So the dust has settled since we all got handed our first round results in Pre-reg. Some of us got lucky, some got nothing, and some of us landed in that weird gray zone of ambivalence known as the Thursday/Sunday split.
This isn't the worst thing that can befall you if you're a local. Thursday has plenty of great panels and a well-stocked Exhibit Hall; Sunday has great deals and lots of children's panels if you're a parent. But if you're planning on travelling to San Diego Comic-Con, you now have to decide if it's worth it to spend on four nights in a hotel just to get 2 days at the Con.
Here's my perspective. If the Con was the only thing in play, I'd probably cancel my Sunday badge and just fly in and out on Thursday, or maybe just spend Weds and Thursday night there. But there is so much else to do at SDCC outside the Con proper. You should know this, because you were there last summer - but let me remind you of:
- All the cool promotional attractions that it can be normally hard to make time for - like GOT experience, ziplining, all the Adult Swim stuff in PetCo Park, Assassin's Creed this past summer. These get better every year and they can take up a full day.
- All the parties that you have every intention of going to, but then miss because you fell into bed after a full day of panels completely zonked. When you don't have to get up in the morning for a panel, you can have a very good time the night before.
- Nerd HQ. No SDCC badge required here, and often the best celebrities and coolest panels.
- Gam3rCon. Not just games - you have tech launches, bands, comedy shows and rooftop parties to attend.
- The city itself. Go to Coronado Island, swim, visit the science museums in Balboa park.
And of course, you can always just relax. I know that's not a word we associate with Comic-Con but when you don't have a Saturday badge, you can spoil yourself. Get a massage. Hang out poolside. Order up room service and lay around in bed eating ice cream and reading all the comic books you bought the day before.
As always, there's nothing wrong with deciding to put your Comic-Con dollars elsewhere. If you haven't been to some of the other big non-SDCC Cons, you might think they're all rinky-dink basement events full of fifth-tier actors and a lot of back issue comics. That may have been the case 5 years ago, but these days these other Cons can hold their own. I've already beat the drum for Emerald City and Salt Lake in particular, but look around and take a chance. I think purists who will only hold out for San Diego would be surprised at the firepower other Cons can offer these days.
But before you cancel that SDCC badge, hold out for Open Reg. And think outside the convention center walls.