Five Reasons You Shouldn't Miss Next Year's Comic-Con Event

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 is nothing more than a memory, a flurry of ridiculously fun parties, wild events and panels loaded with more stars than you could shake a stick at. You’ve already seen the number of hands-on stories I posted over the weekend around the event, but if you’re still not convinced that Comic-Con is a place for you to get your gaming on, we’ve got some things that will prove otherwise. Five things, in fact.

Here are some reasons you don’t want to miss next year’s event…even if that means going wall to wall with hundreds of your fellow nerds.

The gaming lounges are ridiculously cool

That’s right, outside of the event, every year, a few companies go out and host special parties at devoted lounges. Nintendo, for example, has set up shop at the Marriott Marquis & Marina, where gamers of all ages can play its latest 3DS and Wii U releases. Microsoft has also been good about hosting devoted gaming spaces, as it did this year with its Xbox Lounge at the Manchester Hyatt. And Deep Silver and Square Enix teamed up for a special Gaming Lounge at the Whiskey Girl, which was nothing short of amazing. Get down there and enjoy some lounges.

The panels are a good time

A number of terrific panels highlighted this year’s San Diego Comic-Con event. The first, of which, is Lego Batman 3, which featured Troy Baker grabbing a selfie with the legendary Adam West while talking as the Dark Knight. Other panels, like Console Wars, the Bandai Namco panel, the wild Street Fighter panel, and the Halo panels were all not-miss material. Plus, like the Marvel panel every year, sometimes there’s exclusive stuff that isn’t shown anywhere else. Yes, we’ve seen the Master Chief Collection in action. Be jealous.

The activities are a blast

Outside of special lounges and stuff happening on the show floor, there are plenty of hosted activities that both attendees and casual folks can take part in around San Diego. The Assassin’s Creed Experience, for example, provided folks the chance to run an obstacle course and take a “leap of faith” into a blown-up mattress. Borderlands’ laser tag was also amazing, taking place on the nearby rooftop at Petco Park, and gave folks the chance to loosen their nerves in a good ol’ game of “shoot the other guy”.

Next year is likely to bring similar events, so you don’t want to miss out.

There are plenty of games

The far end of San Diego Comic-Con was devoted to gaming space, with Capcom, Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, Sega and others hosting booths where gamers could stop by and play some of the newest releases around. Sure, there’s a wait in some areas (like there was this year with Alien Isolation, but sitting in the egg was worth it), but it’s just an hour at best, and then you’re playing a release before anyone else. If you can’t make it to the devoted game spaces, this is the next best thing.

The community

For every few geeks who aren’t quite your speed when it comes to being social, there are those who definitely are. We actually ended up getting in a late night chat session regarding Super Smash Bros. during the first night of the show, and it was good fun. Whether you prefer role-playing goodness, fighting games, or platformers, there was something for everyone else.

Of course, you’d know that if you’d just make the trip…