August 1, 2016
About the author : Project manager by day, crazy cat lady by night. Emily's first love is J.R.R. Tolkien. She's also into Walking Dead, video games, Doctor Who, and anime. When she isn't knee-deep in her latest fandom, she's usually sleeping.
One of the coolest exhibits at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 was the Mr Robot Virtual Reality Experience, based on the USA show Mr Robot. The experience included two interactive sets, the Mr Robot store and Elliot’s apartment. Everyone was also given a VR headset to watch the Virtual Reality Experience.
Some disclaimers before I get too far:
The Mr Robot team did a great job of extending the experience beyond just the VR Experience itself. There was a street team going around in black hoodies and masks yelling “Fsociety!” Apparently, the street team was also giving out masks, but by the time we got there all the masks were gone. We were told they had 10,000 masks at the beginning of the weekend and they ran out by 1pm on Sunday.
As we got closer to the experience, other people dressed in plaid shirts and brown coats were walking up and down the line chatting with people. They were handing out Mr Robot branded water bottles
Despite the heat, everyone I talked to was really friendly and helpful. They never complained, even though one guy admitted their jackets were insulated. (Seriously? In July?) At one point he even went up and down the line fanning everyone with a chunk of cardboard.
Once we got closer to the storefront, we could look at the graffiti/posters of Elliot and Mr Robot. There was a lot of detail, with chunks ripped off and multiple layers of signs and stickers. It was hard to tell what was part of the actual display and what was added later by passers-by.
Once we finally got in, my initial reaction was that of disappointment. It seemed like there were just a bunch of people crammed into a beige room full of old electronics. But then one of the employees told us that we could interact with literally everything. She told us we could flip through papers, open drawers, whatever we wanted (as long as we didn’t break anything).
I took her advice to heart and rifled through pretty much everything. One of the coolest things we saw was a Doom II floppy disk.
There were lots of other references to things I didn’t understand–presumably characters and situations in the show. Or just random things that didn’t make any sense. Like a bond from Southern California Edison and some weird September 11th pamphlet.
After working our way through the store, we were given Gear VR headsets and allowed into Elliot’s apartment. The apartment was extremely detailed, all the way down to Elliot’s fish. We didn’t spend as much time looking around the apartment, but it was obvious that the apartment was completely built around his character. I think the only thing that was missing was the smell of stale weed in the air–but I’m glad they didn’t take it quite that far.
We were told to find a seat and watch the VR experience (which you can watch here). Seeing Elliot’s apartment in the VR short film and then coming back to reality and being there was certainly an interesting experience. The short film is a little spoiler-y, so I don’t recommend watching it if you haven’t seen the first season of the show yet. However, as one journalist commented, it isn’t just a weird 3D experience–it tells a story and gives you some insight into the characters.
On our way out we were given t-shirts. Because they were getting ready to close and they still had a bunch left, we each got 5-6 shirts in different sizes. No complaints here!
Overall, I was very impressed with the whole experience. A lot of thought and effort was put into every part of the experience and the people running it was great. Even though I’m still in pain from my sunburn a week later, it was worth it for this unique experience. If you want more photos, here’s a great article with a ton of photos.