San Diego Comic Con - A Look Back

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 is in the books! It feels like just yesterday that Kristen, Katie, and I were preparing to man our station at HBO’s Join the Realm experience. It is true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun!

If you have never been to San Diego Comic-Con, it is truly an awesome sight. Thousands of passionate fans come together from all over the world to celebrate their favorite comics, movies, tv shows, games, and other media. The convention has grown so much that it now spills over into the streets of the city, with every available space converted into additional exhibits. Game of Thrones is no exception; the Join the Realm experience was located at the L Street Gallery, which was transformed into a series of interactive stations where fans of the show could truly immerse themselves in the world of Westeros.


As you enter the gallery, you can hear the voices of Margaery Tyrell and Robb Stark reading the history of Westeros, and the stirring theme from the television show in the background. Your first view is an imposing one: the Iron Throne, awaiting its next claimant--or victim. From there, fans could get a sneak peek at new Game of Thrones-themed items coming to the HBO store, order a personalized t-shirt, enter a drawing for an exclusion Game of Thrones Xbox or iPad Mini, or (my personal favorite!) try their hand at destroying a ship in the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Players were graded on a 5 star system for each attempt, with great “Game Over” messages for each. I got, “King Joffrey has called for your head.” So you can guess how many ships I hit!


And then, of course, there was our station, where attendees could try out Game of Thrones Ascent for themselves. Young, old, male, female, gamers, non-gamers, die-hard book fans or people who just discovered the show--all of them found something to enjoy in our game. Roleplayers loved getting to create their own character and make decisions that would shape the moral identity of their house. Strategy addicts loved the intricate upgrade, talent, and skill tree systems. MMO veterans and social game fanatics were excited about the many ways you can interact with your friends--including marriage! Even folks who had never picked up a video game before were drawn in, once they saw how easy it was to get started. And of course, everyone was excited about our frequent content updates, and couldn’t wait until the Season 4 premiere when they could experience “Watch it Sunday, play it Monday!” for themselves.


Many Game of Thrones cosplayers came through the booth, and we were blown away by their creativity and ingenuity in creating their costumes. I saw every possible incarnation of Daenerys Targaryen, all of them impressive, some sporting escorts like Khal Drogo, Ser Jorah Mormont, Daario Naharis, and even an honor guard of Unsullied soldiers. We met Lord Petyr Baelish, who seemed to be conspiring with Red Priestess Melisandre; Margaery Tyrell, taking a short vacation from charming the smallfolk of King’s Landing; and Catelyn Stark--pre-Red Wedding, of course! Even Jon Snow himself managed to escape the wildlings to give our game a try.


Of course, the most exciting moment for Sunday attendees was when Game of Thrones actor John Bradley-West stopped by, letting everyone get a glimpse of Sam Tarly in the flesh. He was as cheerful and inquisitive as his on-screen counterpart, and definitely did King Robert Baratheon proud against the slaver menace.


Katie, Kristen, and I had an amazing time at Comic-Con, and have been inspired by every person we met at Join the Realm. Now it’s time for us to get back to work so that all our new fans can experience everything Game of Thrones Ascent has to offer. See you in Westeros!

Jessica Sliwinski
Lead Narrative Designer | Disruptor Beam