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Five things you should check out around San Diego Comic-Con (even if you don't have a badge)

Yep, there's plenty to do even if you can't go to the big show itself, from an Assassin's Creed Experience to a huge Smash Bros. tournament.


San Diego Comic-Con is nearly upon us, and the city is buckling to prepare for the 130,000 visitors that will be invading the halls, trying to catch up with their favorite comics, superstars and games.

However, there are those of you who, sadly, can't get into the event, either because you weren't able to secure a badge or don't want to deal with the massive crowds.

Not to worry. Like every year at the event, there are secondary events that are taking place throughout the area, and although some of them may be packed with people, they're still worth experiencing, especially if you're as nuts about gaming as we are.

So, without further ado, here are five things you should check out around the show, even if you can't get close to Hall H.

Laser tag with 2K and Nerdist

Every year, the Nerd Machine always throws a big party around the Comic-Con area, for those who aren't able to attend the event itself. This is just as big a party, with various sponsors, superstars and parties taking place, and you don't have to deal with that big a line.

That said, this year's show is extra special, as 2K is getting involved with a special edition of Laser Tag, tying in with the forthcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. From 11 AM to 5 PM daily, teams of 25 vs. 25 can take part in the shenanigans for no charge, shooting each other like crazy and then taking a break with playable kiosks featuring both Borderlands and the forthcoming Evolve. Who knows, you may even be able to hobnob with Nerdist talent, including the always nerdy Jessica Chobot.

The event will take place across the street at Petco Park, and 2K is right on the top level. Stop by and bring your itchy trigger finger. (Oh, and don't forget to move, or you will be shot.)

Check out Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes

Duh, it's Comic-Con, so of course Disney is bringing its Marvel-oriented edition of Disney Infinity to the show. However, fans that can't make it into the event can visit the Marvel Pop-Up Shop, which will be located at 343 4th Avenue, and running from Wednesday through Saturn, from 5 to 10 PM.

During this time, players can stop by to give the game a shot, while also checking out the special collector's edition of the game and maybe even winning themselves an early figurine. Now that's something that makes the drive down to the crowded San Diego area worthwhile.

The Assassin's Creed Experience

Want to feel like an assassin, but don't want to necessarily take the risk of actually hurting yourself in the process? (Or going to jail for that matter?) Enter Ubisoft, who will bring the Assassin's Creed Experience to the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in San Diego over the course of the entire show.

With this special course, you'll be able to run through and recreate certain stunts from the game, including a 25-foot leap of faith that could leave you groaning over the thought of eating that extra hot dog beforehand. But fear not, as you're not risking yourself for nothing. You'll be able to score a free t-shirt for completing the course, then earn another t-shirt with a guillotine on it by pre-ordering the game.

For those who just want to leave their assassin skills in-game, a playable demo of Assassin's Creed: Unity will also be available.

Deep Silver/Square Enix Arcade

On Friday and Saturday, Square Enix, teaming up with Deep Silver, will host a daily arcade that players will be able to come visit, located at the Whiskey Girl at 702 Fifth Ave. Here, attendees will be able to check out a number of upcoming games, including Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Sacred 3, Escape Dead Island and Metro Redux.

In addition, players can grab a bite to eat and chat with the developers, or just plain kick back after a tough day of attending panels and what-not. Plus, the first 1,000 visitors per day can score a free Metro Redux PlayStation 4 controller skin.

If you need us, we'll be harassing Will Powers and Aubrey Norris the best we can. (Chances are they'll return the favor, heh.)

Super Smash Bros. Tournament

Nintendo will once again be hosting the Nintendo Lounge at the Marriott Marquis & Marina, just next door to the convention center. Anyone of any age can attend, and check out a variety of games on hand, including upcoming hits for 3DS and Wii U. Yes, that includes Super Smash Bros.

In fact, Smash Bros. will be the focus for a 3DS tournament over the weekend, where players can sign up and take on one another in combat. It's first come, first serve, so sign up as quickly as you can. It'll kick off at 12 PM each day, with players moving up in the ranks depending how often they win.

For those who can't make it to the event, fret not. Nintendo will broadcast it live on its Twitch channel daily, so be sure to check it out.

BONUS: Catch a Ride With Gotham

Even though it isn't entirely video game related (although Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and Batman: Arkham Knight will have heavy presence at the show), you'll be able to get around with the forthcoming Fox show Gotham, using two methods of transport.

The first is with the Gotham Zip Line. With this, you'll be able to take a 130-foot ride through the Gotham City skyline, feeling like the flying superhero that you know you aren't. For good measure, you can also get your picture taken, so you may want to dress up as Batman first. Just saying. You can find this attraction over at the space between the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, running from 10 AM to 6 PM Thursday through Sunday of this week.

In addition, if you feel like catching a ride around the city, look for the Gotham Uber Police Cars, which will be offering up free rides all over San Diego. They'll run from Thursday through Sunday, and give you a lift around the area for no charge. If you prefer, you can get a picture of these as well, and really scare your parents into thinking you've been busted.

See you at the show!

Robert Workman was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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