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SDCC 2016 Recap: Mr. Robot Invaded Petco Park

fsociety is finally awake – and they invaded San Diego Comic-Con this year.

USA Network’s Mr. Robot was out in force at the convention, with an awesome offsite on 4th Ave that recreated sets from the series, UBER Mr. Robot repair vans, a panel inside the convention center, and — my personal favorite — a Thursday morning extraganza in Petco Park with cast, swag, and more. All of the events were to promote a new 12-minute Virtual Reality short, written and directed by creator Sam Esmail (which if you haven’t seen yet, you can watch now).

After wandering around Petco Park at stupid o’clock in the morning on Thursday, I finally found the Home Plate Gate where we were supposed to head for the Petco event – only to find I was alone (and in all my years of going to Comic-Con, pretty sure this was the first time I’d ever started a line at the convention!). Luckily, I wasn’t alone for very long, as soon hordes of fans were showing up.

We were let inside the stadium at 9AM, making it a very short wait in Comic-Con terms. Upon entering, street teams handed out cardboard Mr. Robot virtual reality viewers, as well as branded headphones.

We were sitting out in the sun, but it was mostly shaded – so aside from a few almost-fires (the combination of glass + cardboard + direct sunlight = bad), it was a relaxing way to spend the morning. Eventually, our MC came out to get the audience pumped, explain how the technology and our viewers worked, give out prizes, and keep us entertained.

Then it was time for the main attraction. The Mr. Robot cast was led out and given cardboard viewers of their own, and the VR simulcast stunt began.

Unfortunately for many, though, the technology didn’t work. We’d all meticulously followed the increasingly complicated instructions (download the Within app, then the content for the app, then get your phone set up correctly to view the content, scan a QR code, etc) – but for whatever reason, for many, it wouldn’t play. I was lucky enough to have seen the content the previous night at the offsite during a press preview, so I watched the cast watching it instead – which turned out to be just as hilariously awesome. Christian Slater in particular seemed in awe (though even his stopped working partway through – and Rami Malek gave him his set to finish watching it).

Even for those of us whose technology didn’t work, though – that wasn’t really why we were there. It was about being in the stadium during San Diego Comic-Con with the cast, getting to experience that moment. That is what San Diego Comic-Con is all about, those moments that wouldn’t happen anywhere else.

USA has scaled back their Comic-Con presence the last few years since Psych went off the air, so it was nice to see them returning in full force this year – and it was the highlight of my con, and I’m sure many others’. Our only request? Bring the ferris wheel next year, USA.

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