It’s like clockwork. For one week every summer, the city of San Diego transforms into the epicenter of pop culture. Movies are revealed, TV show secrets are spilled, comic books are in the spotlight, and yes, even video games get a moment to shine. Comic-Con 2016 was of course no different. We spent four full days exploring every nook and cranny of the show, and now bring you the below gallery of 60-plus photos that highlight what Comic-Con had to offer.
For Nintendo, Comic-Con has often been the first place the public gets to try what was displayed at E3 a month prior. But with Nintendo only demoing Zelda: Breath of the Wild at E3 this year, that made things a bit difficult. So instead, Nintendo divided and conquered. Their booth on the show floor was dedicated entirely to Splatoon, letting attendees compete in four-on-four matches with other ‘con goers, and more importantly, participate in the game’s final Splatfest, which was happening at the same time as Comic-Con itself. Multiple demo units were connected online so you could fight for Team Callie or Team Marie, with booth staff appropriately decked out in shirts for each side. Depending on who you fought for, you could also earn a free Callie or Marie pin just for competing.
Separately, in the Marriott hotel next door to Comic-Con, Nintendo set up a souped-up version of the Play Nintendo Tour. If you saw our previous coverage of the tour, you basically know what to expect: a mix of 3DS games new and old are given custom areas that demos and photo ops. This wasn’t just a standard tour stop, though. This was the “Play Nintendo Family Gaming Lounge” and that meant a lot more was on hand. Along with the lineup of normal Play Nintendo Tour games, which includes Mario Kart 7, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, Yoshi’s New Island, Kirby: Planet Robobot and Yo-Kai Watch, Nintendo also brought along demos of Style Savvy: Fashion Forward, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Monster Hunter Generations, and Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. The lounge also played host to the worldwide debut of the upcoming NES Classic Edition, costumed character appearances, kid-friendly tournaments all weekend long, and a 30-minute “Play Nintendo Challenge” in which you could score a free shirt by getting back-to-back wins in Splatoon, Mario Kart 8, and Pokken Tournament.
Outside of Nintendo, the gaming presence at this year’s Comic-Con was less about demos and more about moments. Xbox got rid of its own lounge to move in with off-site mainstay Nerd HQ, Sega didn’t have an off-site demo spot for the first time in years, and Ubisoft chose not to set up any Assassin’s Creed experience like in the past. But on the flip side, Pokemon Go was the first video game to ever have a panel in the legendary Hall H, Sega hosted a 25th anniversary party for Sonic The Hedgehog at the nearby House of Blues, and Ubisoft co-sponsored both a recreated South Park main street outside the convention center and a South Park panel (with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, no less). Gaming was still at Comic-Con in a big way – just in a different way than we’ve seen in the past.
There was plenty to see beyond gaming too, from a first look at Star Wars: Rogue One costumes to the Batmobile from Batman v. Superman to a full-on Conan O’Brien takeover (he was on trains, buildings, and literally people’s heads). You can see all the sights, both gaming and not, in the gallery below. If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to also listen to Episode 129 as we report back from San Diego with impressions and more.