Note from the Editors: This article contains spoilers related to this offsite.
In my opinion, HBO has brought us some of the best written series in recent memory. Westworld is one of these series as it transported audiences into a complicated world where everyone is left to question their own humanity.
I went into the series without seeing any promos, so I had no clue what to expect. This was the perfect way to be introduced to the series. I watched as Westworld developed in multiple layers I didn’t expect. I never imagined that what I was seeing was a high-end resort for people to live out their fantasies. I couldn’t help feeling compelled to this world and I wanted to step into the world and experience it for myself. HBO has been giving fans a chance to do just that with their Westworld offsite activation.
I missed going through the experience at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). The capacity of the experience was limited and the line to sign up was met with high demand, with people sleeping out in a hotel lobby to get a chance to go through the experience. HBO mixed it up for New York Comic Con (NYCC) by changing the signup location each day. Each morning they would send out tweets, first one hinting at the location and then a second one letting people know where it was. The first morning started out with smaller crowds tracking the location down and by Sunday the groups were large and determined to find it. I was one of the lucky people who got to attend this experience and am excited to tell you about it.
Only six people can go through the experience at a time. This number is small but for good reason. By keeping the groups small, guests really get to enjoy the experience. This experience is a personal one, just like you would expect if you were visiting the real Westworld. You are welcomed in by the staff, who is all wearing the same white outfits, one tailored for women and one for men. Their movements are precise and their smiles are continuous. It’s clear to guests that they haven’t just walked into any office.
Once guests have been checked in, they get to view some props from the series and watch a video letting them know what they are about to experience. Then each person is brought into an individual room to take a personality test. The purpose of this test is to help them identify how to make the experience the best for them. The questions involve how the guests would react in situations and their personal tendencies. It’s a lot like a moral boost, giving you lots of compliments, as they dig into the guest’s personality type. Once the hosts determine the results, guests find out if they tend to be on the darker side or more inclined to be the good guy. This is symbolized by the cowboy hat each guest receives. However, just because someone tends towards one side doesn’t mean that is the experience they will get. In my test, the host went for the white cowboy hat and then said, “I think you have been wearing this hat for too long.” and gave me the black cowboy hat.
Once guests receive their hats they join back up with two others from their group and are led to Westworld. While in the elevator, we took some time to ask our host some questions. One was, “How long have you worked at Westworld?” Her response was, “I have always worked here.” Our suspicions were confirmed our hosts were robots. We were led into a saloon where we were welcomed and the bartender promptly started on our first drinks which was Sherry Punch, then Blue Blazer (which is set on fire), and Milk Punch. Everyone s friendly and welcoming in the saloon. The hosts ask guests questions and a lady of the night makes sure to move around and interact with everyone. This part of the experience is also more tailored to you. The hosts’ responses and questions play off of the guests’ answers. There are clearly set guidelines regarding where to go. The lady of the night came up to me to tell me that her boss never stops watching her. I let her know that my boss was the same.
After three drinks (mind you these were strong drinks) the lady of the night leads the guests away from the bar to a piano that plays itself. I quickly noticed the blood splatters on the piano, which would be familiar to viewers of the series. This is where I began to think things were going to turn towards the dark side. Sure enough, alarms start going off and the robots shut down. Security comes in to take you to safety.
HBO has created an amazing experience for its fans. The hours attendees spent in the early morning to get a chance at this experience were worth it as they found themselves in a world of wonder. I can’t wait to see what Westworld has in store for us during season 2. If you haven’t seen season one, the complete first season is available to stream on HBO NOW and HBO GO.
If the Westworld experience comes to your town, be quick to jump on your horse and experience the world for yourself!
Here are the three drinks they served at the NYCC version of the Westworld experience:
1 oz. Manzanilla Sherry
1 oz. Amontillado Sherry
½ oz. lemon juice
1 oz. Mallorca tea syrup
¼ oz. pineapple vinegar
2 oz. water
2 oz. Westward Single Malt Whiskey
Barspoon of Demerara sugar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 dash Abbot’s Bitters
1 oz. cognac
1 oz. overproof rum
1 oz. cold brew coffee
¾ oz. spiced Demerara sugar
½ oz. heavy whipping cream
Did you attend the Westworld offsite during NYCC? Click here to join the conversation on the FoCC forum and tell everyone about your experience.