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Live Without Limits: ‘Westworld: The Experience’ At NYCC

The Delos Corporation has the adventure of a lifetime just for you at their luxury vacation playground, Westworld. An Ultra-Exclusive opportunity for those in the know at New York Comic Con this year, I had the opportunity to experience a small taste of “living life without consequences” if only for a moment or two at a special preview event for Westworld: The Experience.

Photo: Gene Grasso

I received an e-mail from the mysterious Delos Corp. inviting me to my appointment, at a super secret location somewhere in New York City. Upon my arrival, I noticed a door with the words Delos, New York Offices, By Appointment Only. As my appointment time came around, I was led through the mysterious door to a reception desk where I checked in with one of the hosts.

Photo: Gene Grasso

I along with 5 others then went to a waiting room where three other hosts stood around a glass covered table filled with weapons. Behind that on one side of the room were different articles of clothing, and on the other side the wall was one giant video monitor. On either side of the monitor were two mannequins dressed in old west attire, each with a different color hat, one white, the other black.

Photo: HBO
Photo: HBO

As we waited to be taken individually to our personality assessment, our three hosts made small talk, asking each of us different questions such as, “Which weapon would you choose?”, “What do you want to do in Westworld?” and the slightly scary, “Have you ever killed a person? Would you want to?” It’s all in good fun, and adds a slightly sinister vibe to the experience, especially knowing that the hosts are actually robots (Well, actors playing robots). My host asked if I’d ever fired a weapon and if I’d ever ridden a horse, both of which are a yes. His response, “Then you’re ready for this experience.”

Photo: HBO

 

We were then welcomed to Westworld, and a short video played which showed scenes from the first season, and some new scenes that look to be from the upcoming season. The video constantly glitched, which meant not everything was quite working up to Delos’ standards, though we were fully assured that it was.

As the video ended, we were led one by one to our personality assessments and asked a series of questions that would lead our host to choose whether we got a white or black hat. These questions consisted of:

  • “Is this your first time in Westworld?”
  • “Have you ever been to a luxury resort before?”

It’s at this point things started to take a more measured approach into choices of morality, but hey, the slogan at Delos is, “Live Without Limits” and so I did. A few of those questions were:

  • “If you could push a button and cure all of the world’s ails but you would have to cut the population in half, would you push the button, have someone else push the button, or destroy the button and the people who invented it?”
  • What percentage of your dreams are nightmares?
  • You’re in a saloon and two strangers are next to you. A gang busts in and shoots the two men dead. They hand you a gun. Do you: Join the gang on a killing spree, throw the gun down, or try and take them out?”
  • If you had to cut off one of your fingers, which one would you choose? (I then marked my finger with a big black X, which actually came into play later on.)

My host for the personality assessment was an absolutely fantastic actress, hamming it up in the best possible way. After every response, she would look at me with this slight grin, her eyes wide, and say, “Really?” or “What an interesting choice.” It made for a lot of fun, and a very, very scary final assessment which nailed dead-on some of my personality traits. It was at this point she stood up and looked at the two hats hanging to the left of me. She walked over to the white hat and said, “I feel like you live here most of the time.” and put her hand on the hat. She then moved over to the black hat and said, “But I have a feeling that you want to live here. Yes, this is the one. Live without limits!” She then handed me the hat and said it was the one.

We then headed back to the waiting room. It was at this point, I was led with two other guests (both with black hats) down a corridor to an elevator which led us to the Mariposa Saloon. As we were riding up in the elevator, I took some time to joke with our host and the other guests about the condition of the elevator. In fact as we rose to the 12th floor, it sounded like someone was pulling a chain to lift the elevator up. Our host’s response, “Don’t worry, everything is perfectly normal here at Westworld.” Just another great example of the immersive nature of the experience, and one that led to a few uncomfortable smiles back and forth.

The saloon is where the real fun begins. We were invited to sample three alcoholic drinks (Yes, the experience is 21 and over), the first called a Sherry Punch which was slightly fruity and not too strong, the second and my favorite, the Blue Blazer, a single barrel whiskey mixed with bitters that had quite a kick and gets lit on fire. Finally there was the Milk Punch, a wonderful Christmas type drink with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. All the drinks were crafted by world-famous mixologist Paul McGee and all were wonderful.

Photo: Gene Grasso

You’re also treated to the sounds that pour from a player piano that sits on one side of the room, which played songs from the series, such as Black Hole Sun as several of the hosts dressed as Madames made their way around the saloon talking to all the guests. In fact, this is where the black X on my finger came up. One of the ladies sidled up next to me and said, “So, how’d you lose that finger?” Now, I was having fun and wanted to keep it going, so I answered, “I juggle knives and one of them slipped.” She quickly came back with, “Can you show me?”

Photo: Gene Grasso
Photo: HBO

It was that kind of fun that quickly came to an end with the blaring of alarms and the sight of red warning lights flashing at us. The hosts froze as two security officers came in telling us we had to get out of the park as quick as possible, but that we were safe. We were ushered to a waiting elevator which led down to our escape route, jerking to a sudden stop several times along the way. The elevator door opened, and we were led back out to reality with a nifty souvenir hat, and a fantastic memory of an incredible experience.

Photo: Gene Grasso

For Comic-Con attendees who want to explore Westworld for themselves, Westworld: The Experience will be open by appointment only to members of the public with a NYCC badge (age 21 and over; ID required).

The appointment desk will pop up in a different location each morning near the Javits Center, with locations being teased in advance via the @WestworldHBO Facebook page and Twitter handle. The appointment desk will be open Thursday, October 5; Friday, October 6; Saturday, October 7; and Sunday, October 8 beginning at 9:00am ET until all slots for the day have been filled.

 Appointments will be available each day on a first come, first served basis. This is an ultra-exclusive event with limited appointments available Thursday-Sunday only. The location of Westworld: The Experience will only be revealed to those who are able to secure an appointment.

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Eugene Grasso

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Ever since his first viewing of Star Wars at 3 years old in 1977, Gene has been interested in all things nerd. Podcaster by day, writer by night, fan everytime, there is nothing in the pop culture world that Gene doesn't enjoy.