This is actually required, but only by the law, not the game. However if you advance to Level Two without clothing, your game experience will end spectacularly, but very quickly. Play through several minigames to find alternative clothing which ranges from a "Yes, They're Natural" t-shirt with two 20 sided dice on it, and all the way to a completely movie-accurate Boba Fett costume.
If your character rolled outside of San Diego, you'll need to find transport to the convention. Routes include finding a ride, obtaining a car, taking the train, flying, the bus, or walking. You'll have to spend some of the credits in your inventory to get in to town, which vary in price depending on your chosen travel method. Also, whatever costume you've added might inhibit your journey, as the Master Chief costume doesn't sit well with airline officials. Important Level Two moments are:
- Show Badge: You'll find that Comic-Con 2010 is sold out, but badges can still be obtained through means both legal and illegal. You can also attempt to crash the show and evade the Elite security teams by using stealth. Depending on your costume, this might be easy or extremely hard. A giant Pikachu costume is not very sneaky.
- Patience: You'll need to keep an eye on your patience meter, because if you loose it and freak out, you'll be removed from the Con. A lot of what you'll be doing is waiting in line (press X to fast-forward through these moments) and then, just when you think it's over, you have to wait in line some more. Keep your patience meter balanced by talking to fellow geeks, thumbing through the Guide, and thinking of creative ways to spend your credits.
Once you finally enter the hall, you'll realize why your minimap comes in so handy: this place is huge. Right away you'll realize that not only is everything giant, but every booth, stand, and kiosk is fully interactive. You can walk up to the first thing you see, interact with the merchant, and spend all of your hard-earned credits if you desire, but that's a quick way to end the game. Pace yourself, fully explore the show floor, tag the items you might want to come back for and purchase, and marvel at the graphics work that went into creating this place. It's the geek Taj Mahal, so revel in it.
- Swag: There's a ton of free stuff to be found here, so load up. Just make sure it's free first or you'll alert security and you'll have to dodge them until your Wanted level goes down.
- Maneuvering: This is actually fairly difficult in the hall. If you're dressed normally, you'll have to elbow your way through crowds. If you rolled a hot babe, you'll be stopped every few seconds for photos. Ditto if you were able to get a large and/or decent costume. Press the right bumper to just charge through groups, but beware that you'll anger the horde.
- Layout: If you hit the start button, you can pull up the Guide to see where you are, and find out where you need to go. Keep an eye on your Bathroom meter though, because the restrooms can be hard to find, and you don't want to be buried in line and suddenly discover that your bladder is about to burst.
Besides the show floor, Comic-Con is all about the exclusive panels. Lining up early for these is key to entry and survival, and you'll want to gauge your time accordingly. For anything happening in the massive Hall H, make sure you arrive at least two hours in advance. You'll see the sprawling, snaking line outside the convention center, and you can try and merge with other geeks by being friendly (high charisma helps here), bribing them (hope you held on to some dough), or just muscling your way in (danger: geek crowds can be deadly). A good tactic is to befriend another player while you're on Level Three, and then helping each other out in lines. Use the in-game cell phone to store info for other players and to contact them via text or voice messaging.
- Photos: Getting a good spot isn't easy, and you'll want one that affords you a quality view of the panel and/or one of the viewing screens. Use your camera to take photos throughout the panel, and then upload them to see how you did. Keep track of the view counts via the in-game browser to find out if the geeks love or hate your snapshots.
- Video: Like photos, you can get bonus points for uploading quality video. If you're brave enough to try and film when they warn the audience to shut their cameras off, you could be rewarded with a massive point increase if your video makes it to YouTube. But, get caught and you're out of the Con.
- Bathrooms: Again, keep on eye on your meters, because getting out of your seat can anger the mob, and be a difficult scenario to navigate.
You've survived Day One, seen the show floor, attended some panels, and picked up some swag. You're doing good. However, there are three more days left, and each one can be more harrowing than the next. In order to keep surviving, you'll have to learn how to handle yourself at night. Get too drunk at a party you've been lucky enough to find your way into, and you'll miss the entire next day. Get mugged and beat up by choosing the wrong shortcut to wander down, and you'll lose your credits and possibly swag, camera, costume, etc. Just remember to watch your meters, try and travel in groups, and stay in well-lit areas.
- Food: This is an important one. While you're inside the convention center, you can purchase items to eat, but they are both expensive and non-healthy. For instance, you'll notice an abundance of Mrs. Fields's cookies carts, due to an in-game advertising deal. These are best avoided, as a peanut butter cookie and a soda does not make for a healthy lunch. These will increase your sugar rating and pump up your energy bar for a short while, but watch out for crashes and the possible onset of a nap while waiting in line, and/or listening to the gaffer from Star Wars drone on.
- Food II: Seek out health bonuses by looking for quality food outside the Con. It will put a dent in your credit stash, but if you manage to eat something green and/or leafy, you'll get both a health aura and stamina boost. Your best bet is to store easy to eat items in your inventory (granola bars, energy drinks) for use during the day, and then seeking out Good Food either at breakfast or dinner.
- Instances: These are gatherings of geeks that turn to joy and frolic, especially with the addition of alcohol. Seek these out as much as possible, and remember to include your new friends. Remember the cute girl dressed up like a Na'vi that you met in line for the Joss Whedon panel? Invite her along.
- Drinking: Keep yourself hydrated during the day with plenty of water, and if you can find Emergen-C packets, you'll also get a stamina bonus throughout the long hauls. At night, drinking takes on a whole new meaning, and you'll want to watch your inebriation levels closely. Get in the red, and you'll be sorry. These also work closely with your bathroom levels, so keep an eye on those too. Public urination is not smiled upon.
- Sleep: You'll definitely need this, as it affects your stamina for the next day. If you get less than six hours, you'll need to massively stock up on sugar and caffeine the following day, so plan accordingly.
You've survived days one and two, made it through the scrum of Saturday (the busiest day of the Con), and passed through Sunday (massive amounts of children day!) to reach the end of the Con. If you've held onto most of your credits until now, you'll find that many merchants are discounting there wares, and you might be able to seek out quality items on the cheap. If you've held onto the Massive Bag you received upon check-in (unless you snuck inside), then you can fill it up with your loot, and beat a hasty retreat. If you've already spent your dough, spend the last few hours roaming the floor, taking photos, and conversing with your fellow fans to see what their experience was like.
- Bonus points, achievements, trophies: If you managed to hook up with another fan, you'll get a bonus. Manage to hook up with two, and you'll get an achievement. Manage to hook up with someone not even remotely connected to Comic-Con, and you win the entire game.
- Items to seek out: Granola bars, energy drinks, caffeine tablets, hand sanitizer, soap, deodorant, that elusive copy of Fantastic Four #321.
- Track your in-game progress via the Guide, and try to max out different stats like Photos, Geek Moments, and Cosplay. Get 100% in any of these for a big bonus, and get all three to become a True Hero of Comic-Con.